Parenting a “Glorious Act of Chaos”

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Most parents can agree with the following two statements:

We love our kids
Our kids can test our patience

Part of it is simply the paradoxical nature of the role. Busy lives, hectic schedules, strong personalities colliding – it all works together to make parenting a “glorious act of chaos,” as Bill Farrel, one of today’s broadcast guests, aptly described it.

Yet, we also know that, without clear leadership and a plan, home life can spiral out of control and become crazier than it needs to be.

The Four Best Places to Raise Your Kids

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Family home

MONEY magazine recently released its list of “Best Places to Live in America” for 2014, and Castle Rock, Colo., a town just north of Colorado Springs, was number four on the list.

How do they determine which cities make the top ten?

MONEY starts with 781 cities and whittles down the list by looking at factors such as median family income, racial diversity, quality of education, economic opportunity, and even the residents’ level of happiness.

That got me to thinking.

How Mental Illness Impacts Families

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Depressed Woman

Many of you commented on and shared my recent blog post, “Could Robin Williams’ Faith Have Prevented His Suicide?”

That’s not surprising because mental illness directly impacts about one in four individuals… yet sadly, it sometimes seems that the Christian community doesn’t talk about the issue as often and as thoroughly we should.

Focus on the Family is hoping to help change that by helping families and churches better understand topics related to mental health – things like depression, bipolar and schizophrenia.

Guest Post: Is Spanking Child Abuse?

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Upset toddler boy

It seems like, more and more, the use of spanking as a form of child discipline is being questioned by parents. Focus on the Family recently had an opportunity to address the issue in TIME Ideas. Dr. Jared Pingleton, the director for our counseling department, wrote the piece. –JD

Spanking Can Be an Appropriate Form of Child Discipline

NFL running back Adrian Peterson’s recent arrest for allegedly abusing his 4-year-old son has once again sparked the debate over whether spanking is an appropriate form of discipline.

How to Overcome the Potty-Training Woes

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It’s one of those lighthearted list-type articles that make for fun reading:

NPR’s recent “Global Parenting Habits That Haven’t Caught On In the U.S.” shows just how much culture impacts childrearing. I can only imagine that most American parents’ jaws will drop at the second item on the list – a claim that Vietnamese parents potty-train their babies by 9 months.

9 months?

Pretty hard to believe, yes? Apparently the secret lies in the Pavlov-like trick of whistling when the baby starts going to the bathroom.

Are Youth Sports Coddling Our Kids?

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Two children watching a sports practice

You’ve likely seen the nostalgia-laced posts comparing life as a kid “back then” to life today, from school to the playground and everywhere in between.

For example, a recent list contrasted a 1970s school lunch with the typical fare of a child in 2014:

1970s: “Spread yellow mustard on bread. Slap baloney on bread. Unwrap American cheese slices and put on top of baloney. Put top on sandwich and wrap sandwich in tin foil or wax paper.

17 Pearls of Wisdom

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Grandfather laughing with grandson

I asked several of my colleagues here at Focus for their best dose of homespun parenting counsel. It should be a given that we’re to introduce our children to the Lord and disciple them throughout their childhood and beyond. I was mainly asking them for some very practical nuggets of wisdom.

Here is what they told me they regularly tell their children:

It’s never as good as you hear or as bad as you feel.
Learn to remember names.

Too Busy to Rest?

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Exhausted woman pausing to rest while doing the laundry

I often feel like I’m burning the candle at both ends. I imagine the same may be true for you.

No matter how much we get done, there’s always one more thing to do.

And rest? There’s hardly time for that, is there?

I confess I’ve had moments where relaxing seemed like a waste of time. It felt like the absence of something – like an empty space where productivity ought to be – rather than an active and beneficial component to my life.

Race, Resentment and the Pathway Towards a Colorblind Society

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Man holding Bible

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a day I don’t remember, but a day that’s had an impact on my life, and likely on yours, too.

I’ve been thinking about August 28th, 1963 – exactly fifty-one years ago tomorrow, in fact.

I was just two years old and living in West Covina.

Life is simple for a two-year-old, but 3,000 miles away in Washington D.C., a dramatic moment was underway. There, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Does Your Child Have a Bad Attitude? Try These 3 Things

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Child folding arms in defiance of his dad

With school back in session in many parts of the country, it might be necessary to tweak our child’s attitude. After all, going from a life of leisure to the rigors of the classroom can be a bit jarring.

According to our counselors here at Focus, a common motivation for a child’s negativity is simply to get attention.  If you suspect this is your child’s goal, there are a few ways to teach him or her not to complain.