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Mini-Resolution No. 4 – Game Night With Your Family

Restaurants are great places to gather with all your family, but they can get really expensive rather quickly!

How about a good old-fashioned game night. It’s so much fun to get together with your family and laugh the night away.

Here are 15 free or cheap ideas for your next game night.

Share your resolution stories with us by leaving a comment below or calling our studio line at 855-987-4463.

Food Allergies & Bullying

Does your child have a food allergy?  If so, he or she could be a target of bullies at school.

According to a new study reported by Medical News Today, food allergies can pre-dispose children to being bullied at school,

Researchers looked at 251 families from a New York City food allergy clinic.  They found that nearly a third of the kids have been bullied because of their food allergy.

Most of the kids said that their classmates had threatened them with the food to which they were allergic. They would wave it in front of them, throw it at them or tell them that they would sneak it into their food when they weren’t looking.

As you might expect, the study showed that bullying is associated with reduced quality of life as well as increased stress for the children and their parents.  Parents were aware of the bullying only about half of the time.  When they knew about it, the children’s quality of life improved.

The research team says that pediatricians and parents should screen for bullying in children with food allergies.

By the way, a separate study found that food allergies are associated with anxiety and loneliness in children. In fact, one out of five allergic children don’t attend classmates’ parties.  One in four of these kids say they always bring “safe food” with them.

To learn more about the new study and how you can help your child, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics’ website at aap.org.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Click here for the audio version of this article.

18 Point “Teenager” Phone Contract

1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren’t I the greatest?
2. I will always know the password.
3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad”. Not ever.
4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30pm every school night & every weekend night at 9:00pm. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am. If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.
5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It’s a life skill.
6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.
7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.
8-9. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.
10. No porn.
11. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.
12. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts. Don’t laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear — including a bad reputation.
13. Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.
14. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO — fear of missing out.
15. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.
16. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.
17. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.
18. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You & I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.

Mini-Resolution No. 2 – Send Your Pastor A Thank You Email

Today’s mini-resolution is to thank your pastor.  Send an email or drop a note in the mail to let them know you appreciate their leadership!

Share your resolution stories with us by leaving a comment below or calling our studio line at 855-987-4463.

Rude Grandson

Dear Dr. Bill,

My 9-year-old grandson likes to express his views in a rude and critical way.  Recently, I took him and his younger siblings on a trip to Florida.  But when things weren’t going the way he wanted, he began to criticize me about how his little sister who is 4, wasn’t having any fun.  In reality, I had made a special point of entertaining her while her brothers were fishing.

We seem to get into a situation like this every time we spend an extended amount of time together.  I love my grandson dearly, but I can’t stand his rudeness.  What should I do?

–Nicole

Dear Nicole,

If your grandson is rude and critical, that is a character problem that his parents need to deal with.  I’m assuming you’ve discussed this issue with his parents—if not, you need to.

Naturally you’ll want to choose your words carefully, and whatever you do, don’t criticize their parenting skills.  Instead, let them know how much you love your grandson and want him to succeed in life.  Explain that you’ve noticed he often expresses his opinions in a rude and critical way.

If his parents agree that it’s a problem, ask if they would like your input.  If they’re open to it, you might suggest they read a good book on instilling character in kids.  One suggestion is Jill Rigby’s book “Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World”.

If his parents deny there is a problem with his behavior and react defensively, there are obviously much larger issues at play in the family.  In that case, you can only control how you respond to your grandson.  Be loving but firm, and instruct rather than simply getting angry.

Thanks for writing Nicole.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

Click here for the audio version of this article.

Who’s Your Person of the Year?

It’s Garrett from Shine Afternoons….and the magazines have all announced who their Person of the year is, but what about you? Who is your “Person of the Year for 2012?” Is it your spouse, a parent, a child a co-worker or your pastor? For me it was my Step-Dad Roger who went home to heaven in June. He shared Christ with everyone he met, even as he was in the final stages of cancer. He encouraged me to love people no matter what….and I miss him a lot. Who is YOUR person of the year? I’m not looking for the usual “Big Names,” but those who influenced you in a BIG way in 2012.

Pinterest-inspired Jewelry Organizer

This year I was inspired by Pinterest and something my wife needed. So, my oldest son, Jake, and I took several ideas on jewelry organization from Pinterest and came up with this. What do you think?

Reconciliation

Dear Dr. Bill,

My ex-husband and I were divorced several years ago because he was not committed to spending time with our son.  He was not a Christian at the time.  But since then, he found the Lord and has changed dramatically.  As a result, we are thinking about getting remarried.  We both feel like our past issues have been sorted out, but we’re a little unsure of how long we should wait before making this new commitment.  What do you suggest?

–Lexi

Dear Lexi,

First of all, let me tell you how encouraged I was to read your e-mail.  In a day when divorce is so rampant and reconciliation is so rare, it was truly a blessing to hear your story.

Regarding your question, it’s hard to give you a specific timeline for remarriage.  You say that your “past issues have been sorted out,” but other than the parenting problem, I’m wondering what other issues you’ve worked through.

Also, you mention that your husband has dramatically changed since his conversion, but you’re a bit unsure about remarriage.  That leads me to believe you may still have some lingering concerns.

Jesus tells us that a “good tree produces good fruit.”  Given your past, it’s important to see the “good fruit” of your husband’s conversion manifested over time before you jump back into marriage.  Your son has already been impacted by your divorce, and you certainly don’t want to make matters worse by remarrying and then splitting up again if things don’t work out.

My advice would be to meet with a family therapist who can help you determine the best course of action.  He or she can help you fully explore whether you are truly ready for remarriage.

Thanks for writing Lexi.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” tab on the Family Expert page.

CLICK HERE for the audio version of this article.

Student Asks About Marrying In College

Dear Dr. Bill,

I am a 19-year-old college student on a full-ride scholarship. I’ve been dating my girlfriend for about 5 months and I already know this is the woman I want to marry. We were both raised in solid, godly families — and we’ve made a commitment to purity before marriage. After much prayer, we’ve decided we’d like to get married in 2 years.

The good news is that both sets of parents approve of our plans. But my parents disagree about the timing. They think we should wait until after I graduate. I think this issue is about their preference rather than facing the fact that I’m ready to make this decision for myself. What do you think?

–Cody


Dear Cody,

It sounds like you and your girlfriend are starting off with a good foundation. I also admire your decision to pursue sexual purity. However, at 19-years-old, I don’t think it’s wise to make a decision about marriage after dating someone for five months.

Your girlfriend sounds wonderful, and she may be just the person God wants you to marry. But during the first 3-6 months of your relationship, you’re in the “infatuation” stage. Your brains are releasing chemicals called endorphins, which contribute to a heightened sense of happiness and well-being.

During that time, we’re basically “in love with being in love,” and we’re unlikely to view our dating partner or our relationship realistically. That’s why I advise couples to date for at least a year before getting engaged. I believe it’s better to have a longer courtship and a shorter engagement, rather than vice versa.

Also, most people don’t know this, but research shows that people who wait until they’re at least 23 to get married, have a much lower divorce rate than those who marry younger.

You didn’t mention how old your girlfriend is, but I’m assuming she’s around 18 or 19. Although your marriage might work out fine if you marry during college, your chances for success will greatly increase if you give your relationship an extra year or two.

Thanks for writing Cody. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

CLICK HERE for the audio version of this article.

Exchanging Deep Relationships For Social Media

Some new stats on Americans’ use of technology are out, and some of them are startling.

Focus on the Family’s PluggedIn.com reports on several new studies, including new research on smart phone use from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business.

It turns out that most college students in the US interact with their phones about seven hours every day. That includes sending an average of 110 texts, receiving 113 texts and checking their phones 60 times.

James Roberts, a Baylor professor and author of the book Materialism 2.0, says this about the findings, “At first glance, one might have the tendency to dismiss [this level of] mobile phone use as merely youthful nonsense—a passing fad. But an emerging body of literature has given increased credence to cell phone addiction and similar behavioral addictions.”

Another new study looked at social networking. The Neilson company found that the average woman who uses social network sites spends 18 hours and 20 minutes on sites like Facebook each month. That’s compared to about 13 hours for males.

Among 18- to 24-year-olds, both men and women spend an average of 21 hours a month social networking. 25- to 34-year-olds are close behind at 20 hours a month.

Many experts are concerned that we are spending so much time communicating electronically vs. face-to-face, and I tend to agree.

God calls us to deep, authentic relationships with others. First Peter 1:22 tells us to “love one another deeply, from the heart.” Is that really possible if our relationships are based on texts, tweets and Facebook posts?

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

CLICK HERE for the audio version of this article.