Helping Overly-Connected Kids Live in the Real World

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contected teens

Our children live in a screen-driven world.

In some ways, it’s been this way for a long time. Since the 1950s, television and children have gone together like cereal and milk.

Who doesn’t remember Saturday morning cartoons?

The advent of video games and the proliferation of smart phones and tablets in the past decade have only served to add to a child’s “screen time.” Walk through a mall or an airport and you’ll see that many children seem perpetually “connected” to an electronic device.

The Hardest Peace

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Kara and Jason Tippetts

I can’t remember the sound of my mom’s voice.

That’s because she died of cancer when I was just 9 years old. It was a blow, of course, the security of my entire world shattered in an instant. The tragedy was made even worse because nobody told me my mom was so ill.

How do you explain to a young child that his mother is dying of cancer?

It’s not easy to explain death and terminal illness to a young boy or girl.

“The Cosby Show” versus “Modern Family”

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Silhouette of Happy Family and Dog

As you know, the term “rose-colored glasses” is used to describe someone who sees the world in an optimistic fashion. It provides a good word-picture because the lens we use to see the world certainly impacts how we perceive it.

In the same way, our worldview influences how we see culture and life around us.

In today’s broadcast, we’re featuring a conversation I recently had with John Stonestreet, who works as the executive director of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

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.