Q: How do I know if I'm "enabling" my husband's compulsive gambling problem? I don't want to do anything that might encourage his behavior.
Jim: I've tapped our staff counselors for this answer. "Enabling" is essentially any action that makes it easier for the addict (in this case, the gambler) to pursue his addiction (gambling). It's an ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: Neither of my kids (13- and 15-year-old boys) do any homework without prodding, and then they don't even bother to turn it in. It's like they have no ownership of their schoolwork. Please help me help them before they flunk out. -- Concerned Dad
Dear Concerned: I'll give you my recommendation, but I can tell you right now ...Read more
Lately, board books offer much more than simple stories (though those are vital to tots' development as well). These let babies, toddlers and preschoolers touch, spin, pull tabs, listen to animal sounds and learn about fine art.
"Fly" by Xavier Deneux; Chronicle Books; 16 pages; $17.99.
This joyous celebration of natural life is the newest ...Read more
Question: Our 17-year-old son is an unmotivated student. A junior in high school, he is clearly capable of making straight A’s, but typically makes B’s and C’s. He plays on both the football and tennis teams, but is a standout at neither. He thinks kids who use drugs and play video games are “stupid” and his friends are all ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My 15-year-old son repeatedly calls his little sister "Fat A--." These words are demeaning and taking a toll on my shy and big-for-her-age 9-year-old daughter. We have made him apologize, taken privileges away, had him do push-ups and given him lots of other punishments. Do you have any suggestions to nip this in the bud? -- ...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: My 3-year old throws tantrums all the time. When she does it at home, I can handle it, but when we're out in public and she goes nuts, I find it very hard to cope. I've tried time outs, taking away treats, and pretty much everything else short of spanking, which I don't ever want to do. But she just keeps on resorting to tantrums ...Read more
Q: My father abandoned our family when I was young. Now that I'm getting older and really need his input, he's not here for me. Do you have advice for dealing with this pain?
Jim: If your mother is available, a starting point would be to tell her that you're having a hard time right now. Even if she's dealing with "stuff" of her own, she may ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My daughter is 13. At the end of the academic calendar, her school is going on a four-day class trip to Washington, D.C. She's a homebody and does not want to go. But I think it's important for her confidence, sense of self-worth, etc. I know I can't physically force her to go ... but can I make her go? -- Well-Traveled
As We Fight: A Weekly Guide Through the Warfare of WorshipMichael Lacey
52+ devotionals link modern church culture to specific times of the year, targeting 4 fights we face as Christians.
As a worshiper, this book will positively challenge your worship with fresh, measured perspectives to apply to weekly worship.
As a ...
Dear Family Coach: Lately, my 8-year-old son has been begging me to take him to a cemetery. He seems very curious about death, and I'm both uncomfortable and confused. We never talk about death or watch movies about death, yet it's on his mind. I can't imagine ushering him through a cemetery. What should I do? -- R.I.Parent
Dear R.I.P.: ...Read more
Q. My partner has two teenagers who live with their mother in another state. We see them on breaks and two to three weeks in the summer. They seem to get along quite well with my son who is about their same age. My biggest problem is that they don't eat the same way as we do. I don't buy junk food and we have a consistent time for meals where we...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I have a son, and since we both come from large families, we were looking forward to creating one of our own. But there are two problems. First, we were hit hard by the recent recession, and have yet to recover. As a result, we don't feel right having children that we can't afford. Second, because our financial problems...Read more
Q: Is it OK to connect with former lovers on Facebook? While browsing online, I ran across an old boyfriend from my college days. We haven't communicated for years, and I'm curious to know what he's been up to. I love my husband and our relationship is strong, so I don't see this as a threat to my marriage. Any advice?
Jim: Ironically, this is ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: This is probably going to sound weird. My children are 5 and 7. They're happy, healthy and well-adjusted, but I'm always afraid they're about to die. I check their breathing several times per night. Sometimes I even call the school office to make sure they're OK. I hate being this way, but I can't help it. What is there to ...Read more
Prolific poet and Newbery Medal-winning author Kwame Alexander releases a poetry gem, and a few other rhyming tales bring verse to springtime.
"Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets" by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth; illustrated by Ekua Holmes; Candlewick Press; 56 pages; $16.99.
His novel told in verse, "The ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: When we go on vacation, the trips often include long drives. My wife thinks it's perfectly fine for the kids to use their electronic devices for a big chunk of the journey. She says it's their downtime. I strongly disagree. Why do they need to be staring at screens for so long? What do you think? -- Car-Sick Dad
Dear Dad: ...Read more
In 2009, pediatrician and former medical school professor Bose Ravenel and I published “The Diseasing of America’s Children” (Thomas Nelson), in which we argued from facts that ADHD and other childhood behavior disorders were inventions of the psychological-psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry.
Cancer, high cholesterol, influenza, measles,...Read more
Q: My boyfriend of one year and I are considering moving in together. We have three kids -- my 13-year-old daughter and his two sons, 6 and 8. My daughter is not the easiest kid to be around. She recently got in trouble for losing her temper at school. I'm afraid if my boyfriend finds out he will think my daughter is a bad influence and not want...Read more
Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I are in our early 30s and want to start a family. To be perfectly honest, we've been regular weed and tobacco smokers for years. To get ready for pregnancy, though, we both quit cigarettes cold turkey. Beyond that, we disagree. I think we should also give up marijuana. My wife has reluctantly agreed to stop smoking, ...Read more
Q: I was adopted as I child. I can't help wondering -- why did my mom give me up? Why would any mom put her child up for adoption? I've been aware of the situation since I was small, and on the whole I'm very happy with my life, but I can't get away from nagging thoughts and doubts about my birth mother; like, didn't she care enough about me to ...Read more
Dear Family Coach: My daughter is 16 and wants a job to save money for college. The other day, she interviewed at a local store. She will likely get the job. Unfortunately, I have a longstanding boycott of this establishment due to some of its policies. Should I stop her from working there or get out of her way? -- Activist Mom
Dear Mom: Step...Read more