Parenting

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Tips for Teething Babies

What should I expect when my child starts teething? Can you help me recognize the signs that this process is about to begin? How about suggesting some simple strategies for making it as easy and as painless as possible?

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Treating Depression During Pregnancy

How can I effectively deal with my struggle with severe depression while protecting my unborn baby? I've tried counseling before, but by itself that hasn't seemed to work. I have found antidepressants to be extremely effective in my treatment, but I'm afraid that the medication will do harm to my baby in some way. I have been suicidal in the past, so I know I need to do something about my depression. I feel caught between a rock and a hard place.

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When and How to Intervene in the Life of Your Teenager

As a parent of teenagers, I understand the importance of distinguishing between what I can and can't control and granting my kids the freedom they need in order to make their own choices and learn by their own mistakes. Unfortunately, I have reason to believe that my teens are in serious danger of choosing wrong and messing up their lives. As a matter of fact, my seventeen-year-old daughter has already gotten into some serious trouble with her boyfriend. What's worse, her defiant attitude is making it increasingly difficult for me to keep her on the right path. What would you recommend?

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Parental Influence on a Child's Language Development

We have a toddler who is just learning to talk - is there anything important we should know about the respective ways in which moms and dads influence speech development? I understand that word use is one of the key areas in which men and women differ, and I'm interested to know what this implies about the distinctive roles my spouse and I are likely to play in helping our child's language development.

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Moms, Dads, and Interchangeable Parenting Roles

When it comes to parenting roles, aren't moms and dads interchangeable? I understand that there are some basic and very important differences between males and females, and I can even see how these sex distinctions might come into play in the parenting process. But it seems to me that one can go too far with this idea. In fact, I think it would be much better for all concerned if we were to teach our children that men and women are equal. To me, this implies that both are equally able to master the entire range of parenting skills. Doesn't that sound like a workable plan?

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Same-Sex Socialization and Toddlers

How important is same-sex socialization for toddlers? When we put our two-year-old son in daycare, the provider had oversight of eight kids-seven girls and one boy. Since then the other boy's parents have made different arrangements, leaving our son as the only male child in the facility. As his dad, I'm worried that this situation may have a negative impact on the normal, healthy development of my son's gender identity. Is this something to be concerned about or not?

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Mom and Dad Have the Same Discipline Approach: Is This a Problem?

When a husband and wife discipline their children the same way, is there a need for a more balanced approach? I've heard that one of the ways male-female differences crop up in marriage and parenting is in sex-distinct approaches to child discipline: fathers supposedly emphasize justice, fairness, and duty (based on rules), while mothers are more likely to stress sympathy, grace, care, and help (based on relationships). On this basis, it's been suggested that a balance between mom's approach and dad's is ideal for the child. I can see how this might work in some families, but not my own: my spouse and I both tend to reflect those qualities that are usually attributed exclusively to females. Should we be concerned?

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How Gender Distinctions Affect Parenting

If there are identifiable gender distinctions - psychological and emotional as well as physical and sexual - do they have practical implications for parents? What do moms and dads need to know about this subject, and how will such knowledge help them do a better job of raising their kids?

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Finding a Family Doctor

Do you have any advice on how to go about finding a doctor for our family? My husband and I have young children and we've just moved to a new town.

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Helping Siblings of a Child With Special Needs Cope With Your Family's Different Lifestyle

How do we help our "typical" kids deal with the fact that our family is different in some ways from those of their friends? Our youngest son was recently diagnosed with autism, and his older siblings have begun to express resentment over the impact this has had on them and our family.

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Caring for the Siblings of a Child with Special Needs

How do we help our other kids thrive when we have to devote so much time and attention to our child with special needs? My husband and I have four kids ranging in age from eight years to two months. Our youngest son was born with Down syndrome, and as a family, we're doing our best to adjust. I am concerned, though, about the impact this might have on our older three children.

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Child's Friend Has Questionable Parent

Should I be nervous about letting my elementary-school-age daughter visit a friend's house? Normally I wouldn't hesitate to say "yes" since her friend is a sweet and respectful girl. Her father, however, seems overly eager for our daughter to come over. How should we evaluate and respond to this situation? Do you have any advice

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Child Says He Wants to Die

Should I be alarmed when my six-year-old son says to me that he wishes he were dead? He made this comment today and I was so shocked I didn't know what to say to him. What should I do?

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Deciding to Let an Adult Child Move Back Home

Before we agree to allow our adult child to move back in with us, are there some key things we ought to consider or any safeguards we need to put in place? Our thirty-year-old daughter has just completed drug rehab and we're giving careful thought to the option of letting her come back home until she gets turned around. We want to support her in any way we can, but we've also heard some horror stories about parents who were unable to get their child to leave after things went south. Do you think there's any danger of this in our case? What should we do?

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Connection Between Fatherlessness and Violence Among Boys

What's the relationship between fatherlessness and violent behavior among adolescent boys? I'm wondering about this because statistics show that an increasing number of children are growing up in homes where no father is present.

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Date Rape Prevention for Pre-Teen Daughters

How do I talk to my pre-teen daughter about the danger of date rape? I've heard date rape is becoming more common, and this worries me as a parent. My daughter is approaching adolescence, and I want to know what I can do to prevent her from becoming a victim. How should I bring this up? And what's the best and most effective way of discussing the subject with her?

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Doctor Visits and Exam Room Expectations for Parents of Teens

Should I insist on being in the exam room when my child visits a doctor? Recently I took my 14-year-old daughter to our family doctor for a check-up and was told by the office staff that I would need to stay out. To be honest, my husband and I are concerned about messages my daughter may receive, especially regarding sex, that may run counter to our Christian worldview.

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Emotional Instability, Domestic Violence, and Parenthood

Should we have kids if my spouse is emotionally unstable and has been physically abusive with me? We've been married for four years and are in our mid-thirties. My wife has become physically and verbally abusive with me on several occasions. We've seen counselors about this and other issues, but the problem persists. A trusted friend has advised me against bringing a child into our home under these circumstances. I very much want kids and don't know what to do. Can you help me?

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Explaining a Grandparent's Affair to Children

How do I tell my young children (ages eight, seven, and four) that their grandparents - my husband's mom and dad - are splitting up as a result of Grandpa's involvement with another woman? Since these grandparents live out of state, we only see them every three to four months or so. We don't plan to talk about the affair, but how do we explain that Grandma and Grandpa won't be together anymore?

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Explaining Marriage Problems to Young Children

How do we explain our marital troubles to our three-year-old son? My husband and I are temporarily separated and are attempting to work through our differences with the help of a counselor. We both feel it's important to remain apart for the time being because we're concerned that our constant fighting may have a negative impact on our son. Most of the time he lives with me, but once in a while he spends the night at my husband's apartment in town. Do you think we're doing the right thing? Is this kind of arrangement harmful to a child?

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How Can I Make Sure My Teenager Turns Out Right?

It's frightening to be a parent of teenagers today. I've been lying awake nights worrying about the challenges and temptations my kids face every day at school, in our neighborhood, on the streets, and in all kinds of social situations. Even the church youth group isn't immune to the influences of secular culture! Is there anything I can do to make sure that my teens stand firm and stay true to the values I've tried to instill in them?

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My Child Has Joined a Cult

Can you offer any guidance to parents whose child has recently become a member of a cult? Our family has been completely blindsided by this. We have no clue what our options are or what we ought to do, practically, legally, and otherwise. We really need your help!

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Mom and Dad Approach Discipline Differently

How can my husband and I get on the same page when it comes to child discipline? The classic differences between the distinctively male and female styles of child discipline – i.e., the dad who stresses rules and the mom who tries to understand and make appropriate allowances – are all too evident in our family. This has caused problems for my husband and me. He says that my tendency to extend grace and take circumstances into account is just "sentimental." As he sees it, our kids won't be prepared for life in the "real world" if we don't take a "firm hand" with them. How can we work together and learn to see the benefits of each other's approach?

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Motivating Adolescents to Succeed Academically

How can I help my 14-year-old son turn his grades around, especially when he doesn't see the need for getting assistance from me or anybody else? He's been falling behind in school and recently brought home 2 "Ds." I used to tutor him when he was younger, but for the last two years he's refused my help. Right now the only thing that seems to interest him is basketball. I really don't want to threaten taking that away, since it's the only extracurricular activity he has. If I do, I'm afraid he'll withdraw. We are very isolated from family and friends, too, but that's another story. Any suggestions or recommendations?

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