Why Your Kids Need An Imperfect Thanksgiving

Why Your Kids Need An Imperfect Thanksgiving - Parenting Like HannahI blame Norman Rockwell. Or maybe the Saturday Evening Post. Somehow they took a holiday that was created to be about families thanking God for His blessings and created a competitive holiday. Don’t believe me? Take a look at your local magazine rack. Thanksgiving issues are all about having the best turkey or sides ever. The photos are absolutely stunning, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never had a turkey come out of the oven even closely resembling those.

So, around the country moms start planning and purchasing days and even weeks before. Many start cooking on Wednesday and cook all day Thursday. Often the kids are shooed out of the kitchen and told to watch the parade on television or go outside and play with their siblings or cousins. Why? Because in order for everything to be “perfect” for the most important meal of the year, we just don’t want all of those little ones “under foot”.

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Beauty and Christian Teen Girls

Beauty and Christian Teen Girls - Parenting Like HannahWhat is beautiful? More importantly to your teen daughter – is she beautiful? It’s a loaded question and your daughter’s self-esteem, relationships and even her spiritual health can depend upon how the topic of beauty is handled and taught by those around her. As her parents, you have a lot of influence in how she views herself. But how does a Christian parent balance the concepts of humility, beauty, self-esteem and inner versus outer beauty.

It’s a minefield for sure, and one the social media beauty expert Chelsea Crockett attempts to tackle in her new book Your Own Beautiful. Crockett, known for her BeautyLiciousInsider videos, has attempted to address a lot of topics of interest to teen  girls. The book covers everything from beauty to boys from a Christian perspective.

Barely into her young adult years, Crockett knows what is important to tween and teen girls. She attempts to address those topics from a Christian perspective, and most of the time she succeeds. She has great practical tips on things like Bible study and accountability.  As often is the case with this type of book, the author shares how she strayed from God for a bit and what she learned in the process. (Which is great, but I still would appreciate an occasional book from a teen who didn’t go “off the rails” – not perfect, but who was as consistent as any of us at trying to live the life God wants for us.)

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Top Tips for Teaching Christian Teens About Dating, Purity, Sex and God

Top Tips for Teaching Christian Teens About Purity, Sex and God - Parenting Like HannahIf you believe sitcoms, sex is the topic most parents want to avoid talking about with their kids. It’s unfortunate really, because as recent events have shown, handling sexual desires in ways that aren’t pleasing to God can cause a myriad of negative consequences. In fact, ungodly sexual behaviors have destroyed not only the careers of politicians, Hollywood types and more, but often their lives and families as well.

It’s somewhat understandable we are uncomfortable talking about something with our children, that is meant to be so special, so meaningful and so private in the context of our marriages. Yet because we aren’t having these vital conversations, our children are picking up their knowledge from their peers, movies, television shows, music and even pornography. No wonder so few young people are doing what God wants for them and from them regarding sexual purity and their dating relationships. They honestly have no idea what God expects and the possible consequences of disobeying Him in this area.

So what are some important principles and tips to teach your kids when you begin talking with them about dating and sex? Here are a few of my favorites.

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Open Letter to Christian Parents of Young Men

Open Letter to Christian Parents of Young Men - Parenting Like HannahWhen I was a young teen, my older girl friends at church would tell me they often got the most pressure to ignore God’s commands for sexual purity from the Christian guys they dated. I thought it was rather strange at the time, but when I started dating, I found much of the same dynamic. As I dated more, I realized part of the reason why this often happened.

It wasn’t that non-Christian guys were somehow more moral in their dating behavior. It was merely that to them, Christian girls were somewhat of a mystery. They were more afraid of what God might do to them if they caused a Christian young woman to go against what she had been taught God wanted, than were Christian guys. They also seemed to have a bit more respect for helping a Christian young woman keep what they saw as her promise to God. Those non-Christian guys who knew sex was more important to them than dating a great Christian gal, often just never bothered to ask her out.

As I became a parent and began talking to parents, teens and young adults, I realized a more serious dynamic was at work. The average teen and young adult male has gotten much, if not all, of his knowledge about sex, love and purity from his peers and media of some sort. He has not been taught much of anything about the topics at home or church. If he were told much of anything at all, it was usually. “It’s a sin. Don’t do it.” or the ever popular, “Just don’t get a girl pregnant. I’m too young to be a grandparent.”

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Marriage and Money for Christians

Marriage and Money for Christians - Parenting Like HannahResearch just about any study on marital problems and the top topic mentioned is finances. Bring two people into a marriage with two very different ways of handling money and the results can be disastrous.

To be the best possible Christian parent, it is also important to have the best possible marriage. For many, this may mean finally resolving those money issues that cause constant conflict in your marriage. It’s also vital to develop healthy and godly money management skills so you can not only care for your kids, but also help them make wise financial decisions in their own lives.

So, I was interested when offered the opportunity to review the book Money Problems Marriage Solutions by Chuck Bentley. Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries. Crown was founded by Larry Burkett – the Dave Ramsey of the 1970’s and 80’s. I had heard of Burkett when I was young, so I was curious to see how this ministries financial advice compared to the more familiar Ramsey model.

The biggest difference is that this book seems to focus on viewing the money issues in an effort to improve marriages, not just financial issues. The financial advice is very similar to that found in other similar type books. That’s not a negative – how many habits are there that people need to have to stop wasting money and creating huge debt.

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)