December 19, 2014
Q: We are considering buying ipods for our kids for Christmas, but my husband says they are “time-wasters”. What do you think?
Gary: I think it all depends on the age of your child. The American Pediatric Association suggests no screens at all for children two years and under, and after that only two hours a day on any kind of device. If you think they’re old enough, you need to have guidelines that you’re going to give them— in terms of the amount of time, in terms of what programs they get involved in, and you need to monitor those things. Otherwise, they will become time-wasters. They have to be monitored if it’s going to be positive. For more on this topic: Growing Up Social by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane
December 1, 2014
Q: As the mom, I have the reputation as the disciplinarian toward the kids while my husband is looked at as the “fun one” who stays out of conflict. What steps can we take to balance this out?
Gary: You and your husband need to talk. I think that one of the key issues is learning how to make rules together and decide on consequences together. So that no matter who is at home the same consequence for the same crime is going to be dished out. You’ll find a lot of help in the book, The 5 Love Languages of Children, where we deal with making rules and consequences. I suggest you discuss that chapter together.
November 21, 2014
Q: What should be the boundaries for an ex-spouse who is still in the family picture?
Gary: This is one of the difficult things about second marriages. Whenever divorce takes place, that person isn’t dead, they’re still there. Chances are they’ll be at the wedding of the children and they may be there when the children are sick. And just a lot of other interactions that you cannot avoid. We have to accept that as reality, they’re going to be in the picture, they are part of the family even though the divorce is final. They are still the parent of your children and they’re still your ex spouse. As long as it is not destructive behavior when you are together, you need to make the most of it, you need to accept each other where you are, and you need to ask God to help both of you.