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.

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.

Why I Don’t Want Perfect Children

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Two male toddlers sticking out their tongues

These first few days of school remind us that our children grow up quickly. In the midst of those early years, the long nights, the crying and the diapers, to name just a few passages of early life with kids, it seemed like it would go on forever.

But then you’re walking your son or daughter by the hand into school, or dropping them at the bus stop, and suddenly you realize just how fast the seasons come and go.

Guest Post: 9 Things You Can Do to Prepare Your Child for a Great School Year

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Little girl raising her hand during class

It’s that time of year when parents are hustling to get the kids ready for the start of another school year, and to talk about a few back-to-school points I am turning to my friend Gaylen Kelton, MD, as my guest blogger today.

Dr. Kelton is a family physician and clinical professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. He is also the chairman of the Physicians Resource Council, a panel of physician experts who generously lend their time and talents to assist Focus on medical and health-related topics.

12 Suggestions for Loving a Prodigal Child

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teen boy looking out in distance

The following is excerpted from a previous post (which can be found here):

I recently came across an excellent article from Abraham Piper, the son of author and pastor John Piper. For parents who are currently struggling with a child (of any age) who has either strayed from their Christian faith or never professed Jesus as Lord of their life, this will serve as practical guidance to help you manage what is a very difficult reality.

This Secret Can Change Your Life

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Girl pondering the Word of God

Over sixty years ago, Earl Nightingale, a former United States Marine who had been one of only twelve survivors of the bombing of the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor, struck upon an idea.

At the time of his epiphany, he was an announcer at the legendary Chicago radio station WGN. Residents of the Windy City were drawn to his soothing, sonorous voice. But it was off the air, while reading a book by Napoleon Hill, a well-known motivational writer and speaker of that era, that Nightingale’s revelation came to him, like “a bolt out of the blue,” he said.

How to Help Help Your Child Thrive in the Middle School Years

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Teens with arms around each other's shoulders

By the time kids enter middle school, their march toward independence is well under way.

But let’s face it – it can be a confusing time for parents.

When a child spreads his wings, it can feel like he’s turning his back on you instead. But that’s not really the case. Your middle schooler needs you as much as he always has.

In some ways, more.

He just needs you in a different way than he did in his formative years.