Parenting

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Special Needs of a Compliant Child

How is a mild-tempered, cooperative child likely to be impacted by the presence of a defiant and strong-willed sibling in the home? My oldest daughter is a model child – pleasant, cheerful, and agreeable. Her brother is the exact opposite. I may contact you about him some other time; believe me, there's plenty to say. But for the time being I can't help feeling concerned about the effects his behavior and personality may be having on his sister. What do I need to know about the unique needs of a quiet, compliant child?

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Bullying in the Family

Do you have any ideas on how to stop my older kids from picking on their younger brother? I intervene when I can, but all this bullying is causing the youngest one to play the victim, and I don't want to encourage him in that attitude. How do I handle this situation?

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Adopting an Abused Child

What do we need to know before adopting a child who has been abused? We're considering adopting a child under the age of 2 who was removed from his birth home due to abuse when only a few months old. He has been in the foster-care system for the past year. What kind of risks are we facing?

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Parents Dealing With Grief After Adolescent Child's Suicide

How can we possibly get past the guilt, shame, confusion, fear, and pain that have overtaken us in the wake of our teenage son's suicide? Not only are we blaming ourselves and wondering where we went wrong. We're also dealing with the toxic effect this is having on our entire family. Can you help us?

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Tools for Passing Faith on to Children

What tools does Focus on the Family make available for use in passing the Christian faith along to our kids?

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Setting Boundaries With a Mentally Ill Adult Child

How do we establish behavioral guidelines for a grown child who suffers from mental illness? Should our boundaries be the same as those we'd set up with any other child? Or do special considerations apply in a situation like this?

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Helping Kids Deal With Bullies

How can I tell if my child is having trouble with a bully? Are there any tell-tale signs? And if he is, how can I help him deal with the situation?

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Parents Sharing Past Moral Failings With Kids

How much do my children need to know about my past? I'm a strong Christian and a dedicated parent, but during adolescence and young adulthood there was a time when I chose to "walk on the wild side." Is there any reason to be completely open with them about the moral failings of my early life?

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Adjusting to the Challenge of Fatherhood

Do you have any suggestions for a new dad struggling to get used to the lifestyle changes that accompany the birth of an infant? I love our child very much, but whenever my wife asks me to help with the baby I become frustrated and angry, especially when I'm in the middle of something else. I know I'm being selfish, but how do I overcome it?

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Teen Falling Behind in School

What should we do about our teen's sudden academic struggles? He's always been an excellent student, but since entering high school his grades have dropped significantly. When we ask him what's going on, he just shrugs his shoulders and says, "My teachers don't like me." How can we get to the bottom of this?

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How to Talk to Kids About an Absent Dad

How do I answer my child's difficult questions about her absent father? I broke up with her dad almost eight years ago – when she was just a baby – and she has never met him. But lately she's been asking things like, "Do you still love Daddy?" and "Why doesn't he call – doesn't he love me? " and "Can I try to find him someday?" What do you think I should say?

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Parent Concerned About Tomboyish Tendencies in Daughter

Should I be worried that my daughter might be "transgendered" because she likes to dress and act like a boy and spends a lot of time playing sports with her dad? After watching a television talk show on this subject, I've begun to wonder whether there might be something more to her behavior than mere "tomboyishness." Do you think she needs counseling?

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Parental Pride vs. Sinful Pride

Is it wrong for me as a parent to feel proud of my child and to tell him so? I understand that, from a human perspective, it's normal and natural to feel this way. But as a Christian I know that the Bible has some very severe things to say about the sin of pride. I'm worried that I may be instilling a false and worldly value system into my son when I say, "I'm proud of you." What are your thoughts on this?

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Concerned About "Middle Child" Issues

Should I be worried about having a third child? My husband has concerns about what he calls "middle child syndrome." Do you think his misgivings are justified?

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Avoiding Extremes in Child Discipline

How do I know when my disciplinary methods have crossed an inappropriate line? I was disciplining my five-year-old last night and feel that I got out of control in the way I handled the situation. I'm terrified this morning that I may have gone too far. How can I know for sure? What should I do to prevent this from happening?

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Child Uses Profanity

How can I stop my child from swearing and using "dirty words?" It's a bad habit he's developed, and I've confronted him about this several times. But the problem only seems to be getting worse. I'm frustrated. Do you have any advice for me?

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Preschooler Is a Picky Eater

How can we get our finicky four-year-old to eat what we put in front of her? Her highly selective eating habits are driving us up the wall. We never allow between-meal snacks, yet dinnertime has become a major pain. I see this refusal to eat as disobedience, but my spouse is afraid that making an issue of it will lead to eating disorders down the road. What should we do?

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Teen Discipline Strategies

How useful are rules as guidelines for adolescents? As our children move into the teen years it's becoming more difficult and confusing to govern their behavior by this method. It certainly doesn't work the way it did when they were younger. For example, I can't get my middle son to keep his room clean no matter what penalties I impose for breaking the rule. Do you have any suggestions?

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Principles and Guidelines of Child Discipline

Can you suggest some basic, general guidelines on how to discipline children? We've just become parents and neither of us had positive role models growing up. We want to do a good job raising our child – what principles should we keep in mind when it comes to discipline?

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Infant Sleeping Arrangements and the "Family Bed"

What's your opinion of babies sleeping with their parents? A friend of mine believes that the so-called "Family Bed" is beneficial for every member of the household. She even claims that this practice can prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and provide other health benefits. Is she right?

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Questions About Spanking

What are your thoughts on corporal punishment as a method of child discipline? Do you think spanking is an appropriate and effective way to correct undesirable behavior? As first-time parents, we want to be certain that we're doing what's best for our child. Can you offer us some guidelines?

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Protecting Your Kids Against Drug Abuse

What can I do to "drug-proof" my home? I'm aware that drug abuse is a huge problem among adolescents, and I want to educate myself about this issue so that I can protect my own kids and prevent them from falling into this trap. How can I make sure that they're safe?

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Keeping Kids Away From Legalized Pot

How do I prevent my teenagers from using marijuana now that it's been decriminalized? My state recently passed a measure decriminalizing the possession and recreational use of pot. Needless to say, this is all very disturbing for me. As a parent who is fighting hard to keep my children on the straight and narrow, I can't help feeling as if the government has undermined my authority and left me without a leg to stand on. What do I do now?

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Adolescent Daughter Involved With an Older Man

Should we let our 16-year-old girl spend time with an older guy? He's 25 and very involved in our church praise band. For the last year he and my daughter have had a fun brother-sister type relationship. He's very likeable and held in high esteem at our church, but for some reason my mother's intuition has kept me on the alert. It's not that I don't trust him – it would be entirely different if they were the same age. Besides, my daughter constantly assures me that they are just friends. Should I be concerned?

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