Parenting

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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?

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Tips for Teething Babies

What should I expect when my child starts teething? Can you help me recognize the signs that this process is about to begin? How about suggesting some simple strategies for making it as easy and as painless as possible?

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Treating Depression During Pregnancy

How can I effectively deal with my struggle with severe depression while protecting my unborn baby? I've tried counseling before, but by itself that hasn't seemed to work. I have found antidepressants to be extremely effective in my treatment, but I'm afraid that the medication will do harm to my baby in some way. I have been suicidal in the past, so I know I need to do something about my depression. I feel caught between a rock and a hard place.

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How Can I Make Sure My Teenager Turns Out Right?

It's frightening to be a parent of teenagers today. I've been lying awake nights worrying about the challenges and temptations my kids face every day at school, in our neighborhood, on the streets, and in all kinds of social situations. Even the church youth group isn't immune to the influences of secular culture! Is there anything I can do to make sure that my teens stand firm and stay true to the values I've tried to instill in them?

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How Gender Distinctions Affect Parenting

If there are identifiable gender distinctions - psychological and emotional as well as physical and sexual - do they have practical implications for parents? What do moms and dads need to know about this subject, and how will such knowledge help them do a better job of raising their kids?

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Kids and Entertainment: Teaching Discernment

How can I help my kids make wise media choices? I'm extremely frustrated with the growing toxicity of so-called "entertainment," but short of moving to the Amazon jungle or the middle of the Sahara desert, I can't completely shield my children from all of it. It seems the only answer is to equip them to analyze standard media fare in a thoughtful, Christian way. Can you help me do that?

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Finding a Family Doctor

Do you have any advice on how to go about finding a doctor for our family? My husband and I have young children and we've just moved to a new town.

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Emotional Instability, Domestic Violence, and Parenthood

Should we have kids if my spouse is emotionally unstable and has been physically abusive with me? We've been married for four years and are in our mid-thirties. My wife has become physically and verbally abusive with me on several occasions. We've seen counselors about this and other issues, but the problem persists. A trusted friend has advised me against bringing a child into our home under these circumstances. I very much want kids and don't know what to do. Can you help me?

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Explaining Marriage Problems to Young Children

How do we explain our marital troubles to our three-year-old son? My husband and I are temporarily separated and are attempting to work through our differences with the help of a counselor. We both feel it's important to remain apart for the time being because we're concerned that our constant fighting may have a negative impact on our son. Most of the time he lives with me, but once in a while he spends the night at my husband's apartment in town. Do you think we're doing the right thing? Is this kind of arrangement harmful to a child?

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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?

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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?

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Helping Siblings of a Child With Special Needs Cope With Your Family's Different Lifestyle

How do we help our "typical" kids deal with the fact that our family is different in some ways from those of their friends? Our youngest son was recently diagnosed with autism, and his older siblings have begun to express resentment over the impact this has had on them and our family.

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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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When and How to Intervene in the Life of Your Teenager

As a parent of teenagers, I understand the importance of distinguishing between what I can and can't control and granting my kids the freedom they need in order to make their own choices and learn by their own mistakes. Unfortunately, I have reason to believe that my teens are in serious danger of choosing wrong and messing up their lives. As a matter of fact, my 17-year-old daughter has already gotten into some serious trouble with her boyfriend. What's worse, her defiant attitude is making it increasingly difficult for me to keep her on the right path. What would you recommend?

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