Parenting

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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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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?

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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?

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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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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 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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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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Same-Sex Socialization and Toddlers

How important is same-sex socialization for toddlers? When we put our two-year-old son in daycare, the provider had oversight of eight kids-seven girls and one boy. Since then the other boy's parents have made different arrangements, leaving our son as the only male child in the facility. As his dad, I'm worried that this situation may have a negative impact on the normal, healthy development of my son's gender identity. Is this something to be concerned about or not?

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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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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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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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Caring for the Siblings of a Child With Special Needs

How do we help our other kids thrive when we have to devote so much time and attention to our child with special needs? My husband and I have four kids ranging in age from eight years to two months. Our youngest son was born with Down syndrome, and as a family, we're doing our best to adjust. I am concerned, though, about the impact this might have on our older three children.

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Child Says He Wants to Die

Should I be alarmed when my six-year-old son says to me that he wishes he were dead? He made this comment today and I was so shocked I didn't know what to say to him. What should I do?

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Child's Friend Has Questionable Parent

Should I be nervous about letting my elementary-school-age daughter visit a friend's house? Normally I wouldn't hesitate to say "yes" since her friend is a sweet and respectful girl. Her father, however, seems overly eager for our daughter to come over. How should we evaluate and respond to this situation? Do you have any advice

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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 29-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?

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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?

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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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Deciding to Let an Adult Child Move Back Home

Before we agree to allow our adult child to move back in with us, are there some key things we ought to consider or any safeguards we need to put in place? Our thirty-year-old daughter has just completed drug rehab and we're giving careful thought to the option of letting her come back home until she gets turned around. We want to support her in any way we can, but we've also heard some horror stories about parents who were unable to get their child to leave after things went south. Do you think there's any danger of this in our case? What should we do?

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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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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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Maximizing Enjoyment of Family Meals

How can we get the most out of our family dinner times? Our family recently committed to sharing mealtimes together at least three times a week. It was an adjustment in the beginning. There were a lot of rough spots, but I'm pleased to say that we're already seeing some positive results. At this point my major goal is to be intentional about making mealtimes meaningful. In particular, I want to find ways to make the very best use of the time we spend together. Do you have any suggestions for things we should be looking to accomplish as we gather at the table?

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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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Doctor Visits and Exam Room Expectations for Parents of Teens

Should I insist on being in the exam room when my child visits a doctor? Recently I took my 14-year-old daughter to our family doctor for a check-up and was told by the office staff that I would need to stay out. To be honest, my husband and I are concerned about messages my daughter may receive, especially regarding sex, that may run counter to our Christian worldview.

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