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Archive for the ‘teens’ Category

“I don’t know what to do with my teenage daughter,” one of my young mom friends told me the other day.”My daughter is so different from me! She loves lace and frilly things, and I’m just not that way.”

“I published a parenting column years and years ago on that subject,” I told her. “When my daughter was in her twenties, it helped me a lot to re-read it. I’d ask myself, ‘Do I still believe this?’ And I did. Maybe you’d like to read it.”

She wanted it, so I emailed it, and she told me later that it helped her. Maybe some other mother will find it useful, too. So here it is:

Letting Daughters Grow

When our daughter Jessica was about 11 she went through an annoying phase in which she seemed to be putting me down all the time. “I like to be on time,” she’d say, “but you’re always late.”  Or, “You’re always forgetting things, Mom. I’m not absent minded like you are.”

I felt defensive and irritated by the barrage of apparently critical remarks until the day it dawned on me that Jessica was observing, not criticizing. She was looking at me closely, then looking at herself, and then trying to figure out which of us was which. (more…)

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 In September 1991, our 17-year-old daughter was living at the dorm and attending classes at New Mexico State University. I sent Jessica a letter to help her recognize manipulative messages and to show her the practical implications of the Christian faith in which we had raised her. Later, with her permission, I gave parts of that letter to several other young women who needed the same guidance. These are excerpts:         

 There’s a little song your grandparents and great-grandparents used to sing called “Gimme a Little Kiss.” It’s a funny ditty about a boy trying to convince a girl to kiss him. I always thought it was cute. A couple of years ago it struck me, though, that this song is a primer on classic manipulative approaches. Both women and men use these tactics to get their way. Sometimes people are unaware, or only dimly aware, of what they are doing – except that, if they’re honest, they’ll admit they’re trying to overcome the other person’s resistance in order to get their own way. People also use these tactics to weasel out of their legitimate responsibilities.

Here’s the song, with the lines numbered for my comments later:

(1)  Gimme a little kiss, will ya huh?

(2) What are you going to miss, will ya huh?

(3)  Gosh oh gee, why do you refuse?

(4)  I can’t see what you’re gonna lose, oh

(5)  Gimme a little squeeze, will ya huh?

(6)  Why do you wanna make me blue?

(7)  I wouldn’t say a word if I was askin’ for the world,

(8) But what’s a little kiss between a fella and his girl? O

(9) Gimme a little kiss, will ya huh?

(10) And I’ll give it right back to you!

(more…)

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Recently several people have asked me how I think Christians should respond to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) people coming to services in the church. My pastor asked. One of the moms in my Bible study struggles for wisdom to know how to respond to her son, who has come out as gay. Another Christian mom recently  asked me about her son, who was the one who got her going to church and now tells her that he has same sex desires. I think we will face this issue more and more because in the local high schools, being gay is the new cool. Since it has become popular, more kids will experiment and some will choose gayness simply because that’s the cool thing to be.

Behind the question, when Christians ask, is the idea that we should somehow straighten out gay people who attend services, that we should somehow try to make them change into heterosexuals. But that idea misses the point. (more…)

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             My sister phoned yesterday. In our conversation she mentioned that she is developing osteoporosis, and she warned me that her doctor said that women like us who need to take thyroid supplements are more likely to have problems with osteoporosis. We traded ideas for increasing our calcium absorption, like making sure we get enough vitamin D from the sun. I mentioned my practice of making bone broth, and she took notes.

            Now I’ll pass along the tip to you.

            It’s hard for the body to absorb calcium from supplements. Milk and milk products are much more easily absorbed, unless you are sensitive to milk, like me. I’m lactose intolerant. I only drink milk if I need a laxative. So my favorite source of easy-to-absorb calcium is the yummy soups and stews I make from homemade bone broth/soup stock.

            Whenever my family bakes, roasts, or broils a chicken or turkey, I make bone broth (also known as soup stock) from the carcass and bony parts. The basic idea is to extract as much minerals, flavor, and unrefined gelatin as possible out of the bones by boiling them in water. Here’s how: (more…)

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The Southwest Homeschool Network asked me to give a presentation for parents of Reluctant Readers for their conference last weekend. I don’t live with a reluctant reader anymore (he turned into a book-lover, grew up and left home) so I am lucky to have one who comes and visits me to remind me all about it. J is a first-generation American 12-year-old from a Spanish-speaking home, and he recently had to make the switch from a bilingual program at school to all-English. He told me once how discouraged he felt with it, so I said he could come once a week and we’d see what we could do.

J spent the whole evening here last Wednesday. A lot of that time didn’t seem to have a thing to do with reading, but as I recalled that evening in the light of preparing for my presentation, really it ALL had a lot to do with reading. For example, when J’s mom drove him to my house, she had most of the family with her – four kids and her 80-year-old father. She and her teenage daughter needed to talk to me in the kitchen, so Grandpa stretched out on the grass under the mulberry tree in the front yard, and J ran off to the back yard with his two little sisters. There they found our granddaughters’ abandoned makeshift sandbox, their plastic containers, and a bucket of water. So they made a fancy cake out of wet sand in one of the plastic containers. They smoothed it and decorated it with pinecones – very artistic. And then of course, they had to show it to me when I finished talking to their mom. And of course, we conversed about it.

That’s where the first reading connection came in. (more…)

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