Parenting

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Recovering Alcoholic Wants Relationship With Children

As a new Christian who is in the process of kicking a lifelong drinking habit, how can I restore my relationship with my children? A number of years ago my struggles with alcoholism finally destroyed my marriage and family. I really regret the mess I've made, but I've recently found the Lord and am currently in recovery. Now I'd like to reconnect with my kids, but they don't want anything to do with me. What should I do?

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Single-Parent Adoption

Should I, as a single parent, be thinking seriously about adopting another child? How does your ministry feel about this?

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Equipping Teens With a Christian Worldview

How can we help our adolescent son find biblical answers to his deep questions about social justice, the meaning of life, the existence of God, and his own purpose as an individual? We want to point him in the right direction on these important issues and equip him with a solid Christian worldview. Can you help us?

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Confronting Abusive Language Between Teen Boyfriend and Girlfriend

Am I being too sensitive about the put-downs and insults my daughter and her boyfriend toss back and forth at each other? She acts like it's no big deal, but I'm alarmed and don't consider this to be healthy behavior. What do you think?

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Dad Serving As Son's Sports Coach Is Causing Tension

How should I deal with the tension that has arisen between my child and his sports coach, who also happens to be his father? The season is starting up again, and I'm dreading the inevitable fights between them. My son doesn't want to disappoint his dad, but he's getting nothing out of this particular sport. What do you suggest?

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Angry Father, Angry Sons

How can I help our young sons control their tempers? My husband comes from a long line of "angry men," and I'm beginning to see the same tendency in our kids. What should I do?

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Children's Doubts About God

How can we help a young child who is struggling with his faith? Last night during our prayer time my young son tearfully confessed that he's having trouble believing in God. How should I address this?

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Compensating Kids for Chores

Is it appropriate to pay our school-aged children for doing household tasks? When I was growing up I always received an allowance, but my spouse says that kids need to work without being paid because that's part of being a family. What do you think?

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Raising Financially Responsible Kids

How can we help our kids become more responsible with their money? Can you suggest a workable budget plan that we can use to teach them the true value of a dollar?

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Toddler Throws Uncontrollable Tantrums

What should we do when our toddler explodes in a fit so violent that it's just about impossible to calm her down? She has always been strong-willed and prone to tantrums, but just recently there have been occasions when she has become so frustrated that her behavior has spiraled completely out of control. At such times she wildly hits everything and everyone within reach, including herself. What do you suggest?

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Too Much Parenting Advice From Well-Meaning Friends

Is there a way to get concerned friends and family members to back off and stop telling us how to raise our child? My spouse and I are new parents and are overwhelmed by all the tips we've been receiving. Sometimes people even contradict each other. I feel like telling them to mind their own business. Is that wrong?

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Helping a Toddler Adjust to a New Baby

How can we help our two-year-old get used to the idea of having a new baby sister? He whines and cries for Mommy all the time, and lately he's been misbehaving as a way of getting our attention. How can we help him feel loved and secure?

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Eliminating the Stress of Potty Training

Is potty training a child always such a difficult and challenging experience? We've been trying to potty-train our son since he turned two years old. So far we haven't had much success, and the stress level in our household is at an all-time high. After several months, we're still not making any progress. Is this normal?

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Handling the Fears of Kids Adopted From Hard Places

How can we help our six-year-old son, who we adopted, overcome his fears? He recently had a traumatic experience when he fell off a raft into the shallow water of the lake where he and his brother were playing. Now he says that he'll never go back in the water again. There's a part of me that thinks we need to get him back on the proverbial horse as soon as possible. At the same time, I'm keenly aware that he's had a long history of trauma and struggles with fear, and I wonder if that's the best approach for him. What do you think I should do?

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Easing the Transition for a Child Who's Been Adopted

How do we smooth the adjustment process for our child who is newly adopted? We returned home with our child (adopted internationally) about three weeks ago. Though she's nearly ten months old, she still isn't sleeping through the night. When she's awake, she's cranky and irritable and cries all the time. Frankly, this is making it very difficult for us to feel connected to her, and we're growing frustrated and tired. What are we doing wrong? How can we get things on the right track?

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Maintaining Holiday Traditions While Mom and Dad Are Separated

Should my husband and I spend Christmas morning together with the kids at his parents' house in spite of the fact that we've been separated for four months? He said he wants me to come because he's hoping to be present next year when it's my turn to have the kids on Christmas morning. Although I'd love to see my girls open their presents, I'm afraid this will send them mixed messages about the marital problems they know we're experiencing. What do you think is the right choice for my children?

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Parent Concerned About Kids' Vulnerability to Human Trafficking

Do you think there's any danger of my kids becoming victims of sexual exploitation? I've never been a big believer in overly tight controls for my teenagers. My feeling has always been that they should have an increasing amount of independence at this stage of their development. I don't enforce strict curfews or ask a lot of questions when they come in late at night. But recently I read an article about sexual "slavery" and human trafficking in our community and it just about made my hair stand on end. Am I overreacting?

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Risk Factors for Teen Premarital Sex

How can I know if my teen is likely to engage in premarital sex? My spouse and I have tried to raise our kids in the right way, but we're keenly aware that the culture is working against us. Promiscuity is fashionable nowadays and sexual temptations are everywhere. How can we guard against it? Are there any particular risk factors we should watch out for as we try to guide our teenager through this challenging phase of the growing up process?

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Potty Training a Child With Down Syndrome

Can a toddler with Down syndrome be taught to use the toilet? Given my son's special developmental and mental challenges, I'm not sure whether he has the capacity to understand what I'm asking of him. I'd really appreciate any practical advice you might be able to offer.

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Toddler Restless at Night

Do you have any suggestions for getting a 2-year-old to go to bed and stay there? It's a miserable struggle at our house because our son fights us every step of the way. When he does finally get to sleep, it's not unusual for him to be up several times during the night, requesting water or a snack or begging to be allowed to sleep in our bed. We're at our wits' end!

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Facts About Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

What exactly is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and what are its causes? Is there anything I can do to reduce the risk of losing my baby to this mysterious killer?

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Controlling a Wandering Toddler

How can I make sure that my three-year-old daughter won't slip away from me when we're in public places? I have to watch her like a hawk because she continually wanders off. It doesn't matter where we are – playground, pool, beach, grocery store, or mall. She simply will not stay with me. I recently lost her – only for a minute, but it was the worst minute of my life! I really don't know what to do about this. I've spanked her, taken things away, tried to explain that she might get lost or that someone might take her – you name it. So far nothing has worked. Will she grow out of this? Please help!

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Disciplining a Child Who "Runs Away"

How do we deal with a small child who takes off and has to be chased down every time he misbehaves and suspects that he's about to be punished? He tends to run away whenever any kind of problem surfaces, and we have to run after him just to talk to him, let alone correct his behavior. Is this normal? How should we respond?

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Child Is Afraid of the Devil

How can I calm my child's fears of Satan? Over the past few months my five-year-old has become obsessed with this subject. She's always asking questions about the devil, and she seems terribly afraid of what he might do to her. She goes to Sunday school, and we pray and read the Bible together every day. So far, none of this seems to help. I've done my best to reassure her, but I have to admit that I don't know much about the devil myself. Can you tell me exactly what Scripture has to say about him?

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