Just about every marriage has its share of bad times; then again, some marriages simply go bad. The reasons for the latter include abuse, adultery, alcoholism (and other forms of chemical self-indulgence, aka addiction), and emotional and/or physical abandonment. Not to say that any one of those can’t be overcome, but they are four of the top ...Read more
Question: Our 15-year-old daughter is very demanding and, to be honest, self-centered. One of the things she does is ask one of us for something and demand an instant decision, as in, “Can I go to the mall with my friends?” If she doesn’t get the right answer, she begins to yell and become disrespectful and/or she goes to the ...Read more
Q: Our 9-year-old daughter recently announced to us that she doesn’t like school, doesn’t want to go, and doesn’t want to do the work. We’ve been unable to get a coherent reason out of her and her third-grade teacher tells us that she seems well-adjusted, has friends, and is doing above-average work, which is probably her best....Read more
The prestigious American Academy of Pediatrics has just released (November 2018) a policy statement claiming that "Aversive disciplinary strategies, including all forms of corporal punishment and yelling at or shaming children, are minimally effective in the short-term and not effective in the long-term. With new evidence, researchers link ...Read more
For the record, I believe in the concept of public (aka, taxpayer-funded, government, “free”) schools. I attended public schools and obtained an excellent education that challenged my intellect and imparted a broad understanding of the world and my place in it. I am forever grateful to my teachers. Some were more likeable than others, but ...Read more
One of my favorite rock songs of all time (“Hello, I’m John, and I’m a rock ‘n’ roll addict”) is “For What It’s Worth,” written by Stephen Stills and originally recorded by Buffalo Springfield. It begins, “There’s something happening here; what it is ain’t exactly clear….”
That lyric occurred to me as I contemplated ...Read more
In an opinion piece recently featured on FoxNews.com., Jonathan Pokluda explicates his Ten Habits of Extraordinary Parents. Pokluda, a teaching pastor at a mega-church in Texas, and his wife are in the midst of what he terms “the parenting experiment” with three young children.
In the introduction to his Ten Habits, Podluka says that ...Read more
As the current school year kicked off, I began hearing the same-old, same-old report from teachers and principals: children who have never lied. At least, that is what the parents of said children claim.
When one of these highly-evolved kids is accused of misbehaving at school, his parents ask him for his side of the story, his take on what ...Read more
When I was a child, my most important possession was my bicycle, followed closely by my radio.
My bike was how I got around. I rode it to school, friend’s houses, pick-up baseball games, shopping centers, and just about anywhere else my heart desired and my parents would allow (and some they wouldn’t have allowed).
My radio – AM-only ...Read more
PARENTING REALITY, PART ONE: It is all but inevitable that after rattling off a list of provocative, sociopathic stuff his or her child is doing and usually has been doing for quite some time, a parent will say, “But he’s a really good kid.” How’s that? How is it that a child who is belligerently defiant, denigrates the parent with ...Read more
More musings over morning coffee:
FROM THE TRUTH VS. “YOUR TRUTH” DEPARTMENT: The former is grounded in verifiable facts; the latter is the deceptive product of emotion. The latter, unfortunately, is usually represented by the loudest, most agitated mob.
FROM THE “FOR EXAMPLE” DEPARTMENT: Every so often, the issue of spanking rears its...Read more
Talking today’s mother through her first experience with toilet training is akin to talking someone off a ledge. Both situations involve massive anxiety, high drama and lots of yelling and screaming. Now, I am obliged to point out that whereas talking someone off a ledge has always involved drama, that did not describe toilet training until a ...Read more
A few thoughts over morning coffee…
From the Feedback Department: Certain recent columns of mine have drawn a spike in reader responses, both pro and con. My comments on the fact that young teachers are and have been for quite some time ill-prepared to deal with the realities of classroom discipline prompted a former professor of education to...Read more
Question: I am reading your book “The Well-Behaved Child” and have a question that it doesn’t address. I am a single mom with children from two different fathers. One of my ex-husbands (my son’s father) and I have arranged to do regular “child-exchanges.” One weekend, all the kids go to his house and on another weekend, they ...Read more
As another school year begins, one of many pertinent questions is “Has the per child or per-teacher (it doesn’t matter) rate of verbal and emotional abuse by teachers on students increased dramatically over the past fifty years or is it that the definition of such abuse has been dumbed down?”
The answer is yes.
As to the former, today’...Read more
It has long been known, but only spoken of in hushed tones by university professors sitting in darkened rooms wearing Fat Elvis masks, that pre-Kindergarten “jump-start” (aka, “push-down”) programs don’t work other than to increase teacher employment and give parents the false idea that their kids are on the fast track to certain ...Read more
An early childhood educator of thirty-eight years standing left a message asking if I had advice for encouraging cooperation from parents. She reports what every veteran teacher (defined as having twenty years or more classroom experience) I have spoken with over the past forty years reports: to wit, that it is the rare parent who does not ...Read more