I often find myself telling parents that they need to stop doing something that is counterproductive and, in most cases, contributing significantly to whatever parenting problem is bedeviling them.
“How do I stop?” is the typical response, which brings to mind “The Bob Newhart Show” which ran on CBS from 1972 to 1978. Newhart, a truly ...Read more
Q: Our 13-year-old eighth-grader says he doesn’t like the small private school he attends and wants us to put him in public high school next year. His grades are fine, he’s got several close friends, and he’s on the basketball and track teams, but he says that he’s bored and wants to attend a bigger school that offers more in the way of ...Read more
Most of the problems today’s parents are experiencing in the course of raising children are due to a faulty “parent-view.” Just as one’s worldview consists of attitudes, values and expectations concerning the world and his or her place in it, a person’s parent-view is primarily constituted of one’s definition of their parental ...Read more
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