Parenting

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Preventing Teens From Running Away

What should we do if we suspect that our adolescent son is making plans to run away? Is there something we can do to prevent this from happening?

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Confronting a Rebellious and Promiscuous Teen Daughter

Do you have any advice for dealing with a teenage daughter who's recently gotten involved in premarital sex and other destructive activities? While hunting for an extra set of car keys in my daughter's purse I came across a condom and a cigarette lighter. Needless to say, I was devastated. Should I confront her about my discovery?

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How to Handle Working Mom Guilt

How can I stop feeling guilty and resist the temptation to be "Superwoman"? I'm a working mother with a preschooler and a couple of school-age kids who are also involved in lots of extra-curricular activities. I have to admit that I feel bad whenever I'm not doing something "productive." My family's schedule is so tight, and there's so much to be done, that I feel compelled to "work" and sometimes that involves multi-tasking all the time. If I don't, I quickly become gripped by the fear that things won't get done.

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Toddlers and Media

As parents of a 2- to 3-year-old, how do we begin placing healthy limits on our child's exposure to television, video games, and the Internet? We've heard a lot about the negative impact of electronic media on adolescents and pre-teens, and we want to start encouraging good habits in this area as early as we can. What can we do?

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Advice on Teens and Online Chat Rooms

What's your opinion on teens getting involved in social networking and online chat rooms? I've read some of the teen conversations on the sites my daughter wants to visit, and they seem relatively harmless. But I'm still afraid of losing control over my child's interactions with her peers. Should I be concerned?

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Cell Phone Guidelines for Kids

Should children be allowed to have smart phones or mobile devices? Our oldest has started driving and all of our kids are constantly on the move. My spouse thinks they need phones in order to stay better connected with us. Do you think this is a good idea?

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Child Exposed to Violent and Sexual Movies at Friend's House

Can a one-time viewing of a violent or sexually explicit film or TV show have negative long-term effects on children? I just learned my grade-schooler saw an inappropriate cable movie while spending the day at a friend's house. What should I do and how can I prevent this happening in the future?

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Helping Kids Develop Good Eating Habits

Do you have any tips for parents who want to inspire their children to maintain a healthy diet? Our two children are still very small, but we want to start training them early to develop good eating habits.

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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 8 and 14and 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?

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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?

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Talking With Teens About Dad's Same-Sex Extramarital Affair

Can you advise me as to how I should talk to my teenage kids about their dad's homosexual affair? I've just been informed that he's divorcing me and leaving the family for another man. That's bad enough, but what especially concerns me is the thought of how this is likely to impact my kids. I'm trying to figure out how to explain that their father won't be living with us anymore, and I'm worried that the whole same-sex aspect of the situation will complicate the discussion beyond my capacity to handle it. What should I tell them?

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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?

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Teen Son Seems to "Protest" Chores by Breaking Things

What we do about a 14-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?

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Connection Between Fatherlessness and Violence Among Boys

What's the relationship between fatherlessness and violent behavior among adolescent boys? I'm wondering about this because statistics show that an increasing number of children are growing up in homes where no father is present.

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Date Rape Prevention for Pre-Teen Daughters

How do I talk to my pre-teen daughter about the danger of date rape? I've heard date rape is becoming more common, and this worries me as a parent. My daughter is approaching adolescence, and I want to know what I can do to prevent her from becoming a victim. How should I bring this up? And what's the best and most effective way of discussing the subject with her?

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Developing Healthy Self-Esteem in Children

What are some things I can do to help develop a healthy self-image in my children? I don't want them to grow up thinking the world revolves around them, but I do want to instill in them a proper sense of self-respect and of their own value as persons. How should I go about it?

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