Question: I found a vaping pen hidden in my 13-year-old son's room and am at a loss as to how to deal with it. He is very susceptible to peer pressure and wants very badly to fit in with the "cool" kids. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Answer: This is one of those occasional questions that no matter how I answer, some...Read more
Question: We recently discovered that our 16-year-old son has been smoking marijuana on a regular basis. At first, we intended to begin using an over-the-counter drug test but then learned that teens have figured out how to beat these tests. One of our son’s friends, for example, was regularly tested at home and always tested negative ...Read more
One of the biggest problems among today’s parents—especially mothers—concerns their tendency to think in psychological terms about their children’s behavior problems. Mothers are more prone to this intellectual wandering than fathers not because of some gender-related characteristic but simply because mothers are the primary consumers of...Read more
I recently asked a married couple who have three kids, none of whom are yet teens, "Who are the most important people in your family?"
Like all good moms and dads of this brave new millennium, they answered, "Our kids!"
"Why?" I then asked. "What is it about your kids that gives them that status?" And like all good moms...Read more
Question: Our 5-year-old has suddenly started waking up with nightmares. He's not able to describe them with any clarity, however, so we don't know what the content of them is. The most he's able to tell us is that there are scary people chasing him. He began having them about a month ago and has had maybe twenty since. They usually occur ...Read more
Question: My husband and I are looking forward to hosting our children and grandchildren over the Holidays—or were. We were recently informed that our 30-something daughter and two of her children have decided to go completely “vegan” and gluten-free and will only eat food that is devoid of any and all animal and wheat products. I have ...Read more
The following true story was recently related to me by a credible individual who for obvious reasons will remain forever anonymous. I pass it on because it is a quintessential example of the general intemperance of today's parenting.
The scene opens in the white-collar home of a 14-year-old girl and her parents. She is an only child...Read more
Some of the sources that inform today’s parenting do not come to immediately to mind when one thinks of raising children. Take Karl Marx (1818 – 1883), for example. Along with his buddy Friedrich Engels, Marx articulated the fundamental principles of communism. He proposed that capitalism was an economic and social system that exploited and ...Read more
Captain Riddle's TreasureGV Rama Rao
Three children, banished by the Night Fairy to a deserted island for frequent fighting with their siblings, must find their way back home using their wits. Their adventures include a voyage onboard a one-of-a-kind ship, where they get stuck in a Timeline; fight pirates; and meet a multitude ...
Question: In last week’s column, you advised parents not to argue with teenagers. That’s fine and dandy advice, John, but you failed to tell your readers how to stay out of or end these arguments. For example, my strong-willed, stubborn, argumentative 14-year-old daughter wants to argue with me about nearly every decision I make, every “No...Read more
My advice to The Wall Street Journal, the only news source to which I subscribe: Stop trying to be all things to all people. Specifically, stop giving parenting advice.
The latest attempt by WSJ to complicate parent-child matters is a November 7 article oxymoronically titled “The Smart Way to Argue with Your Young Teen” in which the author,...Read more
One of the disadvantages of this job is that I rarely have enough space in which to say all that I'd like to say. Take last week's column in which I said "Consequences should be employed whether they work or not." Some elaboration is in order.
Today's parents tend to believe in behavior modification. They believe, in other words, ...Read more
Question: Our 17-year-old daughter is bright but puts very little effort into her schoolwork. For example, she currently has very low grades in several classes simply because of not turning in assignments. Her only after-school activity is hanging out with her friends, so the problem, in our estimation, is simply one of setting priorities...Read more
The new school year is still fresh and “it” has already begun, “it” being the ongoing effort on the part of schools to persuade parents that there is something wrong with their kids’ brains.
This year, this effort is about something called “executive function,” which the Harvard Center on the Developing Child defines as the “...Read more
Noting that October is Bullying Prevention Month, several editors have asked if I am willing to write an apropos column. I am and for two reasons feel eminently qualified to do so.
My first qualification is that I was bullied as a youngster. It began in the fifth grade with George K. He would run me down, wrestle me to the ground, ...Read more
Q: Dinner with our three kids always, and I mean ALWAYS, turns into a disaster. Typically, the oldest, 11, begins to needle the youngest, 6, and then, when the middle one, 9, figures out which of them is winning, he jumps in on that side. We've yelled, sent the instigator from the table so we can restore a semblance of order, not ...Read more
In 1971, a psychologist named Fitzhugh Dodson published a book titled How to Parent. It did so well that he came out several years later with How to Father. By 1971, Dodson was one of a handful, if that, of child-rearing traditionalists left in psychology, but his titles were quite progressive. In short order, parent and parenting became verbs, ...Read more
In the late 1960s, America came to a fork in the parenting road and took the road never traveled. My generation did what no generation in any culture at any time in history had ever done: we broke with the parenting traditions of our foremothers and forefathers. When the time came, we refused to take the well-worn parenting baton and carry it ...Read more