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Parenting Tips and Advice

  • Having a toddler that bites can be a frustrating and embarrassing problem for a parent.  The best way to handle a biting toddler is for the parent to really step back and analyze the situation. Figuring out why a toddler bites is half the battle. When a toddler bites they can be trying to express emotions, experimenting, attention seeking, or even trying to communicate. Toddlers are not naturally mean or want to cause pain, they learn from our reactions. Once you have an idea what your toddler is trying to get out of biting then the easiest way to prevent biting is to recognize when your child is an a situation that he/she might bite and intervene. If the toddler has bitten make sure you are staying calm and teaching the toddler that biting is wrong by using short firm phrases like ”no, biting” “biting is wrong”.

    Another method to dealing with a toddler that has bitten someone is to give all the attention to the victim and reduce the attention off of the toddler that bit.

    Stay calm and stay consistent, when you feel like it’s not working keep working at it. This behavior will pass and will not last forever.

  • All of my children have been deeply involved in sports and some might say I am biased concerning this subject and I would if pressed say I agree with that assessment. I believe that sports are important because that allow our children to experience situations and emotions that will serve them well past the time they are playing sports.

    Sports have allowed them to understand the sacrifice that is needed to win and how to win respectfully. Sports have allowed them to understand that no matter how hard you work and sacrifice that it is often not enough to win and how to lose respectfully while at the same time learning how not to lose the next time and to not simply give up.

    Sports have taught them how to work as a team and what it means to step up as a leader when everyone else is ready to quit and to give in. I know of no other venue where they can learn these lessons in a controlled setting where as a parent I can come alongside them and cheer, cry and love them.

  • If it is true that we learn more from what we see others doing than from what they say then I would say that going to church as a family is incredibly important. If we conveniently skip church every time we are tired or on vacation we shouldn’t be surprised when our children make the decision as adults to not make church a priority. I believe that it is important for our children to know that going to church is important to us and is a value that your family is built upon. It is important for your children to see you spend time praising our heavenly father, to see you bow your head in prayer, and to see you as you take communion. If you seem disinterested or board they will in turn become disinterested and board themselves.

    However, if you not only go to church as a family but do it with anticipation you will raise the next generation with a desire to not only make going to church important but with helping the next generation to want to serve our Heavenly father with anticipation and desire.

  • I would say that the most important thing that you can do to instill your faith in your children is for them to not hear about it from you but for them to see it in you.

    I had a nephew spend a year in Turkey and he told me that the Muslims were much more committed to their faith that we were. He mentioned that they were much more committed to the spiritual disciplines of their faith than we were.

    When is the last time that your children saw you or your spouse having your devotions?

    Does church or your small group hold the same priority that your golf game or the lake hold to you?

    When is the last time that your children heard you tell your wife that you were sorry and asking her for her forgiveness. Our children will not accept our faith as their own by accident we must be as deliberate about instructing and living out their faith as those who live in Turkey.

  • Time-out can be an effective form of discipline, when used correctly, especially for preschoolers. This form of discipline takes time and consistency which can benefit a child in the long run. It can help build character, teach problem solving, and self-discipline in a child.

    Time-out period for young children should match child’s age (3 year-old gets 3 minutes, 4 year-old gets 4 minutes, 5 year-old gets 5 minutes). Time period begins when child is sitting calmly.

    Let’s face it, to sit quietly for long periods of time is not easy for small children. So placing a child in time-out for long periods can be counterproductive.

    If a child is crying/protesting when he goes to time-out, the time period starts after the child calms down and sits quietly in time-out area. Otherwise, there is no positive benefit.

    The child should know why he is in time-out. So after time-out period, I prefer to ask children if they know why they are in time-out and have them verbalize it to me in their own way. If they are unclear of why they are in time-out, tell them why in as few words as possible. Allow the child to acknowledge and have him rejoin the group. When child acknowledges why he is in time- out, it helps him connect time-out to the behavior.

    Consistency is key to time-out being effective.

  • Simply put, be a person of integrity. When someone gives you too much change back at the fast food counter, give it back.

    Be a person of respect. When stopped by the police for speeding, show them what it means to not only be respectful while speaking to the officer, but what you say after he or she has driven down the highway to catch another speeder.

    Be a person of generosity, explain to them why you tithe and why you volunteer at the food bank on a monthly basis. If you are not generous they will not be generous. If you are a cheerful giver they will be a cheerful giver.

    Be a person of compassion, give grace to others when grace is not deserved. I can still remember wrecking the family car as a teenager and my father’s only question being if I was okay. Not if the car was okay, but if I was fine. I was not expecting that response and is how you instill these qualities in your children.

  • There are more and more children being raised in single parent homes and that doesn’t mean the children are any less loved or cared for. Here are some tips for raising children in a single parent home that help everyone.

    1. Express your love- Make sure you are telling your children that you love them every day. Praise them for the good things they do.  Figure out what their love language is and use it.

    2. Create a routine- Structure is key to running any house hold and even more so when there
    is only one parent.

    3. Develop a great support system-This can be Church, friends, family, day care, etc… Anyone
    that can be there for you and you can lean on.

    4. Take care of your self-If you are not healthy and happy it will be hard to take care of your children the way you want to. Do not feel guilty and stay positive. Children will be able to tell if you are struggling and that could put extra pressure on them.

    5. Boundaries and Expectations- Keep things clear, simply and consistent. Kids should know
    exactly what you expect of them. No surprises. This allows everyone to be on the same page.

    6. It’s okay to seek help- You can ask for help and it’s ok to talk to your children about if they want to talk about the situation.


  • There are a number of ways to discipline without spanking. Following are a few ways I have
    found to be effective.

    – Removing a child up to 2 years old from the undesirable object/unsafe area and saying(not screaming) “no/stop.” Stay with the child to observe their reaction. Repeat as many times as needed to get child to change behavior.

    – Redirecting young children to positive/safe activities can be very effective form of discipline.

    – Time-out can be effective for children over the age of 2.

    – Positive reinforcement and praising a child for good behavior.

    Remember to:

    – Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

    – Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

    – When the discipline is over, move on.

    Consistency and perseverance are key to effective disciplining.

  • My first thought was to answer this question the way that I wanted someone to answer the question when my wife and I were asking the very same question – age 21.

    However, in today’s world that would simply not work, but would say that our decision not to give our children a cell phone until they were entering high school was a great decision.

    Did we hear that they were the only ones without a cell phone – absolutely yes? However, years later my adult children will tell you that it was one of the best decision that we could have made. They will tell us that they weren’t ready for all of the issues that came with having a phone. Sexting, cyber bullying, etc.

    These issues are more prevalent in the middle school years and at a time where they are emotionally not prepared to deal with these issues in a way that are appropriate.

    Lastly, if you want to know where they are let them use their friends cell phone to call you or to check up with you because as you know “everyone” has one.

  • Absolutely!!!!!!!  Let me say it one more time absolutely!!!!!!!!!!

    I have a friend who is in law enforcement who has on more than one occasion mentioned that everything that you write on your computer or cell phone is never gone and can be retrieved by a professional in just minutes.

    We have a responsibility as parents to help our children use the power of their phones in just the same way that we instruct them as they drive for the first time. Are they going to make mistakes – yes, but haven’t we all.

    I am learning that it is important to be careful of what I write and that it is difficult to understand my tone, or passion simply reading what I write. If it is difficult for me how much more difficult will it be for a 16 year old boy who was just dumped by his first love.

  • Imagine this scenario, playing out in homes everywhere – you are in the middle of disciplining your child, well on your way to handing out an appropriate punishment for your child’s behavior, and your spouse says, “It’s not that big of deal, let’s just let it go this time”. Now you’re not only frustrated by your child’s behavior but you’re mad that your spouse didn’t back you up! This scenario is very common and can cause fighting between married couples and divorced parents, alike. Parenting doesn’t come with a manual but if it did, this would certainly be a top question.

    So what to do if you aren’t on the same page with your spouse? First, never undermine your spouse in front of your children. This only makes your spouse mad and shows your children that they can eventually get what they want, if they go to the “right” parent. If you disagree about a consequence or parenting technique, address it without your children around. This will ensure that you are presenting a united front to your children and eliminate mixed messages that your children might get from inconsistent parenting. Second, communicate with your spouse about your expectations, rules, and consequences for your children. Having this conversation will help you to make sure that you are on the same page with your spouse about your ideas for parenting. This will also avoid disagreements when dealing with your children’s behaviors. Finally, focus on what you DO agree on. Oftentimes, your parenting goals are more similar than you think. You both want what’s best for your children but might have different views on the details. Focusing on the similarities of your parenting ideas, rather than the differences, will help you to identify the strengths of each style and how both of you can incorporate your parenting ideas into discipline.