By Nicole O’Dell
First, before we start the series, I should let you understand my family situation so you know where I’m coming from. My husband Wil and I have six kids. Three of them came with me into our marriage, and three of them, the triplets, were born to both of us together.
We’ve been doing this blended family thing for almost a decade, and while it is so rewarding, and really a blessing, it’s one of the hardest things either of us have ever done. In this first part of our series we’ll talk about The Big Picture of raising a family. In part two, will take a look at Communication within the home and with outsiders who may or may not share the vision. Part three will deal with Coaching and Discipline. And part four will tackle Issues of Faith.
The Big Picture in a Blended Christian Family
Raising teens in a blended family sometimes seems like nothing more than a get-through-the-day proposition.… continue reading
Vicki Tiede, Behind Closed Doors column
“There’s consistently too much month at the end of the money and we’re working multiple jobs to make ends meet.”
“I’m facing a terminal illness and I feel pressed to finish parenting well, but my teenagers aren’t shaping up as quickly as I need them to.”
“My husband is addicted to pornography and recently had an affair with a woman who has moved onto our street.”
I’ve heard all of these statements this week.
Look, we all have stress. If we didn’t, we’d be dead. However, much like onion rings and ice cream, too much of a good thing can be bad, and some stress is simply OVER. THE. TOP!
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
~ Matthew 11:28
When the stress feels all-consuming, our parenting can come out sideways. We know it when we look in the eyes of our children or hear the unkind way they are talking to each other, and we recognize our own voice and words coming out of their mouths.… continue reading
By: Sara Goff, Ask NOW column
Can you imagine emotional pain so deep it seems only physical pain can alleviate it? Can you imagine cutting yourself to ease tension? One out of eight people in the United States practice NSSI, or Non-Suicidal Self-Injury, and it is most common among adolescents, generally starting between the ages 12 and 15.
Click to Tweet: Cutting is an attempt to escape negative feelings.
If you think about it, emotional pain has no boundaries or time frame. It lingers and escalates without warning, and it gives you every reason to believe you’re doomed for life. Physical pain, however, generally has a beginning and an end. There’s even a rush when the worst is over. The initial sting leaves you feeling relieved–and relief from pain is a good thing. Right? Believe it or not, there are lots of ways to justify cutting: “It makes me feel alive.” “I deserve it.” “My boyfriend (or best friend) does it.” Or, simply, “I can’t stop.”
Cutting is an attempt to escape negative feelings, and it can be as addictive as abusing drugs or alcohol.… continue reading
By Wendy Fitzgerald, the On Cause and Effect Column
Choosing the Moments…Planning for the Future without Fighting about it
Recently I had a conversation with my teen daughter. We were discussing the options she had for classes during the upcoming school year when she made a statement that bothered me. She said, “Everybody has been telling me that I need to have the ‘high-school experience.’” At first, I could not put my finger on why the statement bothered me. And so, like every good mom, I started saying all of the wrong things. Soon we found ourselves fighting from opposite perspectives toward the outcome. In retrospect, I probably should have taken the time to ponder my thoughts, pray over them, and bring them up at a time when she was ready to listen. Nonetheless, I did not, and we found ourselves in a heated conversation for over an hour, with tears in our eyes, before we were able to see the other’s perspective.… continue reading
By: Nate Stevens, Preparing Teens for Marriage
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25 / NIV)
Many men are willing to die; not enough are willing to truly live. Dying is easy; living is hard.
Dads, this one is for you in your role as fathers. Many fathers find it difficult to express genuine emotions or to be an emotional support for their families – even though they do feel genuine emotions inside. The difficulty men face is expressing authentic emotions effectively in a society that has conditioned them to hide their emotions.
Unfortunately, in our country emotional expressions are stereotyped by gender. Girls are conditioned to believe it’s okay to cry when hurt. For boys, it’s never okay to cry; when hurt they must suck it up and play through the pain. Girls are encouraged to express emotional authenticity; boys are encouraged to bottle everything up inside.… continue reading
By Tara Fairfield, the On Identity Column
TAMING THE TONGUE
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. James 3:9-10
Every word passing our lips is either a blessing or a curse. We can build up and encourage those we love or damage their self-esteem. As a young mother, I desired to instill in my children confidence, faith in Christ and loving hearts. I have to admit, my words did not always match my intent, and taming my tongue was one of the most important lessons God worked in my heart. I hear conversations in a whole new dimension now and am amazed at how easily the tongue trips up even the most faithful of believers.
Here are some of the most recent messages I’ve heard delivered to children by loving parents:
Stop being so whiny.… continue reading
By Amy Joob, On Emotions Column
As I hustled and bustled about town preparing for Christmas and mentally checking things off, I began to ponder all the expenses of this time of year. Not only do you have the regular bills, but then we add all the holiday activities, gift giving and travel and the unexpected things that happen, like your dryer breaking and car repairs.
I know for a number of years my mantra was, “work harder and all will be well.” I nearly worked my fanny off in the modeling and auto show industry zigzagging across the country and taking as many jobs as possible. I would count how many days I worked in a row (record is 42) or how many bookings I could squeeze in in one day (record is 3).
While our culture here in America praises this kind of work ethic, what does God really think?… continue reading