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
Question: Over the past year or so, our 5-year-old has developed an extreme fear of going to the doctor or dentist. This came on suddenly, without a precipitating incident. The crying begins when we arrive at the appointment. When the doctor or nurse tries to examine him, he goes bonkers—screaming, hitting, kicking. He has to be held ...Read more
Amanda Johnson, a second-grade teacher in Laramie, Wyoming, has caused quite a stir both among her colleagues and constituents and—because her educational incorrectness was covered by national media—across the USA. Her claim to fifteen minutes of fame: Citing research purporting to show that homework does not improve overall achievement, Ms....Read more
Just when I am teetering on the edge of despair concerning the state of child rearing in America, dwelling much, much too obsessively on the damage being done to children and the nation by parents who won't allow their children to take full responsibility for themselves, a little beam of light finds its way through the darkness and rekindles my ...Read more
Question: Our sixth-grade son has always been an excellent math student. This year, however, he melts down every time he does math homework. Within minutes, he becomes highly agitated, begins crying, and says it’s too hard and he can’t do it. We spoke with his teacher who says that he’s having no problem in class. She had no ...Read more
Question: In a recent column, you advise that stepparents have complete disciplinary authority over all children who live in or visit the home, but do you feel the same policy should apply when the stepparent joins the family when the kids are teenagers instead of younger children?
Answer: Your question is of great importance...Read more
Question: We are looking for a private school for our 4-year-old. Regardless of the school we ultimately choose, we want to keep him there through eighth grade at least. We live in an suburban area so we have a lot of options to choose from. Our son is intelligent, creative, and very imaginative. Do you have a recommendation?
Answer: ...Read more
Greg Fulton thinks his teenage daughter, who's already hit three solid objects with her car -- thankfully, no humans or other moving vehicles included -- would do better with a car that comes equipped with blind-spot/lane-change alert (notifies driver when another vehicle is approaching on either side), lane assist (gently guides car, if it ...Read more
Question: Our son is a rising second-grader at a private school. Last year, his behavior was often disruptive and sometimes even downright defiant—problems his first grade teacher did not have with him. At home, we have no more than typical “boyishness” — nothing approaching serious. Nonetheless, at the school’s request we ...Read more
The Wall Street Journal recently interviewed Daniel Eddy, a New York City chef, on how to have a mutually-successful experience with a young child in an upscale restaurant (“How to Take Your Kids Out to Eat and Actually Enjoy the Experience,” July 14, 2016). WSJ obviously thinks the fact that being a chef qualifies one as an expert the ...Read more
One of the more powerful parenting memes to emerge from the parenting revolution of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s was “Children deserve reasons.” To large degree, that was a reaction to the previous parental policy of answering “Why? and “Why not?” with “Because I said so.”
To my knowledge, no one has ever explained in non-...Read more
Question: What can we reasonably expect of our 18-year-old daughter when she comes home on weekends from her summer job? She usually heads straight to her boyfriend's family’s home and rolls in around 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday night. We'd love to have a family meal with her. Do we say, "Dinner is at 6 o’clock and it would mean a ...Read more
Question: My 8-year-old daughter is having anxiety issues that seem to border on obsessive-compulsive disorder. She wants me to repeat certain things back to her and has a set routine of things I must say when I’m tucking her into bed. She’s genuinely upset by all this and tells me she thinks there’s something wrong with her. I’d ...Read more
Question: Our 12-year-old has a smart phone. I know you don’t approve, but all—and I do mean all—of his friends have them and texting is how they communicate. I don’t think, under the circumstances, that making him be the “odd man out” socially is a good idea. So our question: Do we have a right to monitor his phone ...Read more
I recently enjoyed the privilege of seeing and hearing radio talk-show host Dennis Prager speak on the topic of happiness. He only spoke for twenty minutes, but said more in that short span than most talk-show people are able to say in two hours.
He was talking to an audience about how to be a happy person and have a happy marriage....Read more
Question: While exploring your website, I ran across a column you wrote a while back about a 13-year-old who wanted a Mohawk haircut. You told the parents not to allow it, pointing out that if you give most teenagers an inch, they’re eventually going to push for a mile. I think it’s generally wise for parents to say yes to small ...Read more
“Puzzled Grandma in the South” recently wrote to “Dear Abby” asking “Why is there so much angst today over raising children, especially in young mothers?” Grandma has observed that moms of her generation (baby boomers) did not agonize over raising kids, and neither did her mother or grandmother. She also rightly points out that today...Read more