What A Depressed Christian Can Do

by Dennis Gundersen | 7/7/2016 | 4 comments

Guest Post by Dennis Gundersen  I’ve often heard it asserted that there’s no way a Christian should ever be depressed, and that if you are, it’s a sinful state of mind and you need to repent. Is this true? Or is it just one of many conditions of life we experience, and in which we…
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July 4th, 2016

Celebrate Independence Day!

by Hal and Melanie Young | 0 comments

Are you worried about our country? Lots of us are. Last year on our podcast, Making Family Life Practical we gave an answer to our friends posting on social media that they are so worried about our country that they don’t really feel like celebrating the Fourth of July.

Scroll down for our Independence Day gift for you!

MBFLP - Celebrating the Fourth When You are Worried

Is it even okay for a Christian to celebrate Independence Day? We’ve heard Christians arguing that we should not because the American Revolution was a rebellion. Is that true? That’s certainly the way King George saw it, but that’s not what the Christians of the day thought. They argued that since the signing of the Magna Charta, Britain had been a nation ruled by laws, not a man. King George had violated those laws that even he was subject to, that he had broken his side of the governing covenant and the Colonies were free to leave. They believed they were loyal to a higher authority than King George.

We would love to share our Independence Day Celebration Guide with you! It has the documents, songs, verses, and recipes you need to celebrate with your family in a way that you can feel good about! Sign up for our encouraging newsletter below and we’ll take you right there!

June 20th, 2016

101 Great Answers for “I’m Bored” This Summer

by Hal and Melanie Young | 3 comments

Kids these days are so over-programmed it’s ridiculous. They go to this camp and that one, moms run them to classes and clubs. When we were kids we made our own fun and it really was fun! Here are some of the things we used to do that you can suggest to your children when they say, “I’m bored!”

101 Inexpensive Ways to Beat Summer Boredom

1. Go outside. Turn off the devices and get moving. You’ll feel better, have more fun and be more imaginative, children of mine!

2. Somersaults. The secret to somersaults is to tuck your chin. Tell them, “Tuck your chin right down on your chest. Now, close your mouth. Roll, baby, roll!” It’s easy and fun and hard to hurt yourself if you just tuck your head down.

3. Sprinkler fun. Put on old clothes or swimsuits, set up a sprinkler and run over and through it!

4. Popsicles. If you must, make them yourself, but every child ought to try those old-fashioned straight-line cheapo ones. They’re just fun.

5. Play Pretend. We used to climb in the old bass boat under my grandfather’s carport and pretend we were customs agents, explorers, fishermen, ferry operators, wildlife agents, and more.

6. Bike-riding. If you can’t afford bikes, check out yard sales, craigslist, and thrift stores.

7. Build forts in the hedges. Keep some old sheets on hand for this kind of thing. I remember how much fun it was to find a tree or hedge that had a secret open place on the inside. Take some treats in there and have a picnic or rubberband guns and have a war! Continue reading »

June 15th, 2016

When Do You Step In When Boys Are Wrestling?

by Hal and Melanie Young | 8 comments


A reader asks, “When do you step in when boys are wrestling? My 10 & 8 year old boys are constantly in some form of a challenge on the trampoline, in the yard, on the lake, in the house, etc.”

RRM Fighting and Wrestling When Do I Intervene

The way boys are always wrestling can be pretty frustrating, especially for moms. It’s hard to know if or when to step in and if you don’t, it seems like it often ends in someone angry or in tears. It’s important for boys to learn to be comfortable roughhousing with other boys and testing their strength against one another. Having physical courage is an important part of being a man and being comfortable in the role of protector. How do you keep it safe and healthy, though?

Our rules are pretty simple. For one, you don’t wrestle in the living room or kitchen. I would like to have a few nice things when they’ve all left home! The kitchen, on the other hand, is just too dangerous with boiling water, hot grease, and sharp things lurking around.

The other rule is that if anyone says, “Stop!” or “Knock it off!” it must stop immediately or you are a bully and we discipline quite firmly for being a bully.

Wrestling When to Step In

We explain it to them like this: When fighter pilots are training, when they are doing war games, for example, if anyone broadcasts, “Knock it off!” they immediately disengage and separate. That means there is some danger or some other reason that they need to stop for everyone’s safety.

In the same way, wrestling is a war game; it is practice combat. Because it’s practice — You certainly have no intention of hurting your brother, at least, you’d better not! — there’s got to be a way to call it off if someone is getting hurt or needs to stop. If you can’t keep this rule of mock combat, then you aren’t mature enough for war games and you won’t be allowed to wrestle.

This works well for toy sword play, rubberband guns, any kind of play that involves pretend fighting. We believe that mock combat is appropriate for boys to play because one of their God-given roles is to be the protector of their family, and if needed, their community and nation. This is just an easy way to keep it healthy between brothers.

Your friends,Hal and Melanie at Science Museum 150

Hal & Melanie

For more on how to help boys turn their natural aggression to righteous purposes, plus lots more on raising boys, check out our award-winning book, Raising Real Men!

June 1st, 2016

Dating and Courtship: On the Other Hand

by Hal and Melanie Young | 12 comments

A while back, we were in a group of homeschoolers having a spirited discussion over our blog post, It’s Just Coffee. Suddenly, Melanie noticed that the woman arguing most strenuously against it was wearing a ring on her left hand. Melanie thought, Oh, maybe she found a mate through a very regulated model of courtship. Maybe that’s why she’s so adamant. “Oh, you’re married then!”

The girl looked puzzled. Melanie pointed to her ring. “Oh no, I’m not married! That’s a purity ring.”

RRM Purity Rings V

“Then you need to move it to the other hand!” Melanie said, “If a guy sees it, he’s going to think you are taken and never even try to get to know you.” Continue reading »

May 24th, 2016

Q&A: My Son Is Stealing Food…

by Hal and Melanie Young | 4 comments

A Facebook reader asks, “How do you deal with sneaking and stealing food and then lying about it?

My son (18) has been sneaking and stealing food for YEARS. If it’s there, he will take it. If I make cookies or brownies, he will help himself with no regard for others. If my husband gives me chocolate for Valentine’s Day, he will steal it. If there are dinner left-overs he will help himself to as much as he wants of them for lunch the next day with no regard for what his sisters will eat.

RRM Stealing Food What to Do

He seems to have an entitlement mentality that he somehow deserves it and should have preference. He doesn’t seem to care that he’s taking food out of a family member’s mouth or depriving them of a treat or leaving them with nothing to eat.

I have tried all sorts of discipline. I have tried to appeal to his heart. I have taken him to God’s Word. I have tried having fruits and veggies available, but I can not afford to allow unlimited access to snacks.

We’ve gotten to a place where I have to count out the cookies when I make them and tell each person exactly how many they may have, and still he will take more and then deny it. The stealing is often compounded by lying. This has been a battle for years, and I am concerned about sending him out into the world without having experienced victory in this area. Thanks!”

We see several issues here.

First, he’s hurting those he says he loves, so he needs to be held accountable. It needs to cost him. Every once in a while, someone around here will eat something I was saving or that someone else was. My reaction, especially with young men this age is, “Okay, get in the car and go buy some more. You know that wasn’t yours. Yes, you pay for it. Buy a little extra, too, as an apology.” And hand them their keys and hold the door open. That pretty much cures it.

RRM Son is Stealing Food

Also, his sin needs to be rebuked. When he gets back, I’d say, “You know, eating that when it didn’t belong to you was unkind. We’re supposed to “count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3) It’s also stealing and the Word says, “You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:15) As a young man who claims to be a believer, you ought not to be doing things like that.”

And stop there. You don’t need to be the Holy Spirit. Just bring the Word to your son’s mind and let the Holy Spirit work. Don’t let this become a battle between you and him. Keep your temper.

Lastly, he may just not be getting enough to eat. Boys that age eat a LOT. If you guys eat a lot of low fat foods, especially, he may not be getting the raw calories he needs. Our son who is an athlete eats six scrambled eggs for a snack — and you can see his ribs!

Of course, that’s no excuse for sin, but there’s no need to tempt him unduly, either. Have some protein/fat foods that he can eat freely available to him. Eggs, cheese, milk, nuts are good options.

This parenting thing is tough, no doubt about that, but it’s really tough when you have an almost ready to be independent adult acting like a child. You’ve got to hit the balance between being as iron sharpens iron, rebuking them when they need it, and respecting the fact that they are almost old enough to just walk away. You just can’t treat them like children, even when they act like it! It’s a balance that can have a profitable result in their lives, though, when you get it right, so it’s worth the battle.

Your friends, Hal and Melanie Twinkle at Church Large

Hal & Melanie

May 4th, 2016

Hope in a Grim Election Year

by Hal and Melanie Young | 2 comments

This morning my Facebook feed blew up with grief and anxiety that the choices we’ll face in the November election seem to be reduced to two people with little or no regard for the Constitution, no concern for anything other than personal power, and very questionable character.

It’s pretty easy to feel despair today, but should that be our attitude as Christians? This is hardly the first time the church has lived under a hostile government. After all, the church first spread across the world under maniacs like Caligula and Nero. That’s not exactly what we want for our children, though.

RRM Hope in a Bad Election Year

My friend Laura posted a few verses that reminded me that we need to remember who’s in charge here.

” …..For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Romans 13:1

“Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above…..” John 19:11

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

” The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.” Psalm 103:19

” Only I can tell you the future
before it even happens.
Everything I plan will come to pass,
for I do whatever I wish.” Isaiah 46:10

Our friends Fletch and Kendra of Homeschooling in Real Life often talk about the danger of hope-shifting – putting our trust in something other than Jesus Christ.

RRM Hope in a Grim Election Year

Our hope is not in good candidates. Our hope is not in the Constitution. Our hope is not in any political party. 

“Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.
Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God …”  Psalm 146:3-5

God is still sovereign. He still loves His people. He has purpose even in trials that affect whole nations.

Our hope is in Jesus Christ. 

With that in mind, what are we to do? Where do we go from here? We’re not sure what to tell you about voting, but we are sure about this: Our fate is in the hands of the sovereign God. The best thing we can do is pray.

Worried about the country? Pray.

Hear someone talking about Clinton and Trump? Pray.

See a campaign sign? Pray.

See political ads online? Pray.

Teaching your children about the Constitution? Pray.

“…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

That’s our hope. Our hope is in God. Really, that’s all the hope we need, isn’t it?

Your friends,Hal and Melanie Urban Street Cropped

Hal & Melanie

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April 21st, 2016

A Homeschool Dad Test Drives The New Tesla

by Hal | 4 comments

Davis Carman is a friend of ours (and the owner of Apologia Educational Ministries). He’s also a mechanical engineer and a car buff. Recently he got to test drive the new Tesla Model 3, and his initial response was so enthusiastic we asked him to give us the full story. 

Is It Ludicrous to Test Drive a Tesla?

Guest Post by Davis Carman

Blog - Tesla - V


On March 31, 2016, I watched the product-launch video for the new Tesla Model 3, the first mass-production vehicle from Tesla Motors and its founder Elon Musk. Within twenty-four hours, Tesla had taken 100,000 pre-orders for the car.

The company’s first all-electric vehicle was a high-priced, low-volume roadster that few people noticed. They then introduced the Model S several years ago, attracting a few more buyers. A recently launched high-end SUV is also available, designated as the Model X.

As a mechanical engineer and car enthusiast, I’ve followed Tesla with considerable interest. After watching the launch video, I decided it was time to schedule a test drive, which took place on Friday April 15, 2016. No surprise, I found it a much more enjoyable way to spend the day than working on my taxes.

It’s important to note that I took my two youngest sons with me, age twelve and fourteen. This is one of the advantages of homeschooling. They were anticipating the big day, and they were not disappointed. I do believe I earned a few Dad-of-the-Month kudos that day.

Let me cut to the chase: I was blown away. I was ready to be wowed, but the tour and test drive far exceeded my wildest expectations. Here is my review of this absolutely amazing vehicle.

All-Electric Design

What immediately struck me was the simplicity of the design. There is no complex mass of hoses, wires, belts, fans, pipes, and metal parts. The only compartment I found for a fluid was the windshield washer. The underside is a clean and flat piece of metal, which holds the batteries.

This is an all-electric vehicle, which means you will never run out of gas because you will never buy gas again. You simply plug it into an outlet at home each night and wake up to a fully charged battery the next morning. The Tesla Model 3 has a range of 215 miles. A twenty-minute stop at one of the fast-charging Tesla stations will charge your battery up to 80 percent full, just enough time to grab a quick meal. With more than 600 locations and 3600 Superchargers strategically placed throughout the United States, it is now possible to drive cross-country in a Tesla. By the way, you get free electricity at all Tesla charging stations for life. Sweet!

Little to No Maintenance

Not only will this vehicle never leak oil, but you will never again need an oil change. The electric motor doesn’t require lubrication. There is no radiator to fail, no timing belt to break, no tune-up every 20,000 miles. There is simply no scheduled maintenance required. It’s that awesome!


The key fob resembles the car. My boys liked that touch. A tap on the rear opens the trunk. A pat on the front opens the hood. Otherwise you just keep the keys in your pocket.

Trunk Space Front and Back

The rear trunk is more spacious than that of any vehicle I’ve ever seen and has a greater capacity than most SUVs. And because there’s no bulky engine, the front compartment doubles as extra trunk space.

Body Design

You won’t find a typical grill on the front of a Tesla because the engine doesn’t require air flow for cooling. The body design of the front end emphasizes this fact. You also won’t find a gas cap messing up the clean lines of the body panels. But there’s got to be a place for the electric plug to attach somewhere, right? Yes. Tap the driver’s-side rear light, and it pops open, providing access to the electric plug—definitely a cool feature. In fact, I tapped it open and closed several times just for fun.

Flush Door Handles

When you walk up to the car with keys in your pocket, the sleek and flush door handles pop out. This allows you to pull the door open and step into the seat. Once the door is closed, the handles pop back into place, restoring the car’s smooth, sleek look and again upping the cool factor.

Roomy Interior

Inside, the car had so much room; it almost felt wrong. There’s no big, bulky transmission taking up space between the driver and passenger, and no driveshaft means there’s no hump in the floor in the back seat. The extra room makes the car extremely comfortable.

Large Sunroof

An all-glass roof blocks out 98 percent of the sun’s rays, yet you can see out just fine. When fully open, the sunroof creates the largest opening I’ve ever seen. I personally like sunroofs—the larger the better. You can easily adjust the size of the opening with the touchscreen control panel.

Touchscreen Control Panel

Speaking of controls, the heart of the technology is a massive seventeen-inch touchscreen control panel. I used the split-screen function to keep the wide-angle rearview camera on the bottom half and the GPS, power consumption, radio, or something else on the top half. The temperature controls are displayed on the extreme bottom of the screen for quick and easy adjustment. Navigating the screen was simple and intuitive for anyone who has ever used a smartphone app or tablet.

Quiet as a Mouse

Unlike a conventional car, you don’t start a Tesla. Once you sit down, it’s ready to go. Just put a foot on the brake pedal and shift into gear. Then press the pedal and you’re off. There’s no sound, vibration, or feel of an engine revving. It’s quiet as a mouse. Also, the car doesn’t coast when you take your foot off the “gas” because of the regenerative brakes. That took a little getting used to, but it was easy and I quickly grew accustomed to the new normal. The car was poetry in motion as it silently, smoothly, and artfully moved us down the road.


Blog - Tesla - H

Cruise control was a nice feature in its day, and today some cars are equipped with smart cruise, which causes the vehicle to automatically slow as it approaches a slower-moving car. Still others come with a lane-departure warning system that sounds a beep if you drift left or right. The new Tesla auto-pilot feature takes the next logical step. With a double click of the cruise control stick, the vehicle not only maintains a safe distance from all cars but also steers itself to stay in your current lane. When I signaled to move one lane to the left, the car automatically changed lanes, being sure to watch for any oncoming vehicles. The car stayed in the lane until I manually signaled left or right to tell it to change lanes again. After a period of time, the car will ask you to put your hands on the steering wheel to prove you’re still awake. If you fail to do so, the car will turn on its flashers and slow down until you retake the controls. I felt perfectly safe letting go of the steering wheel and allowing auto-pilot to move us down a crowded interstate.

All Wheel Drive

Tesla vehicles come standard with all-wheel drive. It’s designed this way in order to connect smaller electric motors to all the wheels rather than one big one in the front or back. The result is astounding in terms of control and performance. Tesla doesn’t make a 4×4 truck yet, but if and when they do, I have no doubt it will immediately be the most reliable in that market.

Ludicrous Acceleration

This is the feature I was most eager to test. A really fast car today comes with 425-plus horsepower and can do 0-to-60 mph in just over five seconds. Faster cars, such as a high-end Porsche, can achieve this feat in just under four seconds. The Tesla Model S comes in three varieties. The 70D can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. The 90D can do it in 4.2 seconds. The P90D surpasses them all with a 0-to-60 acceleration time of just 3.1 seconds. With a flip of a switch on the control panel, I was able to shift into “ludicrous” acceleration mode and do this in a crazy 2.8 seconds, causing the blood to rush to the back of my brain. My sons said the G-forces they felt were stronger than on any roller coaster they’d been on. I can’t think of a faster car on the road today. By the way, the top-end speed is 155 mph, limited by the computer.

Price Tag

The Model S starts at $70,000 and can cost as much as $125,000, depending on battery range, acceleration, and other options. The new Model 3 is considerably more affordable, starting at $35,000. As a result, I fully expect to see many more Teslas on the road in the days ahead.

The Only Letdown

The only disappointment I felt was when we left the showroom and walked back to my well-loved, eight-cylinder, gas-guzzling, eighteen-year-old BMW. Even though I’ve taken good care of Zidgle (as I affectionately refer to him), he has multiple maintenance and repair issues that pull at my time, attention, and money. I stepped hard on the gas pedal as we left the parking lot, hoping to feel some pride in its abilities, only to be sorely let down. It sounded tough, but the acceleration forces didn’t phase me a bit. I already miss that dizzy sensation that came with the immediate torque and blistering speed afforded by the Tesla’s electric motor.

What to Look for Down the Road

Personally, I believe this new vehicle is going to totally disrupt the automotive industry. Battery life already puts vehicles well in the 200- to 300-mile range. This will only increase as Tesla continues to develop battery technology. These vehicles are going to usher in a new era in which electric cars are commonplace. As of this writing, Tesla has received deposits for more than 400,000 units. Currently, the best-selling vehicles in the United States—the Ford F-150, Toyota Camry, and Honda Accord—each sells roughly 500,000 units per year. I fully expect the Tesla Model 3 to be the number-one-selling car in America by 2018.

My Best Analogies

Being a mechanical engineer and homeschooling advocate, I want to make two analogies that I think are appropriate. On the engineering front, comparing a Tesla to a conventional gasoline-powered car is like comparing a sixty-inch, flat-screen, Internet-enabled, high-definition television to a heavy 13-inch box with a fuzzy black-and-white picture and vacuum tubes.

Similarly, I would say that comparing home education to public schools is like comparing a Tesla to a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle. One of them employs archaic methods, is highly inefficient, and isn’t very exciting—but it’s what “everyone” drives. The other is simple, beautiful, high tech, and produces great results. Which one would you rather drive?

Walking by faith and enjoying the homeschooling adventure of a lifetime!

— Davis 

© 2016 Davis Carman


Davis Carman is the president of Apologia Educational Ministries, the #1 publisher of Creation-based science and Bible curriculum. He is also the author of four illustrated children’s books designed to instill a biblical worldview. Good Morning, God is based on Deuteronomy 6, A Light for My Path is an ABC book based on Psalm 119, and In the Beginning, is based on the Creation account in Genesis. His latest, Psalms to Know Early will be available the summer of 2016. He believes that if there was ever a time to homeschool, it is now!

You can find Davis’s blog here: www.homeschoolcastles.com
You can find Apologia here: www.apologia.com

April 13th, 2016

Five Ways to Help Teens with Moving

by Hal and Melanie Young | 2 comments

A reader asked, “We are moving across the country to North Carolina this spring or summer for a great job opportunity our family has been praying for. My 14 yr old son is taking it very hard (he is a believer). My husband and I encourage him and our other 4 children, and we concentrate on god’s faithfulness in answering prayers; but since I’ve never done this with an older, hormone driven child, I don’t want to make it worse for him. Anyone experienced this? Thank you.”

It is really hard to face major life changes at that age. The emotional rollercoaster that comes with the hormonal changes of early puberty makes nearly all kids feel self-conscious and awkward. Most of them believe (at least now and then) that nobody likes them and nobody cares about them. (For help with this, click here.) The idea of having to find their way in a whole new social situation is terrifying to them. There are a few things you can do to help, though.

RRM Five Ways to Help Teens with Moving V

Begin making connections now. Get in touch with some like-minded churches. Talk to the pastors, find out what they have to offer, make plans to visit as soon as you are there. If your child is in school, call the school they’ll attend and find out what it’s like and what extra-curricular activities are available. If you homeschool, contact the state homeschool organization in your new state and ask for local group contacts. Find out what is available, when they meet, all the details. You need to have a real plan to get plugged in as soon as possible.
Talk to him about the good things about your new area. For example, if you homeschool and you’re moving to North Carolina, you are almost certainly moving to a place with more activities than where you live now. North Carolina has a large homeschool population and we have homeschool bands, football teams, basketball teams and more. Wherever you move is going to have some advantage your current home doesn’t – interesting sites, new opportunities, something! Do some research and explain the blessings of your new area to your teen.
 Talk about the benefits of leaving baggage behind. For an awkward-feeling teen, that can be a real plus: No one will remember how awkward he looked at 11 or the stupid thing he did last summer. It’s a change to reinvent himself and that can be pretty attractive to a struggling teen.
RRM Five Ways to Help Teens with Moving H
Assure him he’ll be able to stay in touch with his old friends. Get him an email address. Get the contact info for all his friends. Set him up to talk to them on Skype every once in a while or to play games with them online or to watch a movie at the same time and chat about it on Skype. Those friendships may fade away over time, but for now, it will be a comfort.
Keep reminding him that you love him and it’s going to be all right. Sounds obvious, but teens are a mixture of child and adult and may need more comfort and reassurance than we realize. Remind him of the sovereignty of God. God knows what is best for him. It may be that something crucial for his future career will happen there or he may meet the girl that will one day be his wife. As Christians, we need to trust God when events are out of our hands like this. 
I think he (and you) will be surprised by how well the move actually goes. We remember having a very similar conversation with a young man in California a couple of years ago. They were moving to North Carolina, too, and he was miserable over it. We saw them again last year at the homeschool conference here. He told us he was so glad he’d moved. He loved his new friends, his new church, his new state! I hope your son will feel the same way.
Hal and Melanie Twinkle at Church Large
Your Friends,
Hal & Melanie

April 5th, 2016

Four Reasons You Need to Change Your Parenting Style

by Hal | 1 comment

Our oldest son shook his head, sadly.

“You never would have let me do that,” he said, watching a younger sibling.

We had to admit, he had a point. When he was that age, we were new parents, full of theories but short on experience. He was Offspring 1.0, and parenting was still something of a beta-test experience.

Looking back now on more than 25 years (and eight kids) of being Mom and Dad, we realize there were several points where our parenting philosophy changed – and needed to!

MBFLP - Changing Your Parenting Style

We changed when we realized we weren’t doing it right. Eldest son wasn’t old enough to remember what he did get away with, as a toddler. We were Christians from the start but we wanted to explain everything to our little guy, as if he’d say, “Oh! I get it! Of course that’s what I should do!” And at a critical time, we moved to a community which took a very critical view of any kind of correction of a child. By the time he was three, he was so undisciplined he was nearly unmanageable. Our pastor very politely shared some Biblical advice about balanced, loving, but purposeful direction—and we found life was much smoother with our younger kids!

This can go either way. Sometimes you start off so permissive your children aren’t being trained at all; other times, you may be so rigidly disciplinarian that children feel little love and much repression at home. The Gen2 Study last year found that young adults who experienced consistent, loving discipline as children were more likely to have a strong relationship with their parents and continue in the faith as grownups than children of parents at either extreme.

We changed when our family changed. We were blessed with six boys, one after another, and our parenting style was very boy-directed – firm, direct, challenging as much as affirming. Then God sent us girls, and we found the emphatic directions we gave the boys (“Hey! Don’t touch that stove!”) often startled or frightened the sisters. We had to learn a more gentle approach to guide our more-compliant children (i.e. the girls).

We also realized as the family grew, we didn’t have the luxury of spending every minute focused on one or two very little children. To keep the house and family on track, we had to learn how to give the older kids an appropriate level of self-direction and responsibility; Mama can’t always jump up to respond to other children when she’s nursing a baby!

MBFLP - Changing Parenting Style

We changed as we grew in experience and maturity ourselves. People laugh about how uptight they were handling their first baby, and how relaxed they were with the third or fourth one. Is it because experienced parents don’t care any more? Or babies born later are less demanding? Are we like Jacob who showed ungodly favoritism toward his youngest sons Joseph and Benjamin – with sad results?

Or is it because being a parent becomes easier as you gain wisdom and perspective? Of course you parent your youngest child differently than you did the first one – that means you learned something along the way!

And very importantly, we changed when our children changed. A pre-schooler needs very clear direction and consistent consequences for disobedience. A 9- or 10-year-old needs a lot of guidance, and not much independence. But a teenager is in the transition from childhood to independent adulthood – as we’ve said, we consider our young teens as “adults, in training” – and we the parents need to change from control to advice. You don’t expect to boss your 25-year-old the same as your 5-year-old, do you? The change in relationship needs to happen over the teen years, not as a thunderclap on their eighteenth birthday.

Most parents with more than one child have probably heard that complaint – that younger siblings get away with things. Did we change our parenting style? Should we? You bet – with good reason!

Now, how do you carry out that change without causing anger and resentment in your kids? Listen to our podcast on this subject!

Your Friends,Hal and Melanie Twinkle at Church Large 

Hal & Melanie

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