October 17, 2014
Q: My son continually has a bad attitude. We would like to help him with it, what can we do?
Gary: Make sure your son feels loved. I know that you love him, the question is does your son feel loved? Sincerity is not enough. The deepest emotional need a child has is to feel loved by the parents. When that need is unmet children often experience anger, which shows up in their behavior. Dr. Ross Campbell and I wrote a book that has just been updated and released called The 5 Love Languages of Children. It shares information on how to identify a child’s primary love language and how speaking this language interfaces with the child’s anger, learning, and with discipline. Many parents have shared that when they started speaking their child’s love language they saw a dramatic change in the child’s behavior.
September 12, 2014
Q: Are married people obligated to have children?
Gary: God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” In the Bible, children are viewed as a gift from God. However, I don’t think this means that every Christian couple is obligated to have children. If a couple decides not to have children, their reason for such a choice should clearly be understood and should not be rooted in selfishness. Some good reasons for not having children might include: physical and mental disabilities, poor relational skills, or ministry for Christ. Selfish reasons might be: the desire to travel, not willing to accept responsibility, or wanting to be free to follow personal interests. Make sure that your choice is based on a genuine desire to follow God’s plan for your life.
August 7, 2014
Do you need more money? One of the best ways to have more money is to try what I call “free shopping.” Drive through affluent neighborhoods the night before the discards are to be collected. It’s amazing the things you find sitting beside a garbage can. The second approach is to let all your friends know that you are open to receiving hand-me-downs, especially children’s clothing and toys. The third approach is to inform your parents of specific toys that your children have requested. You know that they are going to give the children presents for their birthday, Christmas, and other occasions, so why not have them purchase things that the children really want? With these approaches you’ll have money for date nights and weekend get-aways with your spouse.
July 8, 2014
Teenagers are like tender plants that need to be nurtured. To nurture is ‘to feed’ the inner spirit. The opposite of nurture is abuse. Hostile, cutting, harsh words from parents kill the teenager’s spirit. Slapping, shoving, pushing, and beating will almost always produce a rebellious teenager. Nurturing parents are encouraging: looking for the positive things their teenagers do and say and commending them. I do not mean that you sit idly by and let them do things that will be destructive. The nurturing parent says, “What you did was wrong and you must suffer the consequences. But I want you to know that I believe in you. I don’t think that this behavior reflects the real you. I think you are a caring person. I love you and want to help you.”
July 3, 2014
In order to feel loved, teenagers need to feel accepted. The opposite of acceptance is
rejection. Research indicates that almost all violent teenagers feel rejected by their
parents. But how do you communicate acceptance, when you don’t like their behavior?
God is our model. We are “accepted in Christ,” even though God is not always pleased
with our behavior. The message we seek to communicate is “I love you because you are
my child. I don’t always like what you do, but I will never reject you. I will always be
here doing what I believe is best for you. I will love you even if you don’t follow my
advice, but because I love you, I must give you my advice. I love you no matter what.”
July 1, 2014
We’ve heard a great deal about the importance of bonding between parent and infant. What we haven’t heard is that bonding is no less important for the teenager and his parents. Bonding requires time together spent in a positive atmosphere. The opposite of feeling connected is the feeling of abandonment. The teen who feels abandoned will have emotional struggles. Emotional connectedness requires communication. Where do you talk with your teenager? I’d like to suggest a radical thought. Have at least one meal a day with your family, and share what is happening in your lives. A second thought: Do something with your teenager at least once a week. Follow these suggestions and your teen will likely feel connected.