Parenting

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Telling Children About a Parent's Past Affair

Should we tell our children that their mother had an affair? We've traveled a rough road and are now on the other side of this painful episode. As a matter of fact, our marriage is stronger and happier than it's ever been. Our kids, however, know nothing about what's happened, and I'm concerned to protect my wife and preserve the children's good opinion of her. At the same time, I don't want them to find out about this from someone else. What should we do?

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Teens, Tattoos, and the Bible

Should we allow our adolescent to get a tattoo? Doesn't the Bible forbid them? Our 16-year-old wants to get one, but we've held off on any serious discussion of the matter, in part because we're so shocked that we don't know what to say. How should we, as responsible Christian parents, react to this request?

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The Effects and Impact of Divorce on Children

Will my divorce have any serious long-term effects on my kids? Our marriage has been very difficult, and I recently contacted a divorce attorney in order to discuss and explore my options. My children are still young – between 8 and 14and sometimes I become extremely depressed and anxious thinking about how the divorce is going to impact them. At other moments, however, I find encouragement in the thought that kids are extremely resilient and can bounce back from almost any kind of negative circumstance. Can you help me resolve this issue in my mind? Should I be concerned or not?

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Teaching Girls to Be Discerning About Relationships

How can we teach our girls to be more discerning about relationships? I understand that girls are more relational than boys, but sometimes I worry that my two "tween" daughters are over the top and out of control in this area. Honestly, they soak up new "friendships" like a sponge, seemingly without any discernment or intentionality. Is this normal for young girls? Should I be concerned?

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Talking With Teens About Dad's Same-Sex Extramarital Affair

Can you advise me as to how I should talk to my teenage kids about their dad's homosexual affair? I've just been informed that he's divorcing me and leaving the family for another man. That's bad enough, but what especially concerns me is the thought of how this is likely to impact my kids. I'm trying to figure out how to explain that their father won't be living with us anymore, and I'm worried that the whole same-sex aspect of the situation will complicate the discussion beyond my capacity to handle it. What should I tell them?

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Teaching a Boy About Marriage and Fatherhood

When should parents start talking with their sons about what it means to be a God-honoring husband and father? Our boy is still pretty young – not even in his teens yet – but we want to be sure to lay a strong foundation before it's too late. Should we wait until after puberty? Or would it be better to hold off even longer – perhaps until he's in his twenties?

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Teen Son Seems to "Protest" Chores by Breaking Things

What we do about a 14-year-old boy who ends up destroying something every time we require him to do a chore around the house? When asked to unload the dishwasher, he cracked a set of expensive glasses. When assigned to clear the driveway, he broke the snow shovel. We already know that he dislikes work of any kind. This feels like a form of passive-aggressive, rebellious "payback." We tell him he'll have to pay us back for the damages, but he's too far in debt to do anything about it. Any suggestions?

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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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Developing Healthy Self-Esteem in Children

What are some things I can do to help develop a healthy self-image in my children? I don't want them to grow up thinking the world revolves around them, but I do want to instill in them a proper sense of self-respect and of their own value as persons. How should I go about it?

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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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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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Approaches to Childrearing: Law vs. Grace

Should I raise my kids under a philosophy of law or grace? Since the Gospel is all about grace, doesn't this suggest that it's a mistake for Christian parents to raise their children according to a lot of rules and regulations? Paul even tells us, in Galatians 3:24, that the law was nothing but a "tutor to bring us to Christ." Should we teach our kids the difference between right and wrong or just help them to find Jesus?

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Adult Child Living at Home Disregards Parents' Standards

What kind of standards of conduct and behavior should parents impose upon an adult child living in their home? Our single 29-year-old daughter lives with us in separate quarters off of the main house. She knows how deeply we feel about marriage as the only appropriate context for sexual expression, but she's made a habit of having her boyfriend sleep over on a regular basis. I know I can't force her to change her behavior, and I don't want to lose the influence we have with her or hurt our relationship by making this an issue. But it does bother and concern us. What should we do?

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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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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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Boarding School for Missionary Children

What is your opinion of boarding school for children? I've always thought that they were destructive to families. But recently my spouse and I have received a call to serve as missionaries overseas, and apparently this arrangement is part of the deal. I'm not sure this is best for our children and our family, but we don't want to forsake our responsibility to share the Gospel either. Any advice?

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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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Providing Freedom to and Protection for Your Child

How do I grant my child increasing freedom without being too permissive? Or, to put it another way, how do I keep her safe without being overprotective? I have a twelve-year-old who keeps telling me that she's old enough to go places by herself. For example, she wants to be able to ride her bike to the store, or to school (it's two miles away), or up the street to a friend's house. I'd like to accommodate her wishes as much as possible, but at the same time I'm keenly aware that the world is a far more dangerous place than it was when I was growing up. Any advice?

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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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