Talk To Your Teens About Marriage To Prepare Them For Adulthood
Q: My son and daughter are 15 and 13, respectively. I'm trying to cover all the bases in helping them prepare for adulthood. Is there something you've seen parents neglect or just forget to talk about?
Jim: Parents rightfully want teenagers to learn important life lessons -- financial management, work ethic, etc. And those are good things to teach to our children. But there's another topic moms and dads often overlook: marriage!
You're probably thinking: "Talk to my teenagers about marriage? I'm just hoping to get them through the dating years in one piece!" But conversations about marriage aren't something that should be ignored in the teen years.
Marriage is an enormous commitment, and yet parents generally do very little to prepare their kids for it. That's why I think it's best to weave healthy principles about marriage throughout a child's upbringing. Boys should be taught from a young age what it means to serve their wife, to honor her and to treat her with dignity. Girls should learn the value of motherhood and how marriage can enhance her identity as a woman, rather than detract from it.
Values like these can even have a positive impact on single young adults. They'll be better equipped to have a healthy dating life. And they'll also be more likely to wait for the right relationship, instead of jumping into the first thing that comes along.
So don't wait until your kids are deeply entrenched in a romantic relationship before talking to them about marriage. Proactively teach them how to have a healthy relationship, so they'll be able to make a good decision when it counts.
Q: How can we help our 2-year-old adjust to having a new baby sister? He whines and cries for Mommy (me) all the time, and lately he's been misbehaving as a way of getting our attention. Is this normal?
Danny Huerta, Vice President, Parenting and Youth: Yes, it's perfectly normal. Your older child has been the center of attention in your family. Now a screaming, crying little stranger has suddenly appeared on the scene and upset his world, demanding huge amounts of your time and attention. It's only natural that he feels a bit put out.
There are several strategies you can adopt to smooth the transition. First, it's important for Dad to take an active, involved role with both toddler and baby. When you're nursing or tending to the infant, your husband could engage the older child in some kind of fun one-on-one activity, giving the boy his full attention. On the other side of the coin, Dad could give you frequent breaks by changing, rocking, burping and generally helping care for the baby whenever possible. That will enable you to also spend some special time with your toddler each day.
Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus.
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