A mother recently asked my advice concerning a discipline problem she was having with one of her children. I asked her to define the word discipline.
She thought a moment and answered, “Well, it means to create rules and enforce them consistently. Right?”
No, not right.
To be fair, most parents would give similar answers, which begins to...Read more
Q: I have home-schooled my seventh-grade daughter on and off through elementary school. This school year, I began home-schooling her, but she’s now telling me she wants to go to “real” school again because she wants to be with other kids her age. She’s very social and has lots of friends, mostly through the church we attend.
The same ...Read more
Q: Ever since toddlerhood, we have had significant behavior problems with our 6-year-old son — defiance and general disrespect, mostly. We have tried various disciplinary approaches with little to no positive results.
The latest problem involves the fact that I home-school him. Although he was not a problem in private school kindergarten ...Read more
In a 6-3 decision, the Killingly, Connecticut, school board recently said “no” to establishing a mental health center at its high school. I imagine most folks, upon hearing that, would be dismayed, maybe outraged. I say, “Right on!” to the Killingly school board.
Where is compelling evidence to the effect that the post-1960s ...Read more
“The goal of parenting is not to control, coerce or punish children into being ‘good.’ The goal of parenting is to grow children who can feel all of their feelings and become empathic problem-solvers, and to help children reach their fullest potential.”
No, I haven’t gone over to the other side. That’s a quote from a recent ...Read more
Q: The school our 10-year-old daughter attends believes parents should micromanage homework sessions — they call it “being a homework buddy.” As a consequence, our daughter believes we should help her with her assignments. Mind you, we’re willing to help when help is truly needed, but we don’t want to be our daughter’s “buddies” ...Read more
The mother of a 5-year-old girl tells her to dress for school. The child replies, insolence abounding, “No! I don’t want to, and I’m not going to!” Mom tells her if she doesn’t dress, she will go to school in her pajamas. The child dresses. And that’s the end of it. Or is it?
“Did I do the right thing?” Mom asks.
“Was her ...Read more
Q: Our soon-to-be 5-year-old son enjoys playing with his 14-month-old brother, but there have been three times recently when the baby has started crying and when I check, big brother has a guilty look on his face. So far, the baby has suffered a scratch under one eye, a red mark on his face where a ball hit him, and a bruised forehead from ...Read more
Some parents, I have discovered, believe in the parenting slot machine theory. They hold fast to the notion that some parents are simply lucky, meaning that chance and chance alone determines whether one has easy children or difficult children. This parenting slot machine supposedly pays some parents and cheats others.
With rare exception, ...Read more
Q: How can I explain to my kids, ages 6 and 9, that “fair” and “equal” are not the same. They complain constantly that I’m not fair. What they mean is I don’t treat them the same.
A: You’re yelling into a hurricane. Forget it. Below age 12 or 13, children cannot wrap their brains around the difference between the two concepts.
Q: We have a 3.5-year-old daughter and each night we have a routine we go through with her — bath, pajamas, brush, choose two books and read them, sing a couple of songs, and pray before lights out. Bedtime typically falls between 7:30 and 8 p.m. each night and she sleeps soundly for about 11-12 hours. We try to go through the routine calmly ...Read more
Correlation does not prove causation, drummed my grad school statistics professor. For example, a rise in the rate of American children who regularly consume lox and a concurrent rise in Type 2 diabetes among American children does not, in and of itself, prove lox consumption increases the risk of diabetes. Proving the contention would require a...Read more
Q: Our 14-year-old daughter is a rising high school sophomore. We let her wear eyeliner this past year, but she is wearing entirely too much. She is well-adjusted (plays sports, good grades) but seems insecure to go out in public without her makeup. When we tell her she looks prettier without it, she becomes defensive. Should we lighten up or ...Read more