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
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
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
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
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
“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
Feelings are a wild card. On the one hand, the ability to experience deep emotion is one of the things that defines us as human. On the other, feelings can be and often are destructive to relationships and even to self. Like thoughts and behavior, feelings begin in chaos (check out the toddler), and like thoughts and behavior, feelings require ...Read more
Rosemond’s Pithy Philosophical Snippet of the Week: Crazy is believing that feelings – yours and other’s – define and should therefore govern external reality.
It is one thing to say, “Randolph really covets Humbert’s jacket and wishes it was his.” It is quite another to say, “Because Randolph covets Humbert’s jacket and ...Read more
A Wisconsin pediatrician wants his newspaper to eject my column, giving as one of his complaints that I hew “to the idea that the world of the 1950s was the be-all and end-all of parenting/childrearing, and that if we were to return to that era with the good-old practices of our grandparents, our children would reap the benefits.” The good ...Read more
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