Category Archives: Parenting

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The Grunt and the Gurgle: Communicating with Boys and Girls

We are so glad to feature a guest blog from our friends at Daystar Counseling in Nashville, TN. Research shows that girls are more attuned to the sound of human voices and seem to actually prefer the sound to other sounds.  From birth, baby boys and girls like to grunt and gurgle. The difference is that girls prefer people to interact with while boys are equally happy to chatter away at abstract geometric designs. The male brain is wired for activity while the female brain is biased towards the personal. The male brain is wired for activity while the female

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Parenting with Heart, Part 3

It was a beautiful spring night in early April. The trees were budding. The days were getting warmer, but the nights were still cool. Heather and Emma Claire were at a movie. I (Stephen) was bowling with our youngest sons, Henry and Teddy. Elijah was off at a friend’s house for a birthday party. We had just finished our first frame when my phone rang. It was the kind of call you never want to get. Heather was on the other end. She had a serious and panicked tone in her voice. “Stephen, they’ve taken Elijah to the hospital. He fell in a fire pit. Meet us there.”

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Parenting with Heart, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I (Stephen) was having a conversation with one of my sons and Heather in the kitchen. We were going round and round, and the conversation was precariously teetering on the verge of a blowup. My son looked me square in the eye and said, “You only listen when you’re talking.” I turned to Heather and said, “Is that true?” She said, “Yeah, it’s kind of true,” and we had a big ole laugh about it. His comment still hurt. It still stung. But he was right. The places our children can’t laugh with us are the places where we need to grow and heal.  

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Parenting with Heart

This is an excerpt from Parenting with Heart: How Imperfect Parents Can Raise Resilient, Loving, and Wise-Hearted Kids, by Stephen James and Chip Dodd  One of my sons (Chip's) and I went on a fly-fishing trip a few years ago. He was out of college, gone from our home, and moving out into the bigger world. Near the lodge where we were staying was a great place to sit and watch the stars come out in the big sky of the West. We sat talking and watching the moon rise and the stars come out. I have always loved him, and he cannot stop loving me,

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Learning to Fail

There is no doubt that our culture is bent on the pursuit of success; we see it everywhere. In turn, the idea of failure is one that we expend a lot of focus and energy avoiding and helping others avoid, especially our children.     In my First-Year Seminar course for new college freshman, we spend an entire class exploring “Failure” in order to expand our understanding about what it really is, and why we’re really afraid of it — why have we been taught to avoid something that’s likely inevitable, even helpful? A number of the sources we examine

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Sometimes It Hurts

The Gift of Living in Tension with Heartache There is great pain in trying to be authentic, living in the tension of family, work, faith, hobbies, and other responsibilities in a way that reflects who we want to be. The pain of not being with the people we most love is inevitable. From time to time, we all need some suggestions for how to live out our passions in this world, but too often we try to circumvent the pain of living in a broken world with strategies for success. But unless we have our hearts, all our strategies will

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What Your Adolescent Really Needs

Written by Melanie Rogers, MMFT, LPC-MHSP When I tell people I work with teenagers, I usually get some version of this response: "Wow, that’s a tough age. You must be really patient, brave, or crazy." I may be a little bit of all three. The changes that occur in the teenage years make working with (and parenting) teenagers both scary and (potentially) really fun. Whether the “issue” that brings an adolescent into therapy is anxiety, self- harm, sexual acting out, depression, or relational struggles, a parent’s biggest question is some version of: "How do I make my child's pain and suffering

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8 Principles and Practices for Parenting from the Heart

(From Chip Dodd's & Stephen James' upcoming book on parenting—Giraffes on Ice, est. pub. 2017) Sometimes parenting feels like we are trying to thread a needle while wearing mittens. By design, parenting is paradoxical and is wrought with challenges. Our children simultaneously... •  need our assurance and test us, •  learn from us and teach us, •  confuse us and remind us of what it was like for us in our youth, •  demand increasing amounts of freedom and desire security, and •  give us hope and scare us about the future at the same time. For even the most committed and

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Better Off Dad: The Biological Changes of Fatherhood

A man walks down the street with his wife, who is pregnant with the couple’s first child. With no kids, he has existed until now in his own orbit and paid little attention to the offspring of others. He notices a woman with a baby and the moment causes him some consternation — he feels very little for the child and worries that perhaps he lacks the empathy to be a dad. Are certain men, he wonders, hardwired to respond better to infants than others? Pregnancy and parenting research has disproportionally favoured mothers, for obvious reasons, but there is a

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6 Things the Happiest Families All Have in Common

Family life is hectic. Most of us play it by ear and hope it works out well. Or maybe you haven't started a family yet but when you do you want to do it right. Aren't there some legit answers out there about what creates the happiest families? Yes, there are. Read the full article on theweek.com.

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