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    Spring Cleaning: From the Inside Out

    By Ann-Margret Hovsepian, Creative Connections column

    ClutterPerhaps this is a familiar scenario: You tell your daughter to clean up the disaster zone she calls her bedroom and a moment later she’s skipping around, singing “Happy” as she zeroes in on piles of crumpled clothes and multiplying dust bunnies. Right?

    Right… I didn’t think so. More likely, she groans and whines, wondering why it’s such a big deal that there are candy wrappers and dirty socks on top of the still-sort-of-white t-shirt that was thrown over the school books under the desk (oh, there’s that lip gloss she borrowed from you two months ago), which is piled up with magazines and bracelets and a couple of dried-up gel pens (wasn’t there once a trash can around here?) and… oh, look! The note from school that she was supposed to ask you to sign two days ago. Oops.

    Here’s the thing.… continue reading

    We Influence our Teens...But Who Are They Influencing?

    By Lyn ParkerOn Mentoring Teens Column

    If you want to find out who is influencing your teen, take a look at the people he or she follows on Twitter, whose blogs they follow and where they spend most of their time. Those are the things, people, games, and influencers in your teen’s life.I know that social media has a big influence on me and my teens, but I also know that they have a big influence on the people who read the status updates that my teens post, too.

    businessman holding large red magnet, close up

    In their everyday face-to-face life, they have some of the same opportunities to share the truth of the Word of God and the love of Jesus with others as we do. They’re like a magnet because people want to be around that joy and peace that radiates out of our teens.continue reading

    Parenting Tips: Know What to Limit and What Not to Limit

    Parenting Tips: Know What to Limit and What Not to Limit by Sherri Wilson Johnson, On Inspiring Purity column

    cnm sherri april ID-100302364

    In a little over a month, my husband and I will be empty-nesters. We raised two children while on our parenting journey. We homeschooled for 14 years. We instilled in our children the values that were passed on to us from our parents. We raised them in church. We taught them the importance of saving themselves sexually until marriage.

    Did we do everything right? Absolutely not! Did we do a few things right? I think so. I’m proud of how my kids have turned out in spite of our involvement in their lives. It’s true there isn’t a parenting manual, and each child is unique and must be handled uniquely. So I consider it a miracle that two flawed parents managed to raise two God-fearing, tender-hearted children. All credit goes to the Lord.… continue reading

    How to Show Our Daughters What Happily Ever After Looks Like

    By: Jennifer Watson


    “I heard you and Dad fighting this morning.” My oldest daughter said while we were driving to church.

    Did I mention that we were driving to church? Did I also mention that my husband and I pastor this church?

    She’s twelve going on twenty. I looked at her sweet face and I’m not going to lie, my firstborn who is in the annoying “Oh, I know” stage looked a mix between “You are so busted” and “How embarrassing for you.” Brutal.

    I had a decision to make and I needed to make it quick.

    We had just watched the new Cinderella movie, which we all adored. I even cried during it.

    I loved this new spin on the fairytale and I’m still thinking about it. It was truly beautiful in so many ways. But, in all the messages that are sweet and worth celebrating is this concept that it is super hard to live up to, that marriage is a fairytale minus the random bursts of lovesick serenades.… continue reading

    What a Dad Sees

    By Nate Stevens, Preparing Teens for Marriage column


    As a single dad, I usually look for meaningful articles to share with my kids. I have a daughter and a son so the articles range from funny to gross to spiritually uplifting.

    I find many nurturing, loving, and refreshing articles from women, whether they are married, single, employed outside the home, stay at home moms, published authors, occasional bloggers or serving in Christian ministry of some sort. But I find very few such articles from men – especially dads.

    I won’t bore you with statistics about how the absence of a father’s influence negatively affects kids. Rather, let me stress the importance of a dad’s active involvement and expressive affection with his children. Especially daughters.

    It’s probably much easier for a dad to bond with his son(s) because of all the cool “man stuff” they can do together.… continue reading

    10 Ways You Value Your Teens More Than God

    By: Brenda YoderOn Middle School Column

    You Value Your

    You honor your sons more than me…” 1 Samuel 2:29b

    God’s word is complete for parenting. Even in 2015. 1 Samuel shares a principle parents of teens need to hear:

    Do you honor your children more than God?

    It’s an eye-opening question. You strive to raise good kids. You want them to represent your family well. You want them to embrace Christ as their Savior.

    But in efforts to parent well, do you leave God by the wayside?

    God posed this question to Eli, the High Priest, whose sons dishonored Him. They corrupted the sacrifice, intimidated parishioners, and had sex with women at the tabernacle gate.

    Good ‘ole preacher boys.

    God rebuked Eli because he turned a blind eye to what his sons were doing.You Value Your

    Are you tempted to turn a blind eye to your teen’s behavior?continue reading

    Parents' Guide to Social Media, Technology, & Teens

    By: Vicki TiedeBehind Closed Doors column

    IMG_6102Parents’ Guide to Social Media, Technology, & Teens

    Gone are the days of rotary phones and passing notes. We’re living in a digital age and we need to get up to speed or our kids will leave us in the dust. There’s much to consider when it comes to setting our kids “free” with technology that has Internet capabilities and social media and apps that are continually changing!

    Is your tween/teen pleading for a smart phone? iPad? Facebook? Snapchat? This is a bigger deal than you might first think. Here are a few things that you’d be wise to consider …

    Are they old enough and mature enough to handle the responsibility of its use?

    I can’t tell you how many preschoolers I know who have their own tablets and iPads, so the line of demarcation for when a child is ready for various technologies is admittedly pretty blurry, and you must weigh and follow your own convictions on this.… continue reading

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    What is your #LoveLanguage? What love language do your teens respond to the most? http://t.co/AzgKikHr7V @IfThenMovement #ParentingTeens

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