The Power of Pressing On Anyway

by Hal | 9/20/2016 | 0 comments

One of our sons called home from college and mentioned an introductory course he was taking in a foreign language. He had gone to the professor and asked him to call on him more often in class, because his spoken language wasn’t very good yet and he wanted to get better. It’s a refreshing thing to…
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September 15th, 2016

Five Ways to Get Dad Involved in Homeschooling

by Hal | 0 comments

One of the questions we hear is, “How can I get my husband more involved in our homeschooling?”

If you look around conventions (we travel to lots of them), admittedly, you do see a lot more moms than dads. It’s not just anecdote; a study published by the National Home Education Research Institute in 1997 found that 88% of homeschool instruction comes from mothers, and only 10% from the fathers. I asked the researcher, Dr. Brian Ray, if he thought that number was higher today, and he agreed that with the rise of telecommuting and more working from home (plus some issues with the current economic downturn), there probably are more dads doing day-to-day teaching – but it’s still a small minority.

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Shouldn’t he be more involved?  Continue reading »

September 5th, 2016

When You’re Worried Your Son Is Going to Go Too Far

by Hal and Melanie Young | 3 comments

A mom asked, We did the hard press for courtship/dating with a purpose. And it worked – sorta. My son is head over heels for his girlfriend. Sex is coming. It just is. They still say they want to wait. They aren’t rebelling by going to her apartment, but he’s in a battle between his hormones/desires and what he knows to be right.

But, it is gonna happen.

They do say they are marriage minded, which I believe. But, I’m just worried. And feeling like I’m watching an avalanche get started. And they are GENUINE when they say they want to wait, but I see it sliding faster than they can stop it.

RRM Worried That Your Son is Going to Go Too Far

First, it is NOT inevitable. We know many people who were sorely tempted, but made it all the way to marriage without sexual sin in their relationship. It’s important that you believe that it’s possible, because if you don’t, your son may not believe it, either. After all, you are mom.

Instead, you need to have a serious, calm, adult-to-adult conversation with him. If young adults are determined to sin, it’s very easy for them to do that, as you know. This has got to be their commitment. You can do a lot to help, though! Continue reading »

August 31st, 2016

What to Do When You Find Out Your Child’s Been Watching Porn

by Hal and Melanie Young | 2 comments

What should you do? Well, besides cry? It’s devastating to realize that the child you’ve prayed for, taught the Scriptures to, and tried so hard to protect has been looking at degrading and dehumanizing filth.

You’re not alone. Nearly all boys are exposed to porn before they are eighteen and the vast majority of them, long before that. When we first started talking about this, most of the parents we talked to that were dealing with this had 15- or 16-year-olds. Now we commonly hear from parents with children as young as seven to nine.

Although you’ve got plenty of company, how you handle it makes a huge difference in what happens in the future. Some parents blow it off as “boys will be boys,” but as Christians we know this kind of sin is displeasing to God. Other parents go postal, making their kids think they’ve done something that can’t be forgiven and has ruined their lives, but that’s not true. We’ve got to hit the Biblical balance of taking it seriously, but pointing them to the hope that is in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Here’s help to do that.

RRM Eight Things to Do When You Find Out Your Son is Watching Porn

Continue reading »

August 29th, 2016

Ten Danger Signs Your Son Is Watching Porn

by Hal and Melanie Young | 0 comments

We get messages all the time from parents who’ve found out their son is watching porn. In every one, the parents express shock. They had no idea, no clue that this was going on in their house, so they just aren’t prepared to deal with it. When we talk to them, though, the signs have been there, they just missed them.

Here’s some help so you don’t end up in the same place:

RRM Ten Warning Sign Your Son May be Watching Porn

We list several warning signs below, but understand, it’s not at all unusual to see one or two of these things in your kids and there’s nothing going on at all, but the question still bears asking. If you are seeing several of these things, then you’ve probably got real reason for concern. Continue reading »

August 29th, 2016

Q & A: Dealing With An Angry Son

by Hal | 4 comments

A reader asks what to do with a violently angry 11-year-old son who is fighting and hurting his siblings.  The father writes,

I’m dying here. My boy continues to be violent to his siblings…one in particular…and tells us he wants out of the family. I feel like a prisoner in my own family, needing to be here to police him. I can’t even leave for work this morning. He has completely shut us off. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

RRM My Preteen is Angry and Rough

Melanie Young Science Headshot 300px wide Close CropMelanie:

First, we are very careful to ratchet down our tempers – don’t yell, don’t scream, don’t lose it. Somebody has got to be the adult around here! Continue reading »

August 24th, 2016

Ten Practical Ways to Keep Kids Safe From Predators

by Hal and Melanie Young | 2 comments

The past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking to and praying for friends who’ve been dealing with a great grief. Their young son was molested while he was visiting with his beloved grandparents. It was a young adult, a trusted friend of the family, who victimized their child. The parents are heartbroken.

Sadly, this is happening more and more frequently. As more and more people become enslaved by porn, more of them will eventually act out their sick fantasies. Law enforcement statistics are showing this trend. It’s important that you take some basic precautions to protect your kids.

RRM Practical Ways to Protect Your Kids From Predators

 

1. Trust your gut. If you feel uneasy about someone, don’t let them be alone with your kids. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is trying to tell you something and you need to listen. Or, you might be picking up on subtle signals that you can’t easily identify, but that tell you something isn’t quite right. Or, both. Continue reading »

August 21st, 2016

Sharing the Gospel with Your Kids

by Hal | 0 comments

 

MBFLP 139 - Sharing The Gospel With Your Kids - V

As Christian parents, we probably all put right at the top of our list, “Teach our children to know and love and serve the Lord Jesus.” The stakes are high, and frankly, it can be a daunting thing to realize we have the biggest influence in our kids’ daily spiritual instruction!

Our friend Dennis Gundersen is a veteran pastor and the author of a thoughtful book called Your Child’s Profession of Faith. He’s been a friend of ours for at least twenty years, and we spoke to him on our podcast about some aspects of sharing the Gospel with your children.

How early can you teach your children about Jesus, sin, and forgiveness? “I can’t remember a time that we didn’t,” Dennis told us (he and his wife Naomi have four married adult sons). If the normal, everyday conversation in the home speaks about spiritual truth frequently, he said, then our children are going to hear spiritual truth from a young age … and often. Continue reading »

August 11th, 2016

A Case for Grace for Grandparents

by Hal and Melanie Young | 0 comments

Several times recently, friends have told us that they are just done with their parents. They’ve had repeated disagreements and arguments over the children and their family’s lifestyle choices. They’re so annoyed with the older generation, they just want to back out of the relationship.

This is kind of a shock to us. We grew up in the South where if you didn’t take your mom’s phone calls, she’d show up at your house and stand there on your porch until you did! “Family is family,” people would say when we were growing up.

“But, you don’t know my family!”

RRM Grace for Grandparents

True. There are truly dysfunctional families and frankly, broken personalities to deal with, sometimes. We’re not talking about the horrible situations that some of you face where you just must walk away. We have seen some families in that shape, sadly.  An abuser, for example, has broken the family trust and has no right to access to anyone.

For most of our friends, though, it’s not a matter of pathology or persecution, but a series of disputes about authority, discipline, household management, and respect for one another. Many of these things could be resolved! Breaking off contact is the death penalty of relationships, and it should only happen in the most extreme circumstances.

If you find yourself exasperated and chafing in your extended family relationships, consider this:

The way you relate to your parents and in-laws now is teaching your children how to relate to you when you’re the grandparent. 

Stop and think about that a moment.

By the time your children have children, things will be different than they are now.

Dietary advice will change. When we were children, our parents were told to choose margarine over butter – it was so much healthier!  When our children were little, research was just surfacing that trans-fatty acids in many margarines were actually more dangerous than butter! Depend on it, something you confidently feed your children now will fall out of favor when your grandchildren come along.

Safety advice will change. When we were children, car seats for kids were simply boosters to let them see through the windows. Seatbelts were optional and kids routinely rode unrestrained in the back of the station wagon or the bed of Dad’s pickup truck. When our first child was born, car seats were mandatory and had multiple attachment points; by the time our youngest came along, parents were required to keep children in booster seats until they were eight years old! When your time comes to load up grandchildren, who knows what contraption will be standard equipment? Will you find it irritating or frustrating to submit to new expectations that seem unrealistic, panicky, and alarmist?

Baby care advice will change. We’ve seen this ourselves over the twenty years we had babies in our house. First, they told us to always put a baby to sleep on his stomach, because he might aspirate his spit up and die. A few years later, the experts said no, always put a baby to sleep on his side; otherwise he might aspirate spit up or have SIDS and die. A few years after than, they said babies should always be put to sleep on their backs … or they might die. The advice was always earnest and urgent and ever so certain … this time.

Dear Future Grandparent: Trust us, you’re going to think the new advice is all a bit silly. After all, your kids did fine! Your children, though, will do some things differently with their kids than you did with yours. When they do, don’t you want them to have patience with you when you don’t quite get it?

Yet, we hear folks threatening to cut their parents off for just that kind of thing:

  • “My mom took our children to the bank instead of taking them right home. I know I shouldn’t have let them ride with her! How do I even know she kept an eye on them?”
  • “His mom just fed them junk food at her house. She gave them popsicles with artificial colors. I can’t believe she’d give them that kind of poison!”
  • “Their grandma let them watch cartoons and then took them to a movie we hadn’t approved in advance. I’m done with this!”

We get it. We really do. DISCLOSURE: We’ve said some of those things ourselves! We’re a little (well, a lot!) older now and our perspective has changed. Now we realize there are some very good reasons for choosing to overlook these things.

 

RRM Getting Along with Grandparents

We want our kids to know that relationships are worth fighting for. Every relationship between two sinners is going to involve conflict and compromise. We want our children to understand that by the time they’re adults. We don’t want them to be quick to walk away – not from us and not from their mate.

We want our kids to understand that there is more to life than the body and that relationships are more important than food. The Word tells us that

Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.

When we put what we have chosen to eat or not eat above our relationships with our family, above kindness and courtesy, we’re teaching our children the opposite of this verse.

It’s true that some circumstances are so serious, like a life-threatening allergy, that you have to handle them as medical issues and draw strict boundaries. And to be fair, it seems that some of these allergies are more common now than when we were kids … that’s real.

Much of what causes disagreement doesn’t rise to that level, though. Is it good for kids to have a diet rich in artificial colors or flavors? No. Will they be seriously hurt if they encounter them occasionally at Grandma’s house? No, again.

We want our children to learn tools for dealing with difficult people and uncomfortable situations. We travel a lot and we’ve enjoyed hospitality from people of all sorts. Sometimes, we’ve looked at our plates and had to decide – are we going to be picky and embarrass these kind hosts, or will we be gracious guests and ignore our usual preferences for an hour? When a conversation steers into controversies over politics, religious distinctives, or other areas of disagreement, have our children seen us answer softly and steer clear of arguments and offenses for the sake of relationships?

When our children see us behave like a Christian — with self-control, gentleness, and thankfulness — and when they watch us control our tempers and mouths when we’re provoked, we’re teaching them how to behave when they have challenges with other people. One day, no doubt, we’ll be that “other” person!

We want our children to learn to set loving boundaries. When we navigate awkward relationships in our family well, our children learn how to do the same. They learn how to refuse to be baited, how to change the subject, how to say no to a problematic invitation, how to tell someone to stop being a bully. and they see how to do those things like a Christian.

We want our children to respect their elders. Although it’s tempting to feel like our generation is the first to really be on top of it all, the Word of God tells us to honor our fathers and our mothers, to submit to the elders of the church, and to be subject to those in authority over us. When our kids see us honor our parents even when we disagree with them, they learn to respect the position and experience of their elders.

Ultimately, we want to show our children how we want to be treated when we’re the grandparents and they are the parents. We want a relationship with our children and grandchildren. We want to be a part of their lives. We don’t want to be cut off because we’re cranky or hard to deal with and especially not because we’ve made some kind of mistake.

If we want our children to treat us with mercy and grace that day, then we ought to be an example of mercy and grace for them now.

Give your mom a call. Invite your mother-in-law to come over. Family is family!

Your friends,Hal and Melanie at Science Museum 150

Hal & Melanie

 

 

August 3rd, 2016

Q&A: My 11yo Has Horrible Manners!

by Hal and Melanie Young | 0 comments

A reader asks, “I have been struggling with something that I’m not sure how to fix it our 11 year old boy is very very stubborn.

I almost feel like he does it for the attention or he just doesn’t care. At the dinner table he will eat with his hands burp without saying excuse me eat really messy where stuff getting all over the place not caring to clean it up and chewing with his mouth open not saying please or thank you with out being reminded too, just has bad table manners, manners period. We will remind him to close his mouth etc things like that and he’ll say I know I know but a second later he’s doing it again when he was younger he had amazing table manners.

RRM my 11yo has horrible manners

My husband’s getting frustrated because we took him to my in-laws for dinner yesterday we had a discussion with him before we went in about his table manners and he says I know I know ,we go in there and have issues again. It embarrasses us because my in-laws make comments of how that’s not allowed at their house but we don’t allow it either he’s just doing it. Its so frustrating and I’m trying to handle this the right way any advice on this would be great.”

There’s nothing like kids to keep you humble, is there?

We see three issues here and they each need a little different focus.

First, the grandparents. We’ve found ourselves in the same uncomfortable situation. In fact, it happened this morning! A child who definitely knows better will act like they’ve had no training at all in front of his or her very proper, Southern lady grandmother. Arrggghhh! That is so embarrassing! At this point, humility is probably the best course, saying something like, “No, we don’t allow it, either, and we’re working on it. Today is not a good day, though, is it? How did you handle things like this when we were growing up? What about when we were in public?” Getting them thinking back is likely to remind them that all children do this kind of thing at some time or another and even if it doesn’t, it shows you know what is expected and you’re trying — and allows them to be the experts! 

RRM My 11yo Has Bad Manners
You’ve also got to keep working on the manners, even though sometimes it feels fruitless. When our guys were ill-mannered and a quiet reminder didn’t help, we’d ask them to stand behind their chairs for a time. They had to stand there, quiet, until we told them to sit down. It is *very* hard for a boy that age to watch other people eat when they’re hungry, so that was very motivational! I would also make sure he cleaned up his mess after every single meal until it got better. When kids are responsible for cleaning up, making a mess isn’t as much fun.
 
The third issue is one you may not realize because we didn’t when our oldest was that age. When we hear about an eleven year old that can’t focus on what he’s doing and acts like he didn’t hear you, we know what’s going on — the first stages of puberty!
When the hormones start flowing, the brain starts changing. During the time it’s remodeling, kids are distracted, addled, forgetful, and just downright exasperating, sometimes! They genuinely can’t help it, though, and it will get better! Hard as it is, we parents have to be patient and merciful with them during this stage. It’s easy to break your relationship with them by losing your temper and getting harsh when they really don’t have much control over it at all. 

You can learn more about how to handle this age in a godly way that protects your relationship without ignoring sin in our online class for parents of preteens: Boot Camp 9-12. It’s one of the most popular things we do!

This is a frustating age, situation, and even topic. Teaching manners to boys isn’t easy! That’s why we spent a whole chapter on it in our book, Raising Real Men, and why we called the second half of the book, Civilization for the Rough!

Your friends,Hal and Melanie at Science Museum 150

Hal & Melanie

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