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‘Mommy, Daddy, I Have a Problem:’ Helping Children Deal With Adversity

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Someone once related to me the following quote:

“Little children, little problems. Big children, big problems”

As parents, we need to help our children deal with challenging situations. These situations will change based on age, situation and the nature of the problem. A younger child may struggle with sharing and...

Religious Development in Younger Children—the Cognitive

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Religious development can be understood not only in terms of the affective domain, the emotional side of belief that we spoke about last time, but cognitively as well. That is to say, how do young children think about God? What can they truly understand? Given that their ability to think in the abstract is limited, does that mean their belief is limited, too? Not necessarily.

In general, the younger the child, the more concrete may be their thinking. Hence the image of God as the old man in the sky with the long, white beard. And so their conversations with God can be pretty concrete as well. Witness the following selections from letters purportedly written by young children to...

Unraveled

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As one of six children, my family was split in half—the “big kids,” and “the little kids.” We were all roughly two years apart, born within 10 years of each other (two of the big kids were twins, and I was the self-appointed triplet). The big kids stayed up later, got to wash our hands first before meals (“oldest first!”), and made colored braces seem like a desirable thrill. But the little kids got to go to sleepaway camp at age nine, while we had to wait until middle school. Some of the younger siblings were not forced to become lifeguards like the big kids were. And they all got everything they wanted: clothing, cell phones, and more clothing, while we had a strict...

Voicing Concerns About School Bus Safety

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Englewood—Last June I received a very exciting letter; for the next academic year, my town would provide public bus transportation for my children to get to school.

My immediate joy was immeasurable. After five years of driving carpools, I would finally be free. No more buckling other people’s children into my car. No more fights over what song we will listen to next. No more worries about my minivan making it to school on icy and slushy roads.

Gone were the mornings where I would be woken up by a sick child and have to quickly and anxiously text the other moms in my carpool to see if someone could drive my shift that day. One year I had pneumonia and couldn’t drive for weeks. I...

The Soul of Parenting: Children’s Spirituality

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An infant has no sense of permanency—that’s one reason why they can play “peek-a-boo” forever; their brains are not developed enough to understand that you haven’t really disappeared behind the hands covering your face. A young child cannot understand that taking that candy from the store is an immoral act, hence you have to tell him that he’ll be punished if he does it. In other words, our brains develop over time and with it comes our ability to understand right and wrong. What about our religiosity? How does it develop?

Needless to say, this, too, is a subject of debate among social scientists. There are those who say that kids have an innate sense of spirituality and...

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