Parenting

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Non-Traditional Female Careers for Girls

If it's important to maintain clear distinctions between the sexes – and I agree that it is – should we encourage our school-age daughters to think in terms of pursuing non-traditional female career choices? One of our girls has been talking about becoming a firefighter when she grows up. I realize that most people in contemporary secular society wouldn't have any problem with this, but as a conservative Christian I can't help wondering: does a goal like this align with genuinely biblical womanhood? Should I try to steer my daughter in another direction?

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Teaching Children about Self-Denial

Should I teach my child about the importance of self-denial? We don't hear much about it in the modern American church, and contemporary secular culture doesn't value it at all. But I'm not sure how our kids will understand what it means to follow Jesus if we neglect this aspect of the disciple's calling.

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Preparing Kids for Back To School

I can't believe that the end of summer is already within sight! School will be starting again in a couple of weeks, and my children are dreading it. Is there anything I can do to help smooth the transition? What would you recommend?

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Anorexia and "Pro-Ana" Websites

Are "pro-ana" websites helpful for those with anorexia and other eating disorders? I recently discovered that my teenage daughter, who has struggled with an eating disorder (anorexia), has been visiting one of these sites on a regular basis. When I questioned her about it, she said that it's designed to provide girls in her situation with a "community of mutual support." She says it's all very positive and encouraging and that she can't imagine how she'd get by without it. Do you know anything about this? Should I encourage her to continue her participation?

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Stress and Parenting a Child with Special Needs

As parents of a child with special needs, how can my husband and I manage all of the difficult emotions and added stress that comes with our situation? There are times when the job seems like more than we can handle.

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Helping Teens Overcome Poor Body Image

Do you have any advice for parents trying to help a teenager who struggles with bad feelings about her figure and physical appearance? Our daughter has a poor body image and a distressingly negative view of herself, but she won't talk about it. How do we bring this up without smothering her, alienating her or otherwise hurting our relationship?

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Teaching Kids to Stick with It

How do we keep our child from becoming a "quitter"? Several months ago our five-year-old son asked to be enrolled in a Tae Kwon Do program. He's enjoyed it and usually has a good time once he gets to class. But lately we've run into problems with him not wanting to go. We don't want to push him into an area where he doesn't have an interest, but we also don't want him to get the idea that he can quit something just because he doesn't feel like doing it. How do we find the right balance on this issue? And does it change according to age?

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Teenagers and Sleep

How important is it for adolescents to get enough sleep? And exactly how much is "enough"? My son is trying to convince me that he has enough energy to handle late nights. I tend to disagree. My feeling is that sleep is critical during the teen years, especially with all of the physical changes kids are experiencing at that age. What do you think?

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Providing Enriching Childhood Experiences on a Tight Budget

How can I give my kids the chance to try different activities and programs when we don't have much money? I'm a stay-at-home mom and my husband works hard to support our family, but we're living on a shoestring budget. I don't want my children to miss out on life-enriching opportunities.

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The Significance of a Father's Influence

Is there any real evidence that dads really have a uniquely important impact in the lives of their children? Our culture seems to place little value on the role of fathers. I see evidence of this everywhere, from pop culture and media to government policy. My own experience and belief system tell me that fatherhood is important, but I'd like to be able to explain exactly why this is the case. Can you help me?

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Helping a Family That Has a Child With Special Needs

What are some meaningful and practical ways we can ease the burden of a family who has a child with special needs? My husband and I have friends from church with a child who was recently diagnosed with cerebral palsy. We know this family is juggling a lot of things at once and we want to help them. Any good ideas on how we can do this?

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Avoiding Toddler-Care Burnout

How do I avoid toddler-care burnout? I'm a young stay-at-home mom with two children under the age of five. I love my kids, and I've willingly given up a career and other pursuits to devote myself to them full-time. Still, I have to admit that the stress, the strain, and the tedium all wear on me and get me down sometimes. What can I do to preserve my emotional equilibrium and prevent an all-out breakdown?

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Parenting a Teenager Who Doesn't Want to Move With Family

Should we force our teen to relocate to a new state with the rest of us? A job change is requiring our family to move, but our adolescent son, who is currently a student in high school, doesn't want to go with us. He'd rather move in with some friends and graduate from the school he's currently attending. Should we let him stay?

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Making a Major Move With Kids

How can parents help kids adjust to a cross-country move?

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Parenting Teens Through a Major Move

How can we help our adolescent daughter, who is depressed and angry as a result of our recent relocation to a new town and a new school? The move has taken a heavy toll on all of our kids, but our teenager is particularly upset. She won't talk about anything but our old home, and her grades are beginning to slide. What can we do?

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Parents Perplexed by Change in Teen's Personality

Can you help us understand and deal with the shift in personality and temperament that has come over our daughter since she entered puberty? She used to be a ball of sunshine – compliant, obedient, and pleasant – but she has changed significantly since hitting the teen years. She's irritated, moody, and secretive about insignificant things. What can we do?

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Parental Guidelines for Teen Dating

What rules and guidelines should we set for our teenager who wants to start dating?

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Considerations for Working Mothers

Do you have any encouragement for moms who are employed outside the home? I'm aware that Focus on the Family spends a lot of time affirming stay-at-home moms in their role, but I'm wondering if you can offer any support to those of us who have to leave home every day simply in order to help pay the bills.

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Remarried Dad Having Trouble Connecting with Spouse's Child

How can I have a better relationship with my stepchild? She resists my attempts at friendship and even screams, "You're not my dad! Leave me alone!" Have I done something wrong? How do I get past this barrier?

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Co-Parenting With an Uncooperative Ex-Spouse

How do I handle conflicts with my ex-spouse over different parenting styles? Our divorce settlement stipulated that we would share responsibility for the children. The arrangement sounded fine on paper, but it's a disaster in practice. I'm a firm believer in structure and discipline. Unfortunately, that goes out the window every time the kids spend a weekend in the home of my ex-spouse, who cares nothing for rules or guidelines. What can I do about this?

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Child of Divorce Doesn't Want to See Dad

How should I handle my daughter's aversion to seeing my ex-husband? The court has granted him visitation rights, but she's very angry with him for leaving the family and doesn't want anything to do with him. She needs to know that I understand her feelings. At the same time, I don't want to keep her from developing a relationship with her father. How do I walk this tightrope?

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Teaching Kids to Be Grateful

How do I instill an attitude of gratitude in my young daughter? I'm concerned about her selfish outlook on life. She recently had a birthday, and as soon as she was finished unwrapping her gifts she started looking around for more! What can I do to correct this?

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Surviving Your Kids' Extra-Curricular Activities

Is it a good idea for children to get involved in sports, dance classes, music lessons, and other commitments outside of their school work and household chores? How much of this kind of thing is too much? Can you suggest any practical guidelines?

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Teenage Son Wants to Smoke Electronic Cigarettes

Should I allow my fourteen-year-old son to smoke electronic cigarettes? He's been hounding me about it and claims that they are medically safe and that there is no reason I should not let him engage in and enjoy this activity. I've been telling him "no" even though I know nothing about e-cigarettes and have no basis for my decision. It just doesn't "feel" right to me. Do you have any advice?

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