Parenting

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Our Son Is Marrying a Non-Christian

As Christian parents, should we attend our son's wedding if he's marrying an non-believer? Over the more than twenty years of our marriage we've worked hard to raise him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Now, to our great disappointment, he has made a decision to marry a non-Christian. We love our child, but we also consider this a question of conscience and faithfulness to biblical principles. In light of what Scripture says about being "unequally yoked," should we lend our support by attending the wedding?

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Instilling a Sense of Respect in Teenagers

How can I get my adolescent son to see that it's important to show appropriate regard for other people? He has developed what I consider a "smart-alecky" or "mouthy" way of responding to other members of the family. Last night, when I asked him to take out the trash, he said, "I'll do it later, Mom." That kind of disrespectful attitude really bothers me. Any ideas for confronting and changing this behavior? Should we address this issue in our house rules?

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Teens and Mandatory Church Attendance

Should we force our adolescent son to attend church with us? He used to enjoy it, but now has no interest in going at all. We want to respect his independence and give him the freedom to make age-appropriate decisions for himself, but it also worries us to think that he may be drifting away from his faith. What should we do?

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Separation Anxiety in Infants

What can we do about a baby who starts screaming uncontrollably the minute we leave the room or put him down for five minutes? Rocking, soothing, noise makers, sleeping with us – nothing seems to help. My wife has been forced to take him to work with her, but she can't get anything accomplished. What's the answer?

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Child Wets Pants When Angry

What can we do about a child who urinates on herself when something upsets her? She's well past the age of potty training, but she wets her pants every time she gets angry. We've been making her hand-wash her clothes when this happens, but so far the behavior hasn't stopped. What can we do?

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Talking to Kids About an Unfaithful and Absent Spouse

Should I tell my kids the truth about why their father doesn't live with us anymore? After becoming involved in an adulterous affair, he left me and moved in with the "other woman." My children are confused because their dad has been lying to them about where he's living and the reasons for our separation. How should I handle their questions?

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Child Has a Problem With Truthfulness

How can I get my daughter to stop lying? I catch her inventing "tall tales" all the time at home, and now she's complaining that the kids at school don't believe anything she says. Does she simply have a great imagination, or is this a serious problem?

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Preschooler Is Afraid of the Dark

How can we help our four-year-old overcome her fears about going to sleep in the dark? We've tried everything – an established bed-time, a night-light in the bedroom, books, prayers, songs – but nothing seems to help. Can we doing anything to address these night-time fears?

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Telling a Child That She Was Adopted

When and how should we tell our child about her adoption into our family? What's the best and most sensitive way to approach the subject?

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My Spouse Verbally and Emotionally Abuses Our Children

My husband has never physically harmed me or the kids, but he constantly subjects our children to mean-spirited put-downs. For example, he tells them that they're stupid and lazy. He demeans my son's athletic abilities. He tells my daughter that she's ugly and needs to lose weight. The children try to ignore him and put a brave face on the situation. But I can tell that the constant criticism and mind games are wearing on their self-esteem and making their lives miserable. I want to help them, but I also want to be a good submissive wife. I also worry about how he may react if I challenge him. What can I do?

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Natural Disasters and Children's Faith

How do I handle my children's questions about God in the midst of disaster and trauma? Over the past month our community has been devastated by a terrible flood. The physical impact of this disaster has been overwhelming, of course. But I'm also deeply concerned about what it may be doing to my children's faith in God. So far, we haven't talked a great deal about this aspect of our situation, but I can tell that they're shaken. In their own way, they're wrestling with the deeper spiritual questions these events bring up. How can I help?

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Child Is Afraid of Being Alone

How should we handle our eight-year-old son's strong aversion to being by himself? He sleeps in the same room with his younger sister because he doesn't want to be alone. He won't play in his room or in the basement unless someone else is there. The last time he tried, he suffered a panic attack (sweating and shortness of breath). He's very intelligent, does well in school, plays piano, drums, and baseball, and has many friends. He has never experienced any kind of trauma and my wife and I have a good relationship. What's going on?

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Dealing With Childish Irresponsibility

How should I discipline a pre-teen whose behavior is characterized by a serious lack of maturity? He's not disobedient or defiant – just irresponsible. For example, he doesn't put things away. He leaves his bike out in the front yard where it could easily be stolen, and I'm constantly tripping over his clothes, shoes, and toys. What can be done about this?

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Parents Concerned About Too Much Homework

What should I do if my elementary school child is getting so much homework that family time hardly exists and he has little energy for anything else? He spends hours on his assignments every night. As far as I can see, he isn't slow at completing his tasks. There's just too much to do! Is all this homework really necessary for effective learning and healthy childhood development?

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Helping Teens Overcome Obesity

How can we encourage our overweight teenager to shed his excess pounds and shift his lifestyle and eating habits in a more healthy direction?

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Divorced Dad: Child Doesn't Like New Girlfriend

How can I overcome my child's aversion to my girlfriend? I'm the father of a wonderful six-year-old boy. His mother divorced me when he was about three, and has since remarried. At present, she has primary custody and I have visitation rights. My son doesn't like to "share" me with anyone else and this has created a serious problem for me in my own social life. I even had to end an earlier relationship because he disliked the woman I was dating so intensely. Now I'm getting serious about another woman and am not exactly sure what I should do. Can you give me any advice?

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Child Obsessed with "Bad Guys"

How should I respond to my child's fascination with evil characters? He's only three years old, but whenever he plays make-believe, he always takes on the role of the villain, and the only action-figures toys he wants are those representing "bad guys." In response, we've completely phased movies and television out of his life, but nothing has changed. Is this fascination unhealthy? How should we address it?

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Religious "Indoctrination" of Children

Is it wrong to tell children what they should believe about God? Isn't that a form of "indoctrination?" I'm thinking it's better to allow kids to make up their own minds.

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Unmarried Mom With Kids Feels "Second Class" Around Christians

How does your ministry view unmarried moms and their kids? I'm raising a couple of kids on my own. Up to this point my search for a church home hasn't been too encouraging – I get a strong impression that some Christians don't approve of women like me and our "illegitimate" children. What's your perspective?

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Suspicions of Babysitter Abuse

How can we tell if a babysitter has acted inappropriately with our kids? It's painful even to think about this, but we have reasons for suspecting that our babysitter may have abused our young child. What would you suggest we do in such a case? Are there "red flags" or tell-tale signs that we should look for?

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Divorce and Its Impact on Children

How does divorce affect kids? We're in the process of getting a divorce, and it seems to be taking a heavy toll on the entire family. Our kids have been acting out in a wide variety of ways. Some of their behavior has been so extreme that I'm becoming seriously concerned about them. What's considered "normal" in a situation like this? What can be done to address the problem?

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Helping a Married Child Financially

Should parents come to the rescue when grown and married children need monetary assistance? Our daughter and her husband are struggling, and we'd like to help them out. But we don't want to set an unhealthy precedent or cross a boundary. How do you think we should handle this?

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Summer Employment for Kids

At what age do you recommend that a child start a summer job?

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Distance In Relationship With Grown Child

Is it normal for married adult children to become disconnected from their parents? There's a coldness, distance, and separation that's crept into my relationship with my adult daughter, and I think her spouse may have something to do with it. What have I done wrong? How do I show my concern and let her know how much I want to stay connected while also respecting their autonomy and giving them room to make their own decisions?

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