Parenting

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Brain Chemistry and Children Who've Been Adopted

Is it possible that mental problems might be behind the erratic behavior of our six-year-old son who we adopted who we adopted through the foster care system? His behavior is maddeningly unpredictable. He alternates between tantrums, running away, hiding, aggression, and wild hyperactivity. To top things off, he seems to regard us with feelings of distrust and won't let us get close enough to him to help in any way. I'm beginning to think that all of this might actually be based on some kind of issue with the hardwiring of his brain that won't allow him to understand or accept our love. Does this sound feasible?

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Identifying Neurochemical Factors in the Adopted Child's Behavior

How can I tell to what extent my adopted child's erratic behavior and moods might be based on neurochemical issues? I'm not sure about the details of his background before we adopted him, but I have a hunch there was some kind of neglect or abuse. It's been more challenging to raise him than we first anticipated. It would be helpful to have a clearer idea of what we're up against. What's the best way to assess his situation? And is there anything I can do to address the problem?

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Adoption: Treating Sensory Processing Disorder

What kind of treatments or therapies are available to kids who suffer from Sensory Processing Disorder? We're fostering a boy from an abusive, high-risk background. After several consultations with an occupational therapist we've come to the conclusion that many of his most aggravating behavioral problems can be traced to sensory-based issues.

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Dealing With Attachment Disorder in Adoption

How can I bond more effectively with my "disconnected" child who is newly adopted? We recently finalized adoption proceedings, and while we're pleased and excited to have our daughter in our home, we can also see that she's struggling with attachment issues. We don't know all the details of her past history, but some of her behavior indicates that she may have been abused. What can we do to reverse the damage and begin moving in a positive direction?

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Adoption and Attachment Issues

Can you give me some basic information on parent-child attachment, especially as it relates to adoption? How does it develop and why is it so important? We're planning to adopt a four-year-old child from an orphanage in Eastern Europe. Our sense of excitement is growing as the time draws near to bring our newest family member home, but my spouse and I are also apprehensive about some of the challenges we may face. I've been especially anxious about some of the things I've read concerning Reactive Attachment Disorder.

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Handling the Fears of Kids Adopted From Hard Places

How can we help our six-year-old son, who we adopted, overcome his fears? He recently had a traumatic experience when he fell off a raft into the shallow water of the lake where he and his brother were playing. Now he says that he'll never go back in the water again. There's a part of me that thinks we need to get him back on the proverbial horse as soon as possible. At the same time, I'm keenly aware that he's had a long history of trauma and struggles with fear, and I wonder if that's the best approach for him. What do you think I should do?

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Easing the Transition for a Child Who's Been Adopted

How do we smooth the adjustment process for our child who is newly adopted? We returned home with our child (adopted internationally) about three weeks ago. Though she's nearly ten months old, she still isn't sleeping through the night. When she's awake, she's cranky and irritable and cries all the time. Frankly, this is making it very difficult for us to feel connected to her, and we're growing frustrated and tired. What are we doing wrong? How can we get things on the right track?

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Maintaining Holiday Traditions While Mom and Dad Are Separated

Should my husband and I spend Christmas morning together with the kids at his parents' house in spite of the fact that we've been separated for four months? He said he wants me to come because he's hoping to be present next year when it's my turn to have the kids on Christmas morning. Although I'd love to see my girls open their presents, I'm afraid this will send them mixed messages about the marital problems they know we're experiencing. What do you think is the right choice for my children?

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Parent Concerned about Kids' Vulnerability to Human Trafficking

Do you think there's any danger of my kids becoming victims of sexual exploitation? I've never been a big believer in overly tight controls for my teenagers. My feeling has always been that they should have an increasing amount of independence at this stage of their development. I don't enforce strict curfews or ask a lot of questions when they come in late at night. But recently I read an article about sexual "slavery" and human trafficking in our community and it just about made my hair stand on end. Am I overreacting?

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Risk Factors for Teen Premarital Sex

How can I know if my teen is likely to engage in premarital sex? My spouse and I have tried to raise our kids in the right way, but we're keenly aware that the culture is working against us. Promiscuity is fashionable nowadays and sexual temptations are everywhere. How can we guard against it? Are there any particular risk factors we should watch out for as we try to guide our teenager through this challenging phase of the growing up process?

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Toddler Restless at Night

Do you have any suggestions for getting a two-year-old to go to bed and stay there? It's a miserable struggle at our house because our son fights us every step of the way. When he does finally get to sleep, it's not unusual for him to be up several times during the night, requesting water or a snack or begging to be allowed to sleep in our bed. We're at our wits' end!

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Facts About Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

What exactly is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and what are its causes? Is there anything I can do to reduce the risk of losing my baby to this mysterious killer?

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Potty Training a Child With Down Syndrome

Can a toddler with Down syndrome be taught to use the toilet? Given my son's special developmental and mental challenges, I'm not sure whether he has the capacity to understand what I'm asking of him. I'd really appreciate any practical advice you might be able to offer.

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Controlling a Wandering Toddler

How can I make sure that my three-year-old daughter won't slip away from me when we're in public places? I have to watch her like a hawk because she continually wanders off. It doesn't matter where we are - playground, pool, beach, grocery store, or mall. She simply willnot stay with me. I recently lost her - only for a minute, but it was the worst minute of my life! I really don't know what to do about this. I've spanked her, taken things away, tried to explain that she might get lost or that someone might take her - you name it. So far nothing has worked. Will she grow out of this? Please help!

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Disciplining a Child Who "Runs Away"

How do we deal with a small child who takes off and has to be chased down every time he misbehaves and suspects that he's about to be punished? He tends to run away whenever any kind of problem surfaces, and we have to run after him just to talk to him, let alone correct his behavior. Is this normal? How should we respond?

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Child Is Afraid of the Devil

How can I calm my child's fears of Satan? Over the past few months my five-year-old has become obsessed with this subject. She's always asking questions about the devil, and she seems terribly afraid of what he might do to her. She goes to Sunday school, and we pray and read the Bible together every day. So far, none of this seems to help. I've done my best to reassure her, but I have to admit that I don't know much about the devil myself. Can you tell me exactly what Scripture has to say about him?

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Having Babies After Forty

What should we expect with a pregnancy in later life? My wife is in her early forties and we just learned that she is expecting a child. We're happy but stunned (to say the least). We already have three children (all in their teens now), so we're familiar with the territory in a general sense. But is there anything special we need to know about pregnancy after forty?

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Concerns About A Boy Developing Healthy Masculine Traits

How can we be sure that our young son will grow up to be a healthy, fully masculine man? He's only five years old, but his mother and I are already concerned about certain aspects of his behavior and temperament. He avoids loud, rough-and-tumble play, and so far he hasn't shown much interest in team sports and other typical boyhood activities. To make matters worse, I've occasionally noticed him playing "house" and "dress up" with his sisters. In that context, I've even seen him put on a dress! What do you think? Is he becoming effeminate? Do you think he might even grow up to be a homosexual?

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Setting Boundaries with Neighborhood Kids

What can I do when I feel like our house is being overrun by neighbor children? It seems every kid on the block plays in our yard these days. We seem to have stricter rules than most parents on our street about where our grade-school children are allowed to go, so all the kids end up here. What should we do?

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Changes That Occur During Puberty and Adolescence

Can you tell us what changes we should expect as our child goes through puberty and enters adolescence—and how we should deal with them? I realize that this is likely to be a challenging time in our son's life. I'm also assuming that my spouse and I will have to bear a large part of the burden of his insecurity and anxiety as he navigates this delicate transition. Do you have some tried-and-true strategies for weathering the storm?

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Helping Missionary Kids Make the Transition From Field to Home

How can missionary parents ease the transition for their children when moving back home from the mission field? Our oldest son, who is eleven-and-a-half, has been struggling for several years here in our host country. After trying to help him adjust in a number of ways, we've decided to follow the recommendation of our leadership team and go home early. Our two other children love it here, but I have a feeling they'll be fine with our decision. Still, I'm wondering how we can help all of our kids make a positive beginning when we get back to the States?

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Teaching Children to Be Respectful in a Coarsened Culture

How can I teach my children good manners? It seems etiquette has become a thing of the past, both for children and adults. This is something I'm determined to instill in my kids, but I can see that it won't be easy. How do I teach them to treat people respectfully when the rest of the culture seems to care less and less for the feelings, sensibilities, and rights of others?

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Cell Phone Etiquette for Kids

How can I encourage my teens to combine cell phone use with a proper respect for others? In the beginning I was happy to provide my son and daughter with their own phones because I wanted to make sure that we could stay in touch at all times. More recently, however, I've become increasingly frustrated about the way their phones have begun to dominate their lives. The fascination of texting, calling, and accessing a thousand different phone apps seems to trump every other social interaction. We can be in the same room together, but when they're on their phones-which seems to be all the time-I feel as if I'm invisible. What can be done about this?

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Parents Fear Child May Be Victim of Cyber-Bullying

How can I know for sure whether my child has become a target of intimidating text messages or cruel rumors on social media? Are there any tell-tale signs? If it turns out my child is being cyber-bullied, what can I do to help?

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