By Dr. James Dobson
Are you tired of those one-word answers your child or teenager gives in response to your questions? You ask how well he played in soccer practice, and he says, “Fine.” You wonder how he got along in school today, and he says, “OK.” End of the “dialogue.” Well, I have a suggestion that may help.
What is the process by which a happy, cooperative, twelve-year-old boy or girl suddenly turns into a sullen, depressed thirteen-year-old? It happens in almost every family...
You don’t have to spend huge amounts of money to have a meaningful family life. Children love the most simple, repetitive kinds of activities. They want to be read the same stories hundreds of times and hear the same jokes long after they’ve heard the punch lines.
Children inevitably become angry with their parents from time to time. Should they be allowed to express that emotion, and if so, precisely how?
Divorce carries lifelong negative implications for children. It’s now known that emotional development in children is directly related to the presence of warm, nurturing, sustained, and continuous interaction with both parents.
All that is needed to grow the most vigorous weeds is a small crack in the sidewalk.
Q: Would you identify some of the major "marriage killers" that are most responsible for the high divorce rate that plagues today's families?
A: It would take perhaps 50 volumes to describe them all, and even then we would only scratch the surface. Any one of the following "dragons" can rip a relationship to shreds if given an opportunity to do so:
By Dr. James and Shirley Dobson
Pride is terribly destructive to human relationships. It may be the sin that God hates most, because there are more than one hundred references to it in Scripture. Proverbs 6:17–19 describes seven things that God finds detestable, and the first one on the list is “a proud look.” If you or your mate have a haughty attitude that prevents you from seeking forgiveness and reconciling, it will damage your marriage.
Several months ago, I was driving my car near our home with my son and daughter and Ryan's three-year-old friend, Kevin. As we turned a corner we drove past a very old man who was so bent and crippled that he could hardly walk. We talked about how the man must feel, and then I told the kids that they would someday grow old, too. That bit of news was particularly shocking to Kevin, and he refused to accept it.
"I'm not going to get old!" he said, as though insulted by my prediction.
I've often heard that God will not abandon us when we go through the fiery trial. But I don't know what that really means. You've shown that He still lets us go through some hard times. What can we expect from Him in the stressful moments?
Question: In your book Love Must Be Tough, you suggested some ways unmarried people can build healthy relationships and not smother each other. Would you share those again? Would you apply the "tough love" principle to those of us who are not married? How does the issue of respect relate to our romantic relationships, and how can we build and preserve it?
Question: My husband is somewhat insensitive to my needs, but I believe he is willing to do better if I can teach him how I am different from him. Can you help me communicate my needs to him effectively?
Question: Some of my friends got married with the mutual understanding that they could bail out if it didn't work. In nearly every one of those families, they are divorced today. From what you say, I guess that doesn't surprise you.
Question: You've been happily married for more than fifty years now. Have you ever been tempted to be unfaithful to your wife? What are the danger points that those of us who are younger should watch for?
The key word here is expectations. They set us up for disillusionment. There is no greater distress in human experience than to build one's entire way of life on a certain theological understanding, and then have it collapse at a time of unusual stress and pain. A person in this situation faces the crisis that rattled his foundation.
Perhaps you are among those who have struggled to comprehend a particular heartache and God's reason for allowing it. A thousand unanswered questions have been recycling in your mind—most of them beginning with "Why...?" You want desperately to trust the Father and believe in His grace and goodness. But deep inside, you're held captive by a sense of betrayal and abandonment.
Here is a great list of proverbs that are intended especially for dads, but have just as much application for moms and grandparents too. Enjoy these pearls of wisdom!
“Provided now is a little ‘serendipity’ I am passing along to fathers, and also to mothers (and Grandparents). These selected short proverbs were compiled or written by Harry Harrison and published in a delightful little book entitled Father to Daughter: Life Lessons on Raising a Girl. As you read these quips and suggestions, you might want to underline those that stand out as particularly insightful. That is exactly what I did.”
Someone observed, "Values are not taught to our children; they are caught by them." It is true. Seldom can we get little Johnny or Mary to sit patiently on a chair while we lecture to them about God and the other important issues of life.
Adults will occasionally challenge one another for the same reasons they challenged their parents as children. Unconsciously, perhaps, they are asking the question, "How much courage do you have, and do you love me enough to stop me from doing this foolish thing?"
The amazing thing about mothers is that most of them would get this job done, and they would do it with love and grace. God made ’em good at what they do. And He gave them a passion for their children.
Your sharing must sometimes extend to difficult subjects. If you’re in charge of the family finances, and you’ve accidentally or foolishly depleted the bank account, don’t hide it—let your spouse know. If someone makes a pass at you at work, tell your partner, even if it’s uncomfortable to do so. As you work together to find the best solution for problems like these, you’ll grow closer.
Justice In The Home
Never Give Up
"Above All Else"
The Influence of Friends
From Mourning to Morning
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Connect With Dr. James Dobson
Dr. James Dobson is the Founder and President of Family Talk, a nonprofit organization that produces his radio program, “Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.” He is the author of more than 30 books dedicated to the preservation of the family, including The New Dare to Discipline; Love for a Lifetime; Life on the Edge; Love Must Be Tough; The New Strong-Willed Child; When God Doesn’t Make Sense; Bringing Up Boys; Marriage Under Fire; Bringing Up Girls; and, most recently, Head Over Heels.
Dr. Dobson served as an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine for 14 years and on the attending staff of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles for 17 years. He has been active in governmental affairs and has advised three U.S. presidents on family matters. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (1967) in the field of child development. He holds 17 honorary doctoral degrees, and was inducted in 2008 into The National Radio Hall of Fame. Dr. Dobson recently received the “Great American Award” from The Awakening.
Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley and they have two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and two grandchildren. The Dobsons reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
How to Raise a Brat
A Message To Husbands and Wives
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