When I was a graduate student, one of the parenting memes then emerging from within the mental health professional community had it that “children deserved explanations.” The flip side of that very progressive notion was that parents should never say “Because I said so” in response to “Why?” or “Why not?”
One of the books I read...Read more
Q: My two young teens are constantly begging me to buy them clothes. It’s become highly annoying. After reading your book on teenagers, I’ve decided to stop buying them any clothing and give them each an $750 annual clothing allowance. Should I give them the whole amount at once or give it to them on a monthly basis?
A: Great idea! However,...Read more
It’s all over the web, that “grit” thing. Seems like every day, I get some promo for a webinar on how to get more grit, project more grit, or get in touch with your inner grit. So allow me to enlighten the reader on how to help your child acquire grit.
First, what is grit? Grit is equal parts determination, tenacity and emotional ...Read more
“We should, like, what? Give him a year to figure out his life and move out?”
I’m talking to the parents of a 21-year-old male, who instead of going to college or into the military, delivers pizzas, eats pizzas (he gets an employee discount) and plays video games. I’m having déjà vu. I’ve had this conversation before, many, many ...Read more
Q: In your column, you have often spoken of “psychological parenting.” What, exactly, do you mean by that?
A: Answering your question requires that we first unpack the word “parenting.” The definition is simply “what parents did not do before the 1960s,” which is when parents began putting children at the center of attention in the...Read more
A stalwart friend recently called my attention to an online article titled “Two Things to Say to a Child Returning to In-Person School (& Two You Should Avoid).” I am choosing to provide counterpoint because the advice contained therein is prime example of the problematic babble that constitutes most web-based parenting advice, which may be ...Read more
Q: Our 19-month-old is a very active little boy who flips out when things do not go his way. When he has a tantrum, we walk away or simply ignore him. Nonetheless, he will scream and flail about and has recently begun to bang his head on the floor, walls, doors, furniture, whatever. Is this typical of very strong-willed toddlers and will he ...Read more
It seems to be generally true that as one gets older, the habit of reminiscing develops. Looking back seems to be a function of getting closer to the final curtain. The closer the latter, the more of the former in which one indulges. In that regard, I indulge in an optimistic amount.
I often reminisce about my paradoxical childhood. My parents ...Read more
Q: Our 4-year-old, an only child, is giving us fits. As a toddler, he began ignoring us. That evolved into downright refusing to do what we ask, as in, “I’m not going to” and just plain “No.” It seems like the nicer we are to him, the meaner he is to us.
In addition, his tantrums when he doesn’t get his way have become Class 5 ...Read more
Research finds that so-called “sippy cups” — spill-free cups used by most American preschoolers — are linked to speech problems as well as early dental issues.
A sippy cup’s spout depresses a child’s tongue, thus contributing to “lazy tongue” syndrome — sloppy “th” and “st” sounds. Pediatric dentists say that because ...Read more
Will my profession — psychology — ever get it?
Beginning in the 1960s, the psychological mainstream asserted that nearly all child mental health problems were caused by parents who did not allow children to express their feelings freely.
The claim was snatched out of the thin air of speculation, as usual.
Nonetheless, good parenting ...Read more
We interrupt this weekly column with a three-question quiz, following which you will find the correct answers.
1. True or false? Telling a child that her feelings concerning a decision you have made are irrelevant and that you will not discuss the matter with her is likely to cause psychological damage to the child, including trauma to her self...Read more