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Parenting

💡 Co-Parenting Doesn’t Have to Be Ugly

💡 Co-Parenting Doesn’t Have to Be Ugly

When the world is telling you to blame your ex-spouse and embrace bitterness, you can work on turning your thoughts toward a peaceful working relationship.
After divorce you and your ex may not be husband and wife anymore, but you are still mom and dad to your kids. That means you have to learn a new way of parenting, which we refer to as co-parenting. This is when you and your ex-spouse most need cooperation for the sake of your kids. …

✌️ Asking Forgiveness From My Kids…Again

✌️ Asking Forgiveness From My Kids…Again

My kids need to grow up with the knowledge that I require a Savior just as much as they do.
I yelled at my kids tonight.
It started before the mouthwash spilled all over the floor, my jeans, and my new shirt.
That I have an issue with anger and emotional control is not something I’ve kept secret. But it’s still painfully destructive in my own home:
“The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down” (Proverbs 14:1). …

💡 Lose the Toxic, Not the Masculinity

💡 Lose the Toxic, Not the Masculinity

If our hearts chafe at this whole line of thinking, our issue is with the gospel, not the cultural narrative.
Gillette recently released an ad about toxic masculinity, an interesting phrase that until recently only referred to hyper-masculine boorishness. But now the national dialogue seems to have shifted to a point where toxic masculinity refers not to excess, but to all things masculine. This is a tragic loss of nuance in an otherwise important conversation.
Admittedly, I had already heard some radio commentary about the ad that preconditioned me to hate it before actually seeing it. …

🙏 Is Prayer Your First Response?

🙏 Is Prayer Your First Response?

We must train ourselves to make prayer a default reaction in all situations.
Emergency service people are called first responders. Their first response is to help. Police, fire fighters, and paramedics all race to respond when someone is in need. For many it comes naturally. For most, training is needed to be able to fly into action during an emergency. As a former police officer, my husband was trained to be a first responder.
As a Christian, I have a desire to speak to the Lord about things. …

💡 Connecting With Your Spouse Through the Busy Parenting Years

💡 Connecting With Your Spouse Through the Busy Parenting Years

When we became parents, our entire universe shifted. What happened to the couple we were?
Before kids, Josh and I went to movies not rated G and ate at restaurants not offering Styrofoam cups. We spent our weekends doing whatever we wanted, staying up late, and sleeping in later.
Then we became parents. And our entire universe shifted. Psychological thrillers were exchanged for films featuring talking animals. Those overpriced, chef-prepared meals turned into a quick drive-thru at Chick-fil-A. …

📱 Smartphones for Smartfamilies

📱 Smartphones for Smartfamilies

We advise against giving your children a phone if you are not ready to have a conversation with them about it multiple times a week for multiple years.

When I was in high school, I was eager to turn 16 so I could drive. To my advantage, my parents were equally eager to stop being my personal Uber. So as a family we began the process of getting my driver’s license.
Getting a license can be a pretty intimidating process. …

💡 🎄 Navigating the Holidays as an Adult Child of Divorce

💡 🎄 Navigating the Holidays as an Adult Child of Divorce

At Christmas, decisions for an adult child of divorce become especially difficult, with both parents vying for your loyalty and attention.
I never wanted a stepmom. And I certainly never wanted my kids to have a stepgrandmother.
But when my first daughter was 6 weeks old, my mom left my dad. It had been a long time coming. And from every professional’s advice, he certainly deserved it. No one faulted her for it.
I was glad they waited so long to end their marriage. …

💡 How Can I Let Go of the Mom Guilt?

💡 How Can I Let Go of the Mom Guilt?

Guilt doesn’t freshen us and give life—it suffocates us and takes more than we have to give.
I wanted to cry when I realized I forgot to send a snack with my kid to school. No, she isn’t in preschool or kindergarten, and she didn’t even seem to care. Honestly, the urge to cry was a bit ridiculous. But it was one more thing to add to that steaming pile of mom guilt in the corner of my mind. …

💡 Why Your Relationship With Your Child Matters

💡 Why Your Relationship With Your Child Matters

You have the privilege of growing a child who knows the love of God personally and knows how to love people well.
God’s first choice for receiving and experiencing love is the family. Warmly snuggled in this incubator, love nurtures life, feeds souls, and calls forth the blossoming flower of God’s unique individual design in every person He has created. Then love calls for love to be given in return.
Home is where a child takes the first tentative steps from receiving love to giving love. …

💡 🥦 🥕 15 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Better

💡 🥦 🥕 15 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Better

A nutritionist (and mom of 7-year-old triplets!) gives tried-and-true tips for getting your kids to eat vegetables, drink milk, try new foods, and more.
Every single day, I deal with picky eaters both big and small. I’m the mother of 7-year-old triplets, all of whom have very different eating habits; I’m also a dietitian who teaches the professional athletes on the Chicago Bears and Chicago Bulls teams how to improve their diets. Although it’s tough to convince a towering basketball player or a 300-pound linebacker that junk food is bad for him, …

💡 Disciplining Your Children Is Challenging, but Vital

💡 Disciplining Your Children Is Challenging, but Vital

Seeing the fruit of correcting your children requires delayed gratification.
The last thing I (Jason) want to hear from my wife as I walk through the door at the end of a hard day are these words: “We have a situation. You need to deal with it.” But it happens.
I remember one evening when one of our sons was 7. I had given him a pocketknife, thinking he was ready to handle that kind of responsibility (in my defense, …

⚠️ Two Traps to Avoid: “If Only” and “What If?”

⚠️ Two Traps to Avoid: “If Only” and “What If?”

When these issues dominate my thoughts, I succumb to selfishness and fear.
In each season of my life, I’ve found myself falling into two mental traps which are not helpful. One is the “If only” syndrome, and the other is the “What if?” syndrome.
Here’s how “If only” might express itself:

“If only I had a husband.”
“If only I had more money.”
“If only my husband would act like…”
“If only my husband (or I) had a good job.”
“If only we had a different house.”
“If only my parents (or his) understood.”
“If only my child would sleep through the night.”
“If only I had a really close friend.”
“If only I didn’t come from such a wounded past.”
“If only I wasn’t stuck in this place.”
“If only I was free of this disease.”
“If only I knew how to handle my teen.”
“If only I didn’t have to do this.”
“If only I didn’t struggle with this.”

Can you identify? …

💡 10 Ways to Teach Children to Be Thankful for Each Other

💡 10 Ways to Teach Children to Be Thankful for Each Other

Long after my husband and I are gone, I want our kids to still have each other.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve been diving into Scripture to prepare my heart for a season of thankfulness. I wish gratitude was something that came naturally to me, but it rarely feels that way.
One definition of gratitude I recently read was, “readiness to show appreciation for.” This definition suggests that gratitude is something I can prepare myself for, to get ready to show appreciation for the many blessings around me. …

💰 Investing Time With Your Children: The Challenge of 936 Pennies

💰 Investing Time With Your Children: The Challenge of 936 Pennies

The time we have with our children before they enter into adulthood is limited. We have a responsibility to use it well.
My teeth were clenched as I balanced our frantic toddler on my hip, discreetly stuffing animal crackers into his mouth. It was a desperate attempt to keep him focused and quiet, and it was failing. We had missed his nap-time window, and it was backfiring big-time.
Our 3-year-old stood next to my husband. He stared out into the crowd, …

💡 Your Most Important Job as a Parent

💡 Your Most Important Job as a Parent

Teachable moments are opportunities for us to imprint God’s values on the next generation.
I had just pitched my travel bag in the back of our Honda station wagon. I turned on the ignition and was about to back out of the garage to head off to the airport for a business trip when I saw my daughter Ashley had walked up to the driver’s side window. Rolling the window down, I smiled, and asked, “What’s up, Princess?”
Ashley’s eyes looked down. …

💡 2 Simple Ways to Teach Respect to Young Children

💡 2 Simple Ways to Teach Respect to Young Children

Training preschoolers can be overwhelming, but starting small will build a strong foundation for more lessons to come.
There are many important values that we need to teach our kids, but in my opinion one of the most challenging is teaching respect. Actually, it’s more than just teaching our children what respect is, it’s training them to be respectful … and that’s where the problem lies.
From the moment of birth, children are “me” centered. Their sole focus is on having their needs fulfilled—for food, …

💡 How to Overcome Jealousy

💡 How to Overcome Jealousy

Complex Old Testament families mirror modern day stepfamilies.
Michelle and Jackson called for an emergency premarital counseling session. “We’re getting married next month and I’m finally facing my jealousies,” Michelle said. “Jackson is very close to his 10-year-old daughter, as he should be, but it scares me. I don’t know why, but I’m jealous of her. I’m also jealous of the fact that when Jackson and I have a child together it will be my first, but not his. …

📱 My Child Was Addicted to a Smartphone

📱 My Child Was Addicted to a Smartphone

The patterns I saw in my child’s behavior opened my eyes to the damage my phone had done.
I bought my first smartphone about a year into my journey as a widow. At the time, it felt like a lifesaver.
I was a stay-at-home, single mom of two toddlers. My son, Ben, was 3 years old, and my daughter, Katherine, was around a year old. I had very little time away from my kids, and my social life consisted mainly of church activities. …

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