Parenting

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Dealing With a Child's Night Terrors

Do you have any advice for handling toddler who wanders into our room in the middle of the night screaming, moaning, thrashing wildly, and jabbering incoherently? He doesn't seem to know us when these Night Terrors get a grip of him. When we try to comfort him, he just pushes us away. Is there anything we can do to help him?

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Helping a Shy Preschooler Become More Confident

How can I encourage my bashful preschooler to open up and break out of his shell? He's soft-spoken, reserved, and afraid of walking into a room full of people. He used to cry when we'd take him to the church nursery, and now he resists being left at his daycare center. Is there something we can do to make it easier for him to interact with others?

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Children and Violence in the News

Can the nightly news reports about war, murder, rape, and urban gang activity have a negative effect on kids? I try not to let my children watch too much of this, but sometimes it's unavoidable. Am I right to be concerned?

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Talking to a Young Child About Sex

At what age should I begin teaching my child about the "facts of life?" He's still small – in fact, I would have assumed that he's not old enough for "the talk" yet. The problem is that he's already been hearing a lot about the subject. It's obvious that he has picked up certain words from television and other kids in the neighborhood. All things considered, I'd rather that he heard it from me first. Any suggestions?

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Infant Resists Sleep

Can you share any ideas for getting a newborn to sleep? For some reason, our baby fights to stay awake, especially when we put her in the crib or bassinet. The only place that isn't problematic is the cradle swing, and the only time things go smoothly is after a late-night feeding. How should we handle this?

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Depression During a Pregnancy

I've heard a lot about the post-partum blues, but is it normal to be feeling emotionally down before the baby arrives? I'm currently about three-quarters of the way through my pregnancy, and lately I've been very low and sad. Is there anything I can do about this?

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Single Parent Desires Help and Companionship

As a single mom with three young children, is it okay for me to want another person around to help carry the load? I used to feel pretty self-sufficient, but the burden of doing it all by myself is getting heavier. I work full time, take online college courses, and I'm active in church. Do you have any advice for someone in my situation?

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Grown Child in Difficult Marriage After Cohabitation

How can I help my grown-up son who is in an unhappy marriage after living with his wife for several years prior to the wedding? It's a difficult and complicated situation, and lately he's been talking about getting a divorce. Is there any way I can reach out to this young couple?

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Dealing With Sibling Rivalry

What should I do about the constant fighting that goes on between my daughters? Our house is the scene of perpetual sibling battles. My mother says I should intervene, but my husband thinks this is normal for kids their age. Should I be worried?

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Disciplining an Uncooperative Child

How can I get my child to obey and do as he's told? Our young son is defiant and talks back. He won't do his homework and refuses to clean his room. When we try to discuss these issues with him in a calm, mature way, we usually end up getting angry and yelling at him. What are we doing wrong?

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Dealing With a Grown Child Who Is Unemployed and Living at Home

How do we deal with an adult child who has no job, is living in our basement, and drawing heavily on our financial resources? My husband and I can't agree on the best way to handle this situation, and it's becoming a real strain on our relationship. What should we do?

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Evaluating Your Child for School Readiness

How can we assess whether or not our child is ready to start school? Can you suggest any basic guidelines?

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Church Youth Group Emphasis

Should a church youth group be social or spiritual in focus? We're involved in a heated dispute about this at our church. There are two schools of thought. One group thinks that a high school youth group should be primarily spiritual in emphasis, focusing on Bible study, prayer, and outreach or service projects. The rest of us feel that this may be too much, since the kids are already participating in Sunday school and worship services. We'd rather see the weekday youth group organized around social activities, such as mini-golf outings, volleyball games, coffee house gatherings, and time to "hang out" with other Christian teens. The "spiritual" crowd is giving us a lot of flak about this. Is it wrong for a church youth group to be primarily social in purpose?

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Personality Change in a Pre-Teen Boy

How do we deal with an unhappy and contrary pubescent boy? Our ten-year-old son has just hit puberty, and it seems to have drastically altered his personality. He went from a generally happy little boy who laughed all the time to a miserable pre-teen who is always fighting with someone – my wife and me, his siblings, his teachers, his friends, you name it. What do you suggest we do about it?

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Kids and Gun Safety

Should we keep firearms in the house while raising young children? I've always considered this a wise security measure. So did my father and grandfather. From my perspective, it's a question of protecting my family against intruders and other dangers. My wife disagrees. She says it's unsafe to have kids and guns in the same place at the same time. What do you think?

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What the Bible Says About the "Age of Accountability"

At what point does a child become personally responsible for his or her actions before God? This is not just an academic question; as I see it, your answer will affect how I choose to discipline my children. I know that we're all born with an inherited sin nature, but I'm not sure what the Bible teaches about the "age of accountability?" Is it right to think of childish selfishness or defiance as "sin" in the full sense of the word? Where can I find some scriptural guidance on this subject?

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Father-Daughter Conflict

How can I make peace between my husband and our teenage daughter? Every day when he picks her up from school he either starts a fight or delivers a lecture about how she's not measuring up academically. Then she calls me, angry or in tears. Grades have always been a problem for our daughter, and I understand that we need to do everything we can to encourage her to stay on top of her schoolwork. But at this point her dad is just making her feel like she's not "good enough." Can you help me?

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Helping Children Cope Emotionally After Traumatic Events and Experiences

How can I make sure that my children will recover from the emotional impact of disaster and trauma? I'm especially concerned about the long-term effects. Over the past month our community has been devastated by a terrible flood. The impact to my family has included the loss of our home, interruption of work and school, loss of income, physical deprivation, and overwhelming anxiety about the future. The immediate danger is past, but I realize that we're going to be coping with the emotional and psychological effects of this disaster for a long time to come. How can I help my kids get beyond this traumatic experience?

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Preparing Your Toddler for a New Baby

How can we prepare our child for the arrival of a new baby? I've heard some horror stories about this type of situation, and I'd like to avoid trouble if possible. What can my spouse and I do to ease the transition for him?

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Dad Fears Young Son Is Becoming a Mama's Boy

Can you help me figure out if my five-year-old son is overly attached to his mother? There are some days when it seems almost impossible to separate him from her. When we ride in the car, he insists that she sit in the back seat with him. Only mama can clean him up when he makes a mess, and only mama is allowed to read him a bedtime story. I do get some meaningful interaction with him on weekends when there's more time to play and do boy things together. But I'm beginning to wonder if he'll ever outgrow this phase of clinging to mom.

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Dealing With a Romantic Rivalry Between Siblings

How do we stop our two teenage sons from fighting over a girl? What should we do? The sixteen-year-old, who has always been more outgoing than his brother, has struck up a "friendship" with a girl our seventeen-year-old has liked for over a year. This kind of thing has happened before, though it's always been with male friends in the past. The older brother accuses the younger of stealing all his friends and says he hates him. The younger brother doesn't care-he says people are free to associate with anyone they choose. Should we let them fight it out? Restrict the sixteen-year-old's access to this girl? Or tell the seventeen-year-old to grow up and live with it?

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Child Seems to Sleep Too Much

Should I be concerned about my six-year-old sleeping too much? She does not want to wake up in the morning, even though she goes to bed early and sleeps through the night? Is this normal? Do you have any suggestions?

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Understanding the Sexual Pressures Teens Are Facing

Why are so many teens making bad sexual choices? This worries me because I have teenage kids of my own and I'm anxious to help them avoid serious mistakes in this area. Can you help me get a better handle on teenage attitudes about sex?

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Defusing Sibling Rivalry With Love

How do we discourage sibling rivalry and introduce a more loving and cooperative atmosphere into our home? I know this behavior is normal up to a point, but I can't help feeling that there are moments when it verges on becoming seriously destructive. What can my spouse and I do to teach brotherly love?

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