Parenting

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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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Modesty in the Home

When should my husband and I stop showering with our toddler-age children and changing clothes in front of them? Can you give us some guidelines for modesty in the home?

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Healthy Family Humor

How can we enjoy the lighter side of life and encourage laughter in our home but do it in an appropriate and edifying way? Many of our friends find amusement in things that I personally consider offensive. Can you suggest any helpful guidelines for healthy humor within the family?

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"Teasing" in the Family

Is it unhealthy to poke fun at ourselves and tease other family members? We've always enjoyed laughing together at our house, and sometimes that includes what some people refer to as "teasing." Friends of ours have expressed concern that we may be fostering an "unsafe" environment that doesn't promote respectful relationships. Do you think there's a problem with this kind of humor?

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Encouraging Your Child's Sense of Humor

How do we help a child who seems to have no sense of humor? Except for our oldest son, who will soon be entering middle school, our entire family has always enjoyed the lighter side of things. Our younger kids are full of fun, and laughter regularly fills our home. By way of contrast, their big brother never seems to be amused by anything. He's always very serious-minded. I thought it was a phase that would pass, but to this day I can count on one hand the number of times we've heard him laugh. I'm concerned about how this will affect him socially. Even more importantly, I want him to enjoy life. Am I right to be concerned? Are there things we can do to encourage and help develop a sense of humor in him?

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Modesty and Clothing Battles Between Parents and Teens

How do I handle conflicts over clothes and fashion with my teen daughter? This is becoming a real battleground at our house. She insists on wearing outfits that are inappropriate, immodest, and revealing. I won't even begin to tell you what we go through when it's time to shop for bathing suits. What can I do?

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Dealing With a Teen Who Says Parents Don't Listen

How should we respond to our teenager when he claims that we don't care about what he has to say? We do try to give him our full attention whenever he talks to us, but he still complains that we're not listening. We don't think his accusations are fair, but we also want him to know that his concerns are important to us. How should we respond?

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Stopping a Toddler From Hitting

How can I keep my 2-year-old daughter from "beating up" on her 10-month-old brother? She kicks him, punches him, bites him, screams at him, and whacks him with toys. It all began when he started crawling. This kind of thing goes on every day, several times a day. We've done everything we can think of to stop the behavior, but so far nothing seems to work. Do you have any suggestions or advice?

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Teaching Kids the Meaning of Prayer

How can I help my 7-year-old daughter understand the proper use of prayer? I've tried to teach her that talking to God is simply a way of staying close to Him, but lately she's been using prayer to ask for everything she wants, such as getting a new toy, going to the movies, or winning a game she's playing with her friends. I don't want to put a damper on her faith, but at the same time I don't want her to misuse prayer. What should I say to her?

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The Benefits of Family Mealtimes and How to Make Them Happen

Is it important for families to eat together? Everyone in our household is busy with outside activities – school sports, church youth group outings, committee meetings, late nights at the office, ballet lessons, band practice, etc., etc. We rarely have time to sit down at the dinner table together. Meals are usually squeezed into the brief moments between other commitments and eaten on the run. Is this a problem? If so, what do you think we should do about it?

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Girls and Women Wearing Pants

Should I let my teenage girls wear pants? I was raised in a conservative Christian home where modesty in behavior and clothing were always stressed as matters of the highest importance for young girls. In particular, my mother made sure I understood that women should never wear pants, since "A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God" (Deuteronomy 22:5). Nowadays women wear pants all the time - not only around the house or in the yard but even at church. I find this extremely upsetting and confusing. How do I teach my teenage daughters to dress appropriately in a society like this?

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Husband Tired of Wife's Criticism over His Lack of Help With Kids

Is there some way to get my wife to stop complaining about the job I'm doing as a parent? I'm a young dad who's struggling to be a good husband and father, but no matter what I do my wife tells me that I'm not pulling my weight. If you ask me, I spend a lot of time with my kids. Every night when I come home I get down on the floor and play with them. I like to wrestle with my two-year-old son. But she expects me to do things I don't know how to do and never thought of doing – things like getting meals and changing diapers. I'm getting tired of her complaining. What should I do?

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Young Child Fondles Genitals

Is it unusual, abnormal or immoral for my child to be touching or playing with his genitals? I've caught him at it several times at home, and once it even happened in public. What should I do?

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Shy and Introverted Adolescent

What should I do if I fear my teenage son may be too withdrawn? When he was younger we thought it was just a phase and assumed he would gain more confidence as he matured and interacted more with his peers. So far those expectations haven't panned out. He doesn't seem to have any interest in developing relationships with friends his own age (or with anyone else in the family, for that matter). He spends most of his time alone with the television, his computer, or video games. What are we up against and how should we deal with it?

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Dads and Moody Teenage Daughters

As a father, what can I do to improve my relationship with an emotionally erratic adolescent girl? This past year has been difficult for me. I've watched my daughter make the transformation from a kind, joyful, cooperative little girl to a sullen, argumentative, hard-to-get-along-with teen. Our relationship used to be a source of enjoyment for me. Now it's just difficult. How can I turn this situation around?

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Understanding Teen Cutting

How should I respond to my adolescent daughter's cutting habit? I only recently discovered that she's been cutting herself. I've tried to let her know much this concerns me. I've even requested that she let me "monitor" the situation. But she is very sensitive and perceives this as criticism and lack of trust. I promised I wouldn't pry anymore, but I did ask her to talk to me whenever she feels compelled to cut herself. Do you think we can work this out between ourselves? Or is that a naive assumption?

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Teens Taking a Year Off Before College

Do you think it's a good idea for our son to wait a year after graduating from high school before enrolling at the university? He's very responsible in a number of ways, but we're concerned about him losing momentum. What should we do?

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Dealing With an Uncooperative School-Age Child

Is there a way to put a stop to the constant state of conflict I'm in with my school age child? I'm spending a lot of time trying to promote harmony and maintain a little order in our home, but when I ask my son to pitch in, I get either passive indifference or outright rebellion. Is there a way to break this negative pattern?

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Parent Concerned About Teen Masturbation

How should parents approach an adolescent who is involved in sexual self-gratification? Without going into details, I can tell you that I have good reason to suppose that my teenager has been masturbating. Needless to say, this is extremely upsetting to me. I'm worried about my child's spiritual condition, and I have no idea what to say or how to deal with the problem. Can you help me?

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