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 17-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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Husband and Father Involved in Same-Sex Extramarital Affair

How do I tell my two school-age children that their daddy has left us for another man? Losing my husband has been devastating, as you can imagine, but I'm also concerned and burdened for my kids. I haven't told them anything yet. It's hard enough to have to explain that their father is gone, and I'm afraid the whole same-sex aspect of the situation will only exacerbate their pain and confusion. How do I help them understand and cope?

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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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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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Kids and Entertainment: Teaching Discernment

How can I help my kids make wise media choices? I'm extremely frustrated with the growing toxicity of so-called "entertainment," but short of moving to the Amazon jungle or the middle of the Sahara desert, I can't completely shield my children from all of it. It seems the only answer is to equip them to analyze standard media fare in a thoughtful, Christian way. Can you help me do that?

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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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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 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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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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Helping a Teen Girl Become a Woman

What can my husband and I do to help our teenage girl become the woman God wants her to be? In this gender-bending society, we're especially concerned to make sure that she retains her femininity while also growing up to be a strong, well-adjusted, self-sufficient adult. Any suggestions?

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Helping a Teen Boy Become a Man

What can my husband and I do to help our teenage son become the man God wants him to be? In some ways he seems to be afraid of adulthood, manhood, and everything that goes along with it, and we'd like to get him over that hump. At the same time, we don't want him to become an arrogant "macho man." How do we strike the right balance?

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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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Gentle and Sensitive Boy

Is it okay for a boy to be gentle and sensitive? Our two young sons couldn't be more different. The oldest is a typical boy – loud and in perpetual motion. His four-year-old brother, however, is so quiet I hardly know he's around. While our oldest son and his dad spend hours on end rough-housing together, the younger prefers to be off in a corner drawing or outside gathering flowers. Is this something I should be worried about?

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Talking to Kids About the Suicide of an Adult Relative

What should we say to our children about the suicide of my father-in-law (their grandfather)? It happened about four years ago. At the time our kids were very young and my wife and I simply told them that Grandpa died because he was sick and elderly without providing any further details. Our two oldest are twelve and nine now, and they want to know more. What would you advise?

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Talking to Children About Tragic Events

As a parent, how should I deal with my children when mass shootings, natural disasters, and other tragic events involving loss of life occur? Should I do my best to shield them from this information – an almost impossible task in the face of today's constant news media cycle? Or should I try to talk to them about it?

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Sleeping Arrangements on a Family Vacation

Do you think it's appropriate for a fourteen-year-old boy to sleep in the same bed with his eleven-year-old sister? Here's why I ask. Our family is taking a two-week vacation before school starts. At each of our planned stops, my wife and I and our two kids will be sharing a single room with two queen-sized beds. To be honest with you, I don't like the idea of sleeping apart from my wife for two whole weeks. Is it okay to let the kids sleep together?

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Limiting Kids' Use of Video Games

How do I know if my son is spending too much time playing online computer games? If I let him, I think he would waste all of his waking hours doing this. I'm concerned about the Internet horror stories I've heard, and I wish I could broaden his interests. Do you have any suggestions?

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Helping Kids Carry Parental Values Into Adulthood

How can I instill a solid Christian character into my child? Most of the parenting materials I've seen have a great deal to say about discipline, mental and emotional health, obedience and order in the home. Unfortunately, there isn't much out there on the subject of character development, especially from a Christian perspective. Do you have any suggestions?

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Correcting Your Child's Bullying Behavior

How can we prevent our seven-year-old son from becoming a bully? I've noticed that he can be very pushy and often tries to dominate other kids. He always wants to be the "winner" — it's as if he has a need to prove himself. When provoked, he retaliates fiercely and has hurt other kids in the past. He's small for his age and is generally very popular at school, but I wonder how long that will last.

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Correcting Your Preschool Child's Bullying Behavior

How can we stop our preschooler from bullying other kids? Our 4-year-old is a bright and loving child, but he's also quite strong willed. His teachers have already talked to us several times about his uncooperative behavior — interrupting, ignoring instructions, etc. But now something more serious has happened. He recently pushed one student to the ground and hit two others. His only explanation was that these boys weren't his friends and weren't doing what he wanted! We don't allow this kind of behavior at home, but how can we make sure that he'll follow our instructions when Mom and Dad are not around?

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Guidelines for Attending Worship With Children

At what age do you recommend that we start introducing our child to the worship service at church? What's the best way to go about it?

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Teen Is Disrespectful but Wants Respect

As parents, how should we deal with a dismissive and smart-alecky adolescent? Our son says that we don't treat him with respect, but from my perspective the shoe is actually on the other foot – his behavior towards us is extremely disrespectful. What can we do to resolve this conflict?

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