Parenting

Answer

Recognizing and Confronting Adolescent Eating Disorders

How can I know if my daughter is anorexic or bulimic? She's lost a great deal of weight over the past few months, and she's become extremely thin. What should I do if I find out she has a serious eating disorder?

Read more

Answer

Christians and Concerns About Halloween

Should Christians participate in Halloween by allowing their kids to attend costume parties and go trick-or-treating? We have serious problems with this, but all the other families in our neighborhood go all out in celebrating the holiday. Our kids feel left out if we don't allow them to join in. What do you think we should do?

Read more

Answer

Husband Won't Help With the Kids

How can I encourage my husband to take the responsibilities of parenthood more seriously and get involved more directly with our children? He likes the "fun" part of raising kids - for instance, he's great at getting down on the floor and "wrestling" with our toddler. But when it comes to the practical side of being a dad, I don't think he's pulling his weight.

Read more

Answer

Teenage Child Is Questioning Faith

Can you help us with our adolescent daughter who is having doubts about God? She has been raised in a solid Christian home, and her faith has always been very important to her. But recently she seems to be struggling with doubt. Last week she asked me how Christians can be sure they're right when there are so many other religions in the world. I answered by quoting Hebrews 11:6-"Without faith it is impossible to please God"-and Proverbs 3:5-"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." This didn't seem to satisfy her. Can you help?

Read more

Answer

Parents Concerned About Young Kids Interacting With Gay Neighbors

A lesbian couple with young children recently moved in a couple of houses down the block. Our kids have struck up a friendship with their kids, and I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to handle the situation. I want to teach my kids to be loving and accepting of the children. At the same time, I'd like to be able to explain the moral issues surrounding the parents' relationship. How can I protect my children while also engaging this family for the sake of Christ?

Read more

Answer

Talking With Kids About Abortion and Homosexuality

At what age should I start discussing topics like abortion and homosexuality with my children? They're still in elementary school, and I have no wish to violate their innocence any earlier than I have to. At the same time, I'm also aware that they've probably already encountered talk about these subjects. As I'm sure you can understand, I'd rather that they get their information from me than from the kids down the block or some other source. When should that begin?

Read more

Answer

Helping a Teen Girl Become a Woman

What can my husband and I do to help our teenage girl become the woman God wants her to be? In this gender-bending society, we're especially concerned to make sure that she retains her femininity while also growing up to be a strong, well-adjusted, self-sufficient adult. Any suggestions?

Read more

Answer

Helping a Teen Boy Become a Man

What can my husband and I do to help our teenage son become the man God wants him to be? In some ways he seems to be afraid of adulthood, manhood, and everything that goes along with it, and we'd like to get him over that hump. At the same time, we don't want him to become an arrogant "macho man." How do we strike the right balance?

Read more

Answer

Gentle and Sensitive Boy

Is it okay for a boy to be gentle and sensitive? Our two young sons couldn't be more different. The oldest is a typical boy - loud and in perpetual motion. His four-year-old brother, however, is so quiet I hardly know he's around. While our oldest son and his dad spend hours on end rough-housing together, the younger prefers to be off in a corner drawing or outside gathering flowers. Is this something I should be worried about?

Read more

Answer

Talking to Kids About the Suicide of an Adult Relative

What should we say to our children about the suicide of my father-in-law (their grandfather)? It happened about four years ago. At the time our kids were very young and my wife and I simply told them that Grandpa died because he was sick and elderly without providing any further details. Our two oldest are twelve and nine now, and they want to know more. What would you advise?

Read more

Answer

Talking to Children About Tragic Events

As a parent, how should I deal with my children when mass shootings, natural disasters, and other tragic events involving loss of life occur? Should I do my best to shield them from this information - an almost impossible task in the face of today's constant news media cycle? Or should I try to talk to them about it?

Read more

Answer

Sleeping Arrangements on a Family Vacation

Do you think it's appropriate for a fourteen-year-old boy to sleep in the same bed with his eleven-year-old sister? Here's why I ask. Our family is taking a two-week vacation before school starts. At each of our planned stops, my wife and I and our two kids will be sharing a single room with two queen-sized beds. To be honest with you, I don't like the idea of sleeping apart from my wife for two whole weeks. Is it okay to let the kids sleep together?

Read more

Answer

Teens, Tattoos, and the Bible

Should we allow our adolescent to get a tattoo? Doesn't the Bible forbid them? Our 16-year-old wants to get one, but we've held off on any serious discussion of the matter, in part because we're so shocked that we don't know what to say. How should we, as responsible Christian parents, react to this request?

Read more

Answer

Telling Children About A Parent's Past Affair

Should we tell our children that their mother had an affair? We've traveled a rough road and are now on the other side of this painful episode. As a matter of fact, our marriage is stronger and happier than it's ever been. Our kids, however, know nothing about what's happened, and I'm concerned to protect my wife and preserve the children's good opinion of her. At the same time, I don't want them to find out about this from someone else. What should we do?

Read more

Answer

The Effects and Impact of Divorce on Children

Will my divorce have any serious long-term effects on my kids? Our marriage has been very difficult, and I recently contacted a divorce attorney in order to discuss and explore my options. My children are still young—between eight and fourteen years old—and sometimes I become extremely depressed and anxious thinking about how the divorce is going to impact them. At other moments, however, I find encouragement in the thought that kids are extremely resilient and can bounce back from almost any kind of negative circumstance. Can you help me resolve this issue in my mind? Should I be concerned or not?

Read more

Answer

Teaching Girls to Be Discerning About Relationships

How can we teach our girls to be more discerning about relationships? I understand that girls are more relational than boys, but sometimes I worry that my two "tween" daughters are over the top and out of control in this area. Honestly, they soak up new "friendships" like a sponge, seemingly without any discernment or intentionality. Is this normal for young girls? Should I be concerned?

Read more

Answer

Teaching a Boy About Marriage and Fatherhood

When should parents start talking with their sons about what it means to be a God-honoring husband and father? Our boy is still pretty young - not even in his teens yet - but we want to be sure to lay a strong foundation before it's too late. Should we wait until after puberty? Or would it be better to hold off even longer - perhaps until he's in his twenties?

Read more

Answer

Teen Son Seems To "Protest" Chores by Breaking Things

What we do about a fourteen-year-old boy who ends up destroying something every time we require him to do a chore around the house? When asked to unload the dishwasher, he cracked a set of expensive glasses. When assigned to clear the driveway, he broke the snow shovel. We already know that he dislikes work of any kind. This feels like a form of passive-aggressive, rebellious "payback." We tell him he'll have to pay us back for the damages, but he's too far in debt to do anything about it. Any suggestions?

Read more

Answer

Approaches to Childrearing: Law vs. Grace

Should I raise my kids under a philosophy of law or grace? Since the Gospel is all about grace, doesn't this suggest that it's a mistake for Christian parents to raise their children according to a lot of rules and regulations? Paul even tells us, in Galatians 3:24, that the law was nothing but a "tutor to bring us to Christ." Should we teach our kids the difference between right and wrong or just help them to find Jesus?

Read more

Answer

Adult Child Living At Home Disregards Parents' Standards

What kind of standards of conduct and behavior should parents impose upon an adult child living in their home? Our single twenty-nine-year-old daughter lives with us in separate quarters off of the main house. She knows how deeply we feel about marriage as the only appropriate context for sexual expression, but she's made a habit of having her boyfriend sleep over on a regular basis. I know I can't force her to change her behavior, and I don't want to lose the influence we have with her or hurt our relationship by making this an issue. But it does bother and concern us. What should we do?

Read more

Answer

Boarding School for Missionary Children

What is your opinion of boarding school for children? I've always thought that they were destructive to families. But recently my spouse and I have received a call to serve as missionaries overseas, and apparently this arrangement is part of the deal. I'm not sure this is best for our children and our family, but we don't want to forsake our responsibility to share the Gospel either. Any advice?

Read more

Answer

Providing Freedom to and Protection for Your Child

How do I grant my child increasing freedom without being too permissive? Or, to put it another way, how do I keep her safe without being overprotective? I have a twelve-year-old who keeps telling me that she's old enough to go places by herself. For example, she wants to be able to ride her bike to the store, or to school (it's two miles away), or up the street to a friend's house. I'd like to accommodate her wishes as much as possible, but at the same time I'm keenly aware that the world is a far more dangerous place than it was when I was growing up. Any advice?

Read more

Answer

Prioritizing and Planning Family Meals in a Hectic Home

How can our family make time to eat together when we're so busy? I'd really like to achieve this goal, but we face so many obstacles in making it happen, I'm almost afraid to try. Busy schedules are the rule in our household, and mine is no exception. By the time I get off work, battle rush hour traffic, and finally arrive at home, it's already 6:00 in the evening. At that point I know that if I make the effort to prepare a nutritious dinner, my family will be starving and the night will be half gone before I can get it on the table. How do I get around this challenge?

Read more

Answer

Three-Year-Old Boy Plays Dress-Up With Sisters

Should I allow my three-year-old son to play dress-up with his older sisters? He not only enjoys putting on the same frilly dresses they wear, but the costume jewelry as well. This doesn't seem like healthy behavior to me. What can I do to stop it?

Read more