I receive a steady stream of missives from teachers, ex-teachers, and other folks who have insider knowledge of America’s schools. They all say the same thing – classroom discipline is falling apart and has been for some time – and ask the same question: What can be done?
Public-school administrators – not all, but entirely too many –...Read more
Q: I've been dating someone who has not filed yet, but plans to divorce. He was in a separate residence when we started 7 months ago, but recently moved back into the home to be around his children. He is starting to write a legal proposal. I was uncomfortable and ended it. He continues to pursue me and wants a future with me. I don't know what ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: My 2-year-old son has discovered his genitals and spends what seems like a lot of time playing with himself. How can I get him to stop?
A: The toddler years are the age of exploration, a time when your child investigates his world and learns about all the great things he can do with his body. Giving him as much freedom as possible...Read more
Q: I heard a speaker say recently that we should set goals for our relationships. I understand setting objectives for your career, health, finances, etc. But I'm not really tracking with how this could improve my marriage. What are your thoughts?
Jim: My wife, Jean, and I often talk to our sons about their goals. They usually mention things ...Read more
As regards nearly every public policy topic these days, myths abound, but few mythologies rival that of public education. A sample:
Myth: Smaller classrooms promote better learning.
Fact: The teacher-pupil ratio has little to do with student achievement, as demonstrated in the 1950s when elementary classrooms were bursting at the seams (nearly...Read more
Q. My ex and I had a lovely life together, but I got bored, met someone new, and left. We had two kids, and although I somewhat regret my actions, I think I'd probably do it again. Of course I'm not with the other guy and after intense amounts of therapy I own that it was my fault and I'm wondering if Valentine's Day is the day to talk to my ex...Read more
In last week's column, we talked about what to do when, despite your best efforts, your relationship with your partner is about to end. Strategies we discussed included getting legal advice, considering alternatives to litigation and understanding that there's no such thing as "winning" custody. This week I want to share a few more strategies ...Read more
Q: My mom is in her late 80s and needs assisted living care, but her assets are insufficient to cover the cost. My older sister and I are tightening our belts to help out. Our other (younger) sister and her husband say they can't contribute due to lack of financial resources. But they both have good jobs and healthy incomes. They buy expensive ...Read more
There is “parenting” and then there is bringing up, rearing, or raising children. The difference is night and day; so are the outcomes, short- and long-term, to all concerned, meaning every single one of us.
Parenting is what the vast majority of American parents have been doing since the early 1970s. It is constituted of putting children ...Read more
BALTIMORE –– Da'Kuawn Johnson's third-grade teacher knew the boy was special.
She bought him advanced textbooks with her own money, challenging Johnson to keep learning after he whipped through his normal classwork at Calvin M. Rodwell Elementary School in Northwest Baltimore.
The teacher's attention fueled Johnson's desire for more, and ...Read more
Q: I was married for twenty years when my now ex-husband had an affair -- and eventually married the woman. We've been divorced for five years and I'm still very angry. We have two adult children who are both married with children and they have chosen to continue their relationship with him, even though I've asked them not to. It seems as if ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: You often write about how couples can improve their communication and how that communication can protect their relationship. But what about after the relationship ends, which is what's happening with my girlfriend and me?
A: It may sound strange, but communication during and after a divorce or breakup is still critical. First, ...Read more
Q: Some friends of ours recently suffered a miscarriage. We want to encourage them, but we're not sure what to say or do. Do you have any suggestions?
Jim: Did you know that between 15 and 25 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage? With numbers that high, even if we never suffer the loss of a child ourselves, we probably know someone who ...Read more
One of the more difficult facts for today’s parents, as a rule, to wrap their heads around is the…I’ll say it again, with emphasis…FACT that children do not need (as a general rule) a lot of attention.
I was there, working as a journeyman psychologist in a community mental health center, when the children-need-lots-of-attention myth had...Read more
Q: I'm a stay-at-home mom. My children's father rarely took an interest in the kids while we were together. He would take them to baseball practice after work and go to their games on the weekends, but never took them to the doctor or dentist or went to school conferences. Now that we are splitting up and he wants all this time with the kids! I ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: Have you seen that new television commercial that aims to get men to treat women better? I think it's great and even recorded it and am playing it for my husband and son. What do you think?
A: For those who missed it, the ad in question is from Gillette -- a Procter & Gamble brand -- and essentially invites men (and boys) to shave...Read more
Q: Our son and his wife have been married less than a year. Two months ago, his job was downsized, and they're starting to experience some real financial struggles while he looks for work. We have the means to help them, and are happy to, but we also want to avoid them becoming (or feeling) dependent on us. What do you suggest?
Jim: Your ...Read more
Question: We have ten grandchildren, spread between three of our kids. They all live within an hour’s drive, so we see them often. We want to be involved in their lives and to be good influences. Our problem is with the parents. None of them are receptive to any advice or information we try to give or share. At least four of the ...Read more
Q: My boyfriend has a 10-year-old daughter who I am quite close to. He has made it very clear to her that we are together and that we love each other very much, but a few days ago while we were doing something in the kitchen, she made it very clear that she wants her parents to get back together. My boyfriend and his ex often spend time alone ...Read more
“So, anyway, after they take showers I lay out their school clothes for the next day. And then….”
“Hold on right there,” “How old are your girls again?”
“Um, they’re seven and five,” she answered, being the thirty-something mother of the girls in question. “Why?”
“I guess I need you to explain to me why you’re ...Read more
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