Question: I want to legally change our daughter’s name. No one pronounces it correctly and I think it’s going to cause her more problems as she gets older. My husband doesn’t want to, however. He says that changing it will confuse her. She’s nineteen months old, for crying out loud! If she’s confused for a week or two, so ...Read more
A New York writer named Jonathan Daniel Stern, writing in the August 7, 2019, issue of the e-zine “Fatherly,” laments that co-sleeping has destroyed his marriage. As best as I can figure, Stern and his ersatz wife are still married and live under the same roof, but the marriage is gone, kaput, sacrificed to the co-sleeping demon. She sleeps ...Read more
Proving, once again, that fact is stranger by far than fiction, a grandmother recently asked me what she should do about her daughter-in-law who, despite her husband’s increasingly meek objections, is determined to do everything possible to turn the first grandchild, a three-year-old girl, into the next Lady Gaga. Or Carrie Underwood. Let’s ...Read more
I’ve always promised myself that this column would never get “academic,” but I see now choice with respect to the issue at hand, so here goes…as simple as I can make it.
Fractional anisotrophy (FA) is a measure of connectivity in the brain. As such, it’s a reflection of cognitive aging as determined by the deterioration of white ...Read more
Question: A Christian (but very liberal) adoption agency recently turned down our application because they disapprove of our parenting approach, which is your parenting approach. We told them we subscribe to your philosophy and do things like sending the kids to bed early due to whining and tantrums. They said that was isolating and ...Read more
Short questions I’ve been asked of late (mostly by journalists) and proportionately short answers:
Q: Is there a single most important thing parents should be teaching during their children’s preschool years?
A: The most important thing parents should teach is proper manners. The second and third most important things ...Read more
Q: Some friends of ours who’ve read a couple of your books and attended one of your talks told us that they solved some major discipline problems with their 4-year-old just by using what they called alpha speech. They tried to explain it to us, but we’d like to get it straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Would you please...Read more
As I crisscross the country in public speaker mode, I poll people in various demographic categories. I ask how they were raised, what their parents were like, how their parents disciplined, how they raised their own kids, their perceptions of how their kids are raising their grandkids, and so on. Most of the folks in question don’t have any ...Read more
My recent column pertaining to a 12-year-old who told his parents he’d thought about suicide several times over the past six months stirred a fair number of folks to respond. Feelings toward the column ranged from “many thanks” to “how interesting” to fear and loathing.
Said pre-teen was obviously well-adjusted. He enjoys several good...Read more
Question: We recently discovered that our 12-year-old has been visiting pornography sites of all sorts on the Internet. When we caught him red-handed, he began crying and said he is addicted. Apparently, a friend of his got him involved. Our son has assured us it’s not going to happen again, but we really don’t know how to handle ...Read more
I am perennially asked whether I do or do not “believe” in autism. I suspect that on most occasions, it’s a test. Nonetheless, it’s a fair question that usually takes this form: “I know you don’t believe in ADHD; but do you believe in autism?”
To be clear, it would be absurd of me to deny that there are children – plenty of them...Read more
Question: On several occasions over the last six months or so, our 12-year-old son has told us he’s been thinking about suicide. Apparently, he’s been the target of a couple of school bullies and sometimes feels like life is too much. We’ve talked to him, tried to help him express his feelings, and tried to help him figure out ...Read more
Question: We have two married daughters, one of whom is adopted. The biological daughter has two children who, we recently discovered, have been told that it is wrong to call our adopted daughter “aunt so-and-so” because she is not really family. Nor, according to our biological daughter and son-in-law, is her husband an “uncle.” ...Read more
Q: Our son is 13 years old and in the 7th grade. Last week he came home from school complaining about how a few of his friends have been bullying him. These same boys were at his birthday party just the weekend before and they seemed to get along fine. Sometimes they poke fun at him when he is hanging around girls that these other boys...Read more
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