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.

Talking to Your Daughter About Puberty

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Preteen girl

I have two boys, Trent and Troy. It was challenging enough for me as a dad to have “the talk” with them (and all the other related conversations along the way), so I admit that I cringe a bit when I think about the parents who have to broach these subjects with their girls. For some reason, it seems like a conversation on puberty might be a bit more complicated with a daughter.

For example, girls have to deal with the unrealistic expectations placed on them to look a certain way.

When Political Correctness Endangers Children

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Human trafficking

The children were beaten, raped and trafficked.

Conservative estimates put the number of underage victims at about 1,400.

A recently-released report published by an independent auditor describes what happened in Rotherham, England – and it is a difficult read.

It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated. There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone.

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.

Helping Your Kids Get Ready for Marriage

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Happy engaged couple relaxing by a river bed

Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned roller coaster? Yet, as exciting as they are, even the most ardent thrill seekers wouldn’t choose to ride one every day for the rest of their lives.

Sadly, we hear from many husbands and wives who feel as if their marriage has become one long, scary, roller coaster ride. Things are up and down, unpredictable, unstable, and just not fun anymore. And many of these couples are looking for a way out.

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.

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.

Of Girls and Boys and Baseball

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Mo'ne Davis on the cover of Sports Illustrated

Like many of you, I’ve been fascinated this past week by the rise of Little Leaguer Mo’ne Davis, the 13-year-old female pitcher for the Taney Dragons of Philadelphia. At 5-foot-4 inches, the eighth-grader became the first girl to ever throw a shutout in the Little League World Series.

For her accomplishment, she was also featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, another first for any Little League player.

Pitching last night, though, Mo’ne proved mortal.