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  1. I Do
  2. The Patter of Little Feet
  3. The Toddler
  4. Off To School
  5. Adolescence
  6. High School
  7. Cutting the Apron Strings
  8. The Empty Nest
  9. In-Laws or Out-Laws
  10. Mid-Life Crisis
  11. Grandparents

"I Do"

John 2:1-10; Revelation 19:7-9

I. Let's plan a wedding
        A. Costs involved
        B. Flowers, candles, cake, dress, tuxedos
        C. Budget for the Wedding and Reception
        D. Where, when, who to invite
                1. Church building
                2. Small intimate wedding or open to all
        E. Size of the wedding party
                1. Best man and bridesmaid
                2. Flower girl and ring bearer
                3. Ushers and attendants
        F. Type and size of reception
        G. Preacher
                1. Who to perform the ceremony
                2. How much to pay him
        H. Music
                1. Live or recorded
                2. Vocal or instrumental

Questions to Discuss
        1. Who should decide how much to spend?
                A. Bride - "It is MY wedding."
                B. Parents of bride - "We are paying for it."
                C. Parents of groom - "Our son is involved here."
        2. Who should control the guest list?
        3. How do you feel about the use of instrumental music in a wedding -
                at the church building?
                away from the church building?
        4. How do you feel about the use of a denominational preacher participating in the ceremony?

II. Pre-marriage counseling
        A. At lest three or four sessions
        B. I believe that it should be a church policy
        C. I have made it my personal policy

Questions to Discuss
        1. What is important to discuss during pre-marriage counseling sessions?
        2. If you could tell young couples one thing about marriage what would it be?

III. Adjustments
        A. Who gets up first?
        B. Which side of the bed to sleep on?
        C. When to go to bed? get up?
        D. Mealtime, doing dishes, dirty clothes

Questions to Discuss

        1. What adjustments did you have to make?
        2. How long will this period of adjustment take?
        3. Define: Compromise
                A. When should one compromise?
                B. When should one NOT compromise?

IV. How to have a fair fight
        A. People will disagree.
        B. Tempers will flare up.
        C. Little things will irritate you.
        D. I have "10 Rules for Arguing".

(E. Ray Jenkins, Nashville, Tennessee)

        1. Only one argument a day.
        2. Only one subject can be discussed in any one arguing period.
        3. No argument can last longer than 30 minutes.
        4. The one who starts an argument can not walk out of the room.
        5. Nothing more than two weeks old can be brought up.
        6. You can only have this argument more than one hour after arising or two hours before bedtime.
        7. No violence.
        8. No profanity.
        9. You may holler at each other so long as it cannot be heard by anyone except your spouse.
        10. The argument cannot be at mealtime.
        E. Study Ephesians 4:26-27; and compare with 4:31-32.

Questions to Discuss

        1. How do you feel about fighting in front of children?
        2. Are most fights "silly" in origin and content?
        3. What should you do after the fight is over?

V. Budgets, bills and bread - 2 Kings 4:1-7
        A. Net Worth statement
        B. Plan a budget and stick to it
        C. Long-range planning
        D. Life insurance and savings
        E. Credit cards - Romans 13:8
                1. The dangers                        If you make        $100
                2. The costs                        And charge          20
                3. The habit                        TOTAL SPENT        $120
                4. The recovery                        To recover you
                5. The withdrawal                         must live
        F. Cash flow and the checkbook         on $80

Questions to Discuss
        1. What items should be included in the budget?
        2. Who should pay the bills?
        3. Are credit cards wrong or sinful?

The Patter of Little Feet

Psalm 127:3-5

I. When should a couple have children?
        A. Settled, made the adjustments to each other.
        B. Mature enough to train them.
        C. They should agree on the goals for their children.
        D. When they can afford:
                1. Medical expenses for the birth itself
                2. Medical expenses for the baby
                3. Food, diapers, clothes
                4. Braces, little league, bicycle
                5. Dating, car, college, wedding

Questions to Discuss

        A. How long should they be married before children arrive?
        B. How many children should they have?

II. Changes to expect
        A. Sleep habits
        B. Medical expenses
        C. Social outings with friends
        D. Shared roles
                diapers, feedings, chores, shopping, cooking

Questions to Discuss

        1. How can young couples be better prepared for the changes that will take place when children arrive?
        2. Tell about an experience with a babysitter.
        3. How did you decide who should do which chores?

III. Working mother vs. homemaker
        A. What is gained by working?
                1. Extra income
                2. Pay bills, buy things needed
                3. Buy things you want
                4. Social life, not "locked" in the house
        B. What is lost by working?
                1. Travel, car, clothes, meals
                2. Childcare services
                3. Training in morals and behavior
                4. "Precious Moments"
                5. Income tax bracket
                        a. Move from 15% to 28%
                        b. Refund = interest free loan
                        c. More of income is taxable
                        d. Few, if any, deductions
                6. Social Security money paid by wife
        C. Day care vs. babysitter
        D. Latch key Kids

Questions to Discuss

        1. What does "keepers at home" mean? (Titus 2:5)
        2. Discuss: Latch key kids - dangers, problems
        3. What is stewardship?
        4. How much tax should we pay?
        5. "Who Owns Your Child?"
        6. Is "Social Security" a good deal?

The Toddler

Deuteronomy 6:6-9

I. Learning to walk and talk
        A. Importance of showing patience - James 1:4; 5:10-11
        B. Do not rush them.
                1. Walk when ready.
                2. Let bones mature.
                3. Once they walk, you will wish they didn't.
        C. Talking comes from what they hear.
                1. Talk plainly to them.
                2. Use adult words and phrases.
                3. Don't talk "baby talk".

Questions to Discuss

        1. What kinds of books should be read to them?
        2. What impact does _______ have in their development?
                A. Atmosphere in the home
                B. Vocabulary
                C. Manners and courtesy
                D. Attitude, tone of voice, anger

II. Rules that work -Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15
        A. KISS - Keep It Simple Simon!
        B. State the punishment - Proverbs 23:13; 29:15, 17
                1. Make it fit the crime in seriousness.
                2. Keep it in a short time frame.
                3. Relate the punishment to the crime.
        C. Two types of rules - positive and negative
        D. Parents must establish the shape of the mold.
                1. It can be cleaned up, modified later.
                2. Attitude and basic valuse are set by 5.
                3. Book, All I Ever Knew I Learned in Kindergarten

Questions to Discuss

        1. Discuss: The Terrible or Terrific Twos
        2. What rules are needed?
        3. Are the rules you have matter of convienence?
        4. Discuss: Positive and negative reinforcement
        5. How should you handle temper tantrums?
                A. In your home along
                B. When others are present
                C. Out in a public place

III. Proverbs 22:6
        A. Many believe that if a child ever goes astray - it is the fault of the parents.
                1. Modern psychiatry teaches this.
                2. Preachers have added to this guilt
                3. Parents ask, "Where did we go wrong?"
                4. Elder/Deacon selection is effected.
        B. Parents need to ask if they are at fault - BUT -
        C. Children are to be held responsible - ALSO -
        D. Many other areas of influence are to blame.

        I. Look at the Law of Moses
                A. Deut. 6:6-12        Teach them God's law
                B. Deut. 21:18-21        Some will still be rebellious
        II. Look at families you know
                A. Several children in the same family
                B. Raised in the same way, same rules
                C. One is wild and rebellious
        III. Look at Proverbs 22:6
                A. "Train" = teach, instill, instruct, imprint
                        1. By instruction, lecture, talk
                        2. By example, discipline
                B. "In the way he should go"
                        1. Point the way, give direction for them.
                        2. BUT, you can not make them follow.
                        3. They are free moral agents.
                C. God does not demand MORE of you than He is able                         to do with His children.
                D. "Not depart from it."
                        1. Some read, "It will not depart from him."
                        2. Others say, "He wil NEVER stray."
                        3. Some say, "He will not depart from the                                 presence of that truth."
                        4. Luscombe's paraphrase reads -
        Instill in a child the way that is right, and when he is old, he will still have those truths within.
IV. Look at other influences - "Who Owns Your Child?"
        A. Peer pressure                B. Friends
        C. Your example                D. Movies, TV, radio
        E. Advertisments                F. School system
        G. Legal system                H. Welfare system
        I. Role-playing games        J. Society norms

Questions to Discuss

        1. Discuss: "Dungeons and Dragons"
        2. What is "Humanism"?
        3. Why do some children go wild?
        4. How can parents help children avoid the dangers?
        5. In your own words, explain Proverbs 22:6.

Off To School

Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20-21

I. Dealing with the separation
        A. First day of school
        B. Each fall
        C. The "Grief Process"

II. Help to prepare them for school by:
        A. Reading to them
        B. Teaching them to write, draw, spell their name
        C. Allowing them to play with children in neighborhood
        D. Respect for authority, teachers, police, etc.
        E. Have regular hours for bed and breakfast.

III. Dangers they will face
        A. Language they learn
        B. Moral values are questioned
        C. Other role-models for them to follow
        D. Other interests - TV, movies, radio, music
        E. Conflicts with other students in school

Questions to Discuss

        1. How do you get them to do their homework?
                A. Order them                B. Bribe them
                C. "Help" them                D. Ignore it
                E. Establish rules about where and when
        2. How do you explain why other do things that you have taught your children are wrong?
                A. Drinking                B. Smoking
                C. Profanity                D. Dancing
        3. How do you teach children to respect authority?
        4. How should a parent react when their child is punished at school?
                A. Defend the child?
                B. Defend the teacher?
        5. When punished at school, should they be punished at home also?


1 Timothy 4:12-16; 2 Timothy 2:22

I. What is "Adolescence"?
        A. Generally, the years between 12 and 20.
        B. Three stages
                1. Early (12-14)                Inward
                        a. Pre-occupied with their body
                        b. Seek independence
                2. Middle (15-17)                Outward
                        a. Pre-occupied with relationships
                        b. Peer group
                        c. Sexual expiermentation
                3. Late (18-20)                Forward
                        a. More adult actions
                        b. Seek financial independence
                        c. Future oriented - marriage, occupation
        C. Statistics
                1. Continual growth                20%        steady growth
                2. Surgent growth                40%        growth in spurts
                3. Tumultous growth                20%        no set pattern
                4. Stunted growth                20%        little growth seen
        NOTE: Groups 1 and 2 have no major problems. Groups 3 and 4 are under great stress. Stress is seen in changes:
                        1] Biological-hormonal, adult size, sexual
                        2] Cognitive-think abstract vs. concrete
                        3] Social-school,home, peers, society
        D. Growth tasks that MUST be done
                1. Independence from parents
                2. Comfortable with their body
                3. Personal relationships
                4. Establish a value system
                5. Decide on educational and occupational goals
                6. Find a positive identity
                7. Begin economic independence

II. The Dangers of Adolescence Include:
        A. Departing (run away)
        B. Drinking
        C. Drugs
        D. Dancing
        E. Dating
        F. Driving

III. Problems to be Faced
        A. Between parents and teens
                Neatness                Phone use                Smoking
                Curfew                Homework                Television
                Chores                Drinking                Attitude
        B. Major problems - related to stress
                Pain disorders                        Depression
                Substance abuse                Suicidal behavior
                Delinquent behavior                Irresponsible sexuality
                Eating disorders

IV. Signs of a Serious Problem
        A. Family - avoid family activities, refuse to do chores, refuse to discuss issues, temper outbursts, reject family values
        B. School - erratic grades, failure, loss of interest, skipping classes, dropping out
        C. Personality - mood swings, lack of effort, lying, memory loss
        D. Physical - chronic somatic complaints, rebellious dress, weight loss, weight gain
        E. Peer Group - drug user friends, friends with juvenile records, poorly performing friends
        F. Legal - stealing, DWI/DUI, shoplifting, delinquency

Questions to Discuss

        1. How would you handle:
                A. Child run away from home
                B. Arrested for drinking
                C. A speeding ticket
                D. Finding drugs in their room
                E. Catching them smoking
                F. Wanting to go to a dance
                G. Getting too serious too soon
                H. Violating curfew hours
        2. What is the best way to teach them about sex, fornication and pregnancy.
        3. Do parents have the right to control who their child dates? when? how serious?


High School

1 Corinthians 13:11

  1. Setting Values

    What is REALLY important to you?

    What is of the greatest value?

        In religion?

        In morals?

        In material things?

        In occupation and vocation?

        In recreation and sports?

        In how to spend and save money?

    Have you communicated these values to your children?


        Have they been taught by your lifestyle, habits and priorities?

  2. Giving them a faith to live by

    God does not have any grandchildren

        Many children have a faith in mother, who has a faith in God

        Parental faith must become personal faith

    By High School they should have their own faith

        Are they a Christian?

        Are they living a godly life?

  3. After their parents are gone, what will they have left?

    2 Corinthians 12:14 - What will you leave them?

    2 Kings 20:1 - Is your house in order?

    Here are some things to leave your children

        A good name - Proverbs 22:1

        Memory of home - Luke 15:16-17

        Personal Example - Proverbs 4:11

        Education - Luke 2:52

        Faith in God - Romans 10:17

        Appreciation for beauty - Ecclesiastes 3:11

  4. Future Planning



    Role in the church

    Citizen in the community

    Selection of a mate

  5. Questions to discuss

    Should parents pay for their child's college education?

    Should a child be urged to follow the profession of their parents?

    When should one begin to planning to be an elder or deacon?

    Do you want your son to be a preacher?

Cutting the Apron Strings

Luke 15:11-32

  1. As children graduate from High School (or dropout) they:

    God to college - Christian college or state school

        On or off campus

        In state or far away

        Cost and who pays

    Join a branch of the military

    Get married (Go back to chapter one)

    Become a working single

    Work and live at home

        Chores to do?

        Charge them "board and room"

        House rules still apply

Questions to discuss

What should the parents do if a child wants to dropout of school?

How do you feel about military service?

What rules change if your child works and lives at home?

Is a Christian college worth the extra cost?

If they are working and living at home, should parents manage and control their lives?

THE OTHER PROBLEM - They stay too long

I can let them go if I have:

    Spent adequate time with them

    Built admirable qualities in their character

    Demand their best

    Learned that I can trust them

There is a time to leave the nest

They must learn responsibilities

    How to cook, clean, manage a house

    Pay rent and utilities

The Empty Nest

Malachi 2:14

  1. How is your marriage now?

    5 Types of marriages

        Constant conflict - on the rocks

        Devitalized - spark is gone, anger, but little love

        Passive - Congenial and enduring

        Vital - challenging and open

        Total - what God had in mind

    Symptoms of a troubled marriage

        Loss or change in sexual relations

        Lack of communication

        Fights over ever difference of opinion

        Dwell on the negatives in the marrige

        Critical spirit

        Temptations for minor betrayals

A test for the two of you

1 - Are you motivated by their presence or what they do?

2 - Do you celebrate events by inner feelings?

3 - Do you laugh a lot?

4 - Do you sense that you are being listened to?

5 - Can your feeling be freely and easily expressed?

6 - Do you touch each other openly?

7 - Is your partner also your friend?

8 - Do fights focus on real issues?

9 - Is conversation easy and not strained or difficult?

10 - Is silence deafening?

11 - Is there much blaming and fault-finding?

12 - Are you afraid of each other?

Causes of marriage problems at this stage in life

    Building the marriage on externals

        Public opinion


        Financial pressure

    Physical attraction

    Achieving limited goals

    Failure to build a healthy relationship

Many are twice strangers

    Women with a career

    Different circle of friends

    Separate hobbies or interests

In-Laws or Out-Laws


The older at marriage the less in-law problems

Marry at    17-19        Good adjustment %        45

                    20-21                                            51

                    22-23                                            60

                    24 - up                                          63

Common Objections

    Try to run our house

    Treat us like children

    Give too much advice

    Try to help too much

    Hover over us

Two situations which contribute to the problem

    Newly married - live with one of their parents

        It is not their home

        No privacy

        Must learn to share the load

        Financial stress

    Older in-laws in the house should remember

        This is not your home

        Don't take over and run things

        You must adapt to their life style

        Help with chores if you are able

        Children make noise

        You may not be in their social events

In-Laws in the Bible

    Fathers-in-law - Laban to Jacob; Saul to David

    Mothers-in-law - Naomi to Ruth; Peter's mother-in-law

Mid-Life Crisis

Psalm 55:23

What is middle age?

    38-55 years old

    When more of life is behind than ahead

    When your broad mind and narrow waist trade places.

What is a crisis? - Crisis exists when any of these fail

    Realistic perception of an event - What does this mean? What is happening?

    Adequate support system - Who do you trust and depend on when a problem comes up?

    Adequate coping mechanism - How have you dealt with similar situations in the past?

What causes the crisis?

    Frustration - job, stress, fatigue, boredom

    Fear of the future

    Marriage is weak

    Reality of death

    Disappointing inventory of self

The Big Two

    Boredom - One may have twenty years to work before retirement and have no place to advance. One will feel
    "stuck", trapped, caged, cooped up. Suicide rises in this age group for this reason. Many have a feeling of hopelessness.

    Fear of Loss - Mid-life is a point where one looks ahead to the losses

        Life, Health, Attractiveness, Spouse, Children

        Job, Income, Desirability, Mobility, Independence

Mid-Life Crisis by Groups


        Relationships are changing

        Menopause causes many emotional changes


        Identity struggle

 Prevention and Solutions

    Build the marriage relationship

    Build other relationships

    Work on specific problems

    Emphasize the spiritual


1 Timothy 1:5; Deuteronomy 4:9

Problems to consider and discuss

    Advice vs. interference on child-rearing

    Built in babysitters

    Spoiled vs. loved

    In-laws become grandparents

    Partiality - having a favorite grandchild

    Lack of patience

    How to handle lack of appreciation and manners

    Spending too much on the grandchildren


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