Question: Our 14-year-old (he’s going into the ninth grade at a public high school) has taken up with a bunch of kids that we don’t exactly approve of. They have reputations as troublemakers and at least one has already been arrested for shoplifting and had to do some community service. The irony is, they all come from families ...Read more
When children were raised, reared, or simply brought up, they emancipated “on time.” Upon high school graduation, children went to college, into the military, or became employed. Some, like my wife and myself, got married before they could vote. Those were the days when young people still wanted to leave home and strike out on their own, ...Read more
Question: I appreciate your traditional, call it old-fashioned approach to child rearing, but I’m a tad confused and hope you can help straighten out my thinking. I’ve been reading your column for maybe twenty years and have used many of your suggestions with success. Your recommendation that consequences be huge has been ...Read more
Concerning major behavior problems, parents often tell me they’ve “tried everything.” In more than forty years of doing this “parenting expert” gig, I’ve never run across a parent who was telling the truth about that. Since the 1960s, we’ve drifted so far away from a commonsense understanding of the fundamentals of child discipline...Read more
Q: My 7-year-old son, an only child, is giving me fits. He’s overly active and will not cooperate in any instruction I give him. In addition, if I tell him not to do something, it’s a guarantee he’s going to do it as soon as my back is turned. I’m a single mom and I’m embarrassed to admit that he runs the house. I spoke to ...Read more
“When are you going to write a book on grandparenting?” is a question asked of me by lots of folks, most of whom – no surprise here – are grandparents.
My stock answer: “I might, someday, that is, but right now I’m working on some other projects that are taking up most of my time blah blah blah.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve ...Read more
My wife and I spent two days in my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, recently. As we always do, we walked around my boyhood neighborhood – the South-of-Broad historic district (back then, more run-down than historic) – and the usual memories came flooding back.
My friends and I spent nearly all day of any day that wasn’t a school ...Read more
There is child raising and there is “parenting.” America replaced the former with the latter in the 1970s and it’s been downhill ever since.
My mother – a single parent during most of my formative years – was not parenting me. She was raising me, bringing me up. She did not, therefore, “get down to my level” when she spoke to me. ...Read more
Julie Jargon is a reporter with the Wall Street Journal. Heretofore, she has written about food companies like Starbucks and McDonalds. As of April 2, however, Ms. Jargon is writing a WSJ column titled “Family and Tech,” described as dealing with “the impact of technology on family life.”
In her inaugural column (April 2, 2019), which ...Read more
“We’ve tried everything!” is one of the more common testimonials I hear from parents who’ve just described persistent and highly vexing discipline problems with a child or children.
Setting aside that it’s never the case that “everything” has been tried in conscientious fashion, the complaint reflects the wrong-headed notion – ...Read more
The Wall Street Journal recently (3/16/2019) printed a letter-to-the-editor in which Upland, California psychiatrist/psychoanalyst Charlene Moskovitz promotes the alleged benefits of medication and psychotherapy for children diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and ADHD (and, presumably, other emotional and behavioral issues). According to ...Read more
To the many readers who recently asked: Yes, I do take requests, and yes, I will riff on the Perpetually Beautiful People Who Laid Out Mega-Bribes to Guarantee That Their Beautiful and Everlastingly Entitled Bratz Get into the College of Their Choice Scandal.
Why would anyone who’s been paying attention be surprised? When polls find that a ...Read more
“So, what do you think of attachment parenting?”
My inquisitor was a 30-something mom. I sensed she was testing me, trying to determine whether I was worth her time.
“Not much,” I said. “I don’t see any objective research that would verify any short- or long-term benefits; therefore, I don’t think the effort – on the part of ...Read more
Question: My 5-year-old has had eating issues since he was an infant. When I introduced solid food at six months, he began rejecting most vegetables. His feeding problems have worsened since then to the point, today, where he will eat only breaded chicken strips, Tater Tots, and vanilla ice cream (but only a certain brand). We worked ...Read more
I’ve been writing this column for forty-three years and speaking publicly for nearly as long. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that when it comes to my subject matter, you can’t win ‘em all.
What is now called “parenting” has become a highly emotional subject for many, right up there with religion, politics, and pit bulls....Read more
A friend of mine named Scott shared an absolutely brilliant thought with me when I dropped in on him unannounced at his workplace, a bank, the other day.
Everyone thinks all I want to talk about is parenting, like, you know, police only want to talk about the arrests they’ve made and surgeons only want to talk about operations they’ve ...Read more
A journalist recently asked me for the single biggest mistake being made by today’s parents. I was tempted to say, “Having children,” but stopped myself because even if I’d followed up with “Just kidding!” my bon mot would have gone into print. Oh my gosh! It just did!
I do, by the way, believe that some people are simply not well-...Read more