Parenting

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Grown Child in Difficult Marriage After Cohabitation

How can I help my grown-up son who is in an unhappy marriage after living with his wife for several years prior to the wedding? It's a difficult and complicated situation, and lately he's been talking about getting a divorce. Is there any way I can reach out to this young couple?

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Dealing With Sibling Rivalry

What should I do about the constant fighting that goes on between my daughters? Our house is the scene of perpetual sibling battles. My mother says I should intervene, but my husband thinks this is normal for kids their age. Should I be worried?

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Disciplining an Uncooperative Child

How can I get my child to obey and do as he's told? Our young son is defiant and talks back. He won't do his homework and refuses to clean his room. When we try to discuss these issues with him in a calm, mature way, we usually end up getting angry and yelling at him. What are we doing wrong?

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Dealing With a Grown Child Who Is Unemployed and Living at Home

How do we deal with an adult child who has no job, is living in our basement, and drawing heavily on our financial resources? My husband and I can't agree on the best way to handle this situation, and it's becoming a real strain on our relationship. What should we do?

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Evaluating Your Child for School Readiness

How can we assess whether or not our child is ready to start school? Can you suggest any basic guidelines?

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Church Youth Group Emphasis

Should a church youth group be social or spiritual in focus? We're involved in a heated dispute about this at our church. There are two schools of thought. One group thinks that a high school youth group should be primarily spiritual in emphasis, focusing on Bible study, prayer, and outreach or service projects. The rest of us feel that this may be too much, since the kids are already participating in Sunday school and worship services. We'd rather see the weekday youth group organized around social activities, such as mini-golf outings, volleyball games, coffee house gatherings, and time to "hang out" with other Christian teens. The "spiritual" crowd is giving us a lot of flak about this. Is it wrong for a church youth group to be primarily social in purpose?

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Personality Change in a Pre-Teen Boy

How do we deal with an unhappy and contrary pubescent boy? Our ten-year-old son has just hit puberty, and it seems to have drastically altered his personality. He went from a generally happy little boy who laughed all the time to a miserable pre-teen who is always fighting with someone – my wife and me, his siblings, his teachers, his friends, you name it. What do you suggest we do about it?

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Kids and Gun Safety

Should we keep firearms in the house while raising young children? I've always considered this a wise security measure. So did my father and grandfather. From my perspective, it's a question of protecting my family against intruders and other dangers. My wife disagrees. She says it's unsafe to have kids and guns in the same place at the same time. What do you think?

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What the Bible Says about The "Age of Accountability"

At what point does a child become personally responsible for his or her actions before God? This is not just an academic question: as I see it, your answer will affect how I choose to discipline my children. I know that we're all born with an inherited sin nature, but I'm not sure what the Bible teaches about the "age of accountability?" Is it right to think of childish selfishness or defiance as "sin" in the full sense of the word? Where can I find some scriptural guidance on this subject?

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Father-Daughter Conflict

How can I make peace between my husband and our teenage daughter? Every day when he picks her up from school he either starts a fight or delivers a lecture about how she's not measuring up academically. Then she calls me, angry or in tears. Grades have always been a problem for our daughter, and I understand that we need to do everything we can to encourage her to stay on top of her schoolwork. But at this point her dad is just making her feel like she's not "good enough." Can you help me?

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Helping Children Cope Emotionally After Traumatic Events and Experiences

How can I make sure that my children will recover from the emotional impact of disaster and trauma? I'm especially concerned about the long-term effects. Over the past month our community has been devastated by a terrible flood. The impact to my family has included the loss of our home, interruption of work and school, loss of income, physical deprivation, and overwhelming anxiety about the future. The immediate danger is past, but I realize that we're going to be coping with the emotional and psychological effects of this disaster for a long time to come. How can I help my kids get beyond this traumatic experience?

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Preparing Your Toddler for a New Baby

How can we prepare our child for the arrival of a new baby? I've heard some horror stories about this type of situation, and I'd like to avoid trouble if possible. What can my spouse and I do to ease the transition for him?

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Dad Fears Young Son Is Becoming a Mama's Boy

Can you help me figure out if my five-year-old son is overly attached to his mother? There are some days when it seems almost impossible to separate him from her. When we ride in the car, he insists that she sit in the back seat with him. Only mama can clean him up when he makes a mess, and only mama is allowed to read him a bedtime story. I do get some meaningful interaction with him on weekends when there's more time to play and do boy things together. But I'm beginning to wonder if he'll ever outgrow this phase of clinging to mom.

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Dealing With a Romantic Rivalry Between Siblings

How do we stop our two teenage sons from fighting over a girl? What should we do? The sixteen-year-old, who has always been more outgoing than his brother, has struck up a "friendship" with a girl our seventeen-year-old has liked for over a year. This kind of thing has happened before, though it's always been with male friends in the past. The older brother accuses the younger of stealing all his friends and says he hates him. The younger brother doesn't care-he says people are free to associate with anyone they choose. Should we let them fight it out? Restrict the sixteen-year-old's access to this girl? Or tell the seventeen-year-old to grow up and live with it?

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Child Seems to Sleep Too Much

Should I be concerned about my six-year-old sleeping too much? She does not want to wake up in the morning, even though she goes to bed early and sleeps through the night? Is this normal? Do you have any suggestions?

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Understanding the Sexual Pressures Teens Are Facing

Why are so many teens making bad sexual choices nowadays? This worries me because I have teenage kids of my own and I'm anxious to help them avoid serious mistakes in this area. Can you help me get a better handle on teenage attitudes about sex?

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Defusing Sibling Rivalry With Love

How do we discourage sibling rivalry and introduce a more loving and cooperative atmosphere into our home? I know this behavior is normal up to a point, but I can't help feeling that there are moments when it verges on becoming seriously destructive. What can my spouse and I do to teach brotherly love?

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Deciding If Your Family Is Complete

How do my husband and I know when it's time to stop having children? We're expecting baby number five in a few weeks. That will make a total of five kids within the space of five years! I've seen a lot of Christian literature on the subject of starting a family, but how can we tell when enough is enough and our family has reached the ideal size? Other moms have told me, "You'll just know when it's your last one," and I guess they're probably right. Still, I can't help wondering if there are other factors I should bear in mind. Any advice?

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Corporal Punishment and Violent Behavior in Children

Does spanking teach kids to be violent? I have some serious reservations about the appropriateness and effectiveness of this type of discipline. If we spank our child, will this lead her to assume that violence is acceptable, or that it's okay to hit others or even to hit us back?

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Toddler Bedtime Battles

How do we deal with a toddler who resists bedtime? Our two-year-old recently went from being a great sleeper to suddenly fighting bedtime in an insane way-screaming, hitting, and running around his room. We've done nothing to change his schedule-nap from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m., and bedtime at 7:00 p.m.-and we have no idea what brought this on. What should we do? We're desperate!

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Children and Sleep

How can we implement a more consistent bedtime schedule for our children, ages 8, 6, and 4? We haven't been very successful in this area. How many hours do kids this age need to sleep? Do you have any tips for ways to improve bedtime and make it more pleasant?

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Handling Conflicts With Neighbor Kids

How can we stop our son, age six, from fighting with the boy next door? The neighbor kid gets mad if our son won't play with him. If he does agree to play, the neighbor and his friends often reject him and drive him away. This boy has been extremely aggressive towards my son, pushing him off the bus, hitting him with a plastic bat, and then lying about it. To make matters worse, when the fighting starts, the kid's father blames my child! We're trying to keep our kids out of their yard, but the troublemaker isn't staying away from ours. Any suggestions?

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Developing Effective Communication Patterns With Kids

How can we teach our children good listening skills? They seem to have trouble paying attention to instructions and following directions. In my daughter's case, I think she's just defiant most of the time. As for my son, he's very intense and tends to get so locked into television, a book, a videogame, or whatever he's doing that it's almost impossible to pull him away. I find that I'm repeating myself over and over again. Do you have any advice?

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Sibling Conflicts and Rivalry

How do we stop our two daughters, ages thirteen and seven, from fighting and bickering all the time. I'm concerned that the effects of all this conflict may be potentially harmful. We're a Christian family, so we've talked many times about what it means to be kind, loving, and forgiving. After one of these discussions they always promise to do better next time, but nothing ever changes. When should we begin to worry that their sibling rivalry is getting out of hand?

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