All children lie at one time or another. It’s so easily done. Often it’s not even noticed. Nevertheless, it is a sin. God demands honesty and truthfulness. Children lie because their sinful natures incline them to lie. While that is certainly true, it also raises the question of why some children are particularly prone to the sin of lying. Why does a child become a compulsive liar—one who is driven to lie repeatedly without any sign of remorse? Continue reading
Bradley was ﬁnally in bed, sound asleep. He looked like a little angel. Quite a contrast to his waking hours when he is loud, curious, and volatile—a machine, constantly moving. Welcome to the world of the two-year-old—a time of significant learning, strong wills, and temper tantrums.
A toddler’s developmental process gives special meaning to the phrase “fearfully and wonderfully made.” This is a time of great physical development, language acquisition, intellectual curiosity, and emotional development. It can also be a time of frustration, anger, precious moments, and loving interaction for both parent and child. Continue reading
How invigorating a child’s imagination can be! In the world of fantasy, a child is able to become an astronaut, a nurse, a basketball star, or a missionary to Africa. Pretending allows children to travel, to have superhuman strength, or to have an imaginary friend named Fred.
Parents sometimes become concerned, however, about their child’s ability to distinguish reality from fantasy, or they become afraid that their child pretends too much and will grow up unable to function effectively in the real world. For the most part, those fears are unfounded. Fantasy play gives children the opportunity to integrate elements of the real world into their world of make-believe. At such times, toys can help a child engage in the game of Let’s Pretend. Parents can guide fantasy play by selecting suitable toys for their child. Such toys enable children to drive a car, prepare meals, build a house, ﬂy an airplane, or put out a ﬁre. Continue reading
Gary and Marge have always said they’re going to talk to their children about sex. Neither of their parents had ever talked with them about sex, and now they recall how unprepared they felt about their own sexual development. Some of their learning was gained from dirty jokes and stories from friends. Much of their information centered on sexual activity. They are determined to do a better job; they just don’t know when. And they keep putting it off.
One Sunday afternoon as the family is home together, four-year-old Vicki asks, “Can I be pregnant?” Later seven-year-old Amy asks when she can wear a bra. Still later Dad finds 10-year-old Brian and 12-year-old Kevin looking and giggling at the ladies’ underwear ads in the newspaper.
Marge answered Vicki with a simple no. She told Amy, “Don’t worry about a bra yet.” Gary scolded the boys for having ﬁlthy minds. Missed opportunities! Continue reading
It’s almost the last thing we hear as we leave the worship service in church each week. The pastor instructs the people to “live in harmony with one another.” It’s an exhortation rooted in the last verse of Ephesians chapter 4, in which Saint Paul tells us to “Be kind and compassionate to one another.”
Kindness, compassion, and harmony do not seem to be a good fit in a society that places so much value on competition, assertiveness, and personal victory. Children do not automatically learn to be kind as they grow up. Nor is it their natural inclination. Children must be taught to be kind and compassionate. Continue reading
Our brains constantly receive and interpret messages that come through our senses. The brain recalls a sound as a siren or the word hello. It can recognize the face of a friend or appreciate beautiful scenery. It registers the feel of a blanket as soft and cuddly. The taste of chocolate is different from that of a lemon. The smell of perfume cannot be confused with the smell of a skunk. The brain recognizes and stores all these sensations for future use. This is how new information gets into the memory. That all this takes place with little effort on our part is a practical example of how we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Continue reading
Talk about a conversation killer. “So, I’m working on a new article and the topic’s depression.” The small crowd gathered around the party table seemed suddenly very intent on their meatballs and chicken wings.
“No comment,” said one, but still I pressed, knowing several there had struggled with depression in the past.
“Really? No comment?” And then the comments came: tales of crying for no reason at all; stories of indecision, even with choices as simple as sock color; recollections of sudden, angry outbursts; and then the soft voice of the wife of a depressive: “I didn’t even realize what was happening. It came on slowly, in little pieces.” Continue reading
Children are not born with a natural inclination to be responsible. It doesn’t suddenly appear at age 12 or in the first year of high school or when a teen gets a driver’s license. Children learn responsibility by being taught it, by practicing it, and by observing it in their parents. When we fail to teach responsibility, we are, in reality, teaching children to be irresponsible.
Already at two years of age, a child can be taught to put toys away, put dirty clothes in the basket, carry plates and cups to the sink after a meal. At this early age, children do not make a distinction between work and play. They are eager to do the same things that grown-ups do. But they don’t have the necessary skills, so a parent will have to do the activity with the child instead of just telling him or her what to do. Continue reading