Joannie DeBrito, Ph.D., LCSW, LMFT

Joannie DeBrito draws from more than 30 years of diverse experience as a parent educator, family life educator, school social worker, administrator, and licensed mental health professional. Joannie is a regular contributor to Focus on the Family.

Parenting Young adults

Parenting Young Adults: Grace and Forgiveness

Crucial decisions made during the post high school years may significantly impact a young adult’s future.

Hope For Parents of Prodigal Children

If you’re experiencing the loss of a prodigal son or daughter who isn’t currently in touch with you, you probably feel helpless. Here are some ways to understand a prodigal child and find hope if you have a prodigal child.

Amazing Mom and daughter

Mom, Do You Know How Amazing You Are?

Mom, you are amazing! You are unique. You can make a difference in your child’s life and the truth is, there has never been a mom exactly like you.

Smiling father and grown son sitting on a couch having a joyful conversation

Parenting Young Adults: Boundaries and Limits

Discussing boundaries and limits with your adult children will contribute to the good health of your relationship and minimize conflicts in the home.

Parenting a Child Affected by a Traumatic Event

While it’s hard to reconcile the image of a loving, righteous God in the midst of tragic loss, we parents need to stay focused on the sovereignty of God.

Parenting Young Adults: Adaptability

Adaptability as a parent requires a mom or dad to get rid of the “shoulds” that tend to come from comparing their experience as young adults to that of their kids.

Teen watching video online

Talking With Your Kids About the TikTok Suicide Video

We must be aware of what our kids are watching online and how it may impact them, especially in the case of the recent TikTok suicide video that has gone viral.

Cheerful girls and boys against vibrant background.

Nature and Nurture in Child Development

What’s interesting about nature and nurture in child development is that they are both significantly impacted by the way God made us.

Close up of laughing mom being kissed on each cheek by her young son and daughter

Stages of Motherhood

Each mom’s journey through the stages of motherhood will look slightly different. Mothers, overall, tend to handle certain things in each stage of their child’s life in certain ways. Those tendencies can be helpful as we journey through each stage of our child’s life

motherhood in difficult situations

Motherhood in Difficult Situations

While motherhood usually includes plenty of challenges, most women are not prepared for the crises that may occur. As moms learn to adjust to motherhood in difficult situations, they will often find joy in unexpected places.

when mother's day hurts

When Mother’s Day Hurts

Being a mom can be rewarding and gut-wrenching, sometimes at the same time. Depending on the circumstances, this Mother’s Day may be one that you anticipate with fear, sorrow, or dread.

Tips for Parents Living with Young Adult Children

Tips for Parents Living with Young Adult Children

Whether you are enjoying or being challenged by this time of living with your young adult child, it’s a great time to develop adaptability.

Alive to Thrive Teen Suicide Prevention logo

Addressing Suicidal Thoughts and Actions in Youth

Focus on the Family has created Alive to Thrive to provide help and hope for parents and others who interact regularly with young people. This free resource provides practical suggestions for preventing and responding to suicidal thoughts and actions.

Happy grandparents outside with their young granddaughter. Grandpa is giving the girl a piggyback ride on his shoulders.

Grandparents: Support and Serve Your Children and Grandchildren

For grandparents, perhaps there has never been a better time to support and serve your children and grandchildren.

Boy flanked by his grandparents as they sit on a couch. They're all looking at a mobile device he's holding.

Help for Grandparents Caring for Children Due to a Crisis

Grandparents sometimes have to provide safe and loving homes for grandchildren when their children, the parents of those little ones, are unable to do so.

Shown from behind, a boy sitting cross-legged on the living room floor with a pile of toy blocks next to him

Encouraging Children With Special Needs While They’re Away From School

For those of you with children with special needs, here are some tips that may help your children hold on to the recent gains they’ve made in school and in therapy sessions, while they’re learning at home.

Stylized close up of a young boy and girl staring at smartphones

A Parents’ Guide to Screen Time During Coronavirus

Now, more than ever, we need to be mindful of our screens and how we use them. We should always be their masters—and never let them be masters over us.

Elderly person and child

Teaching Children Respect for the Elderly During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Sadly, reverence for the elderly is sometimes in short supply in today’s youth-oriented culture. Because they may be slowing down and having more difficulty moving around, there is an assumption that what elderly people have to offer is also in short supply. On the contrary, they have the most to contribute.

Mom working at home with kids

Staying Sane While Working From Home With Kids

These eight tips can help create a successful and less stressful environment for you and your kids while you are working from home.

Living with your family in close quarters can produce an immense amount of stress. But it's also an opportunity.

Showing Grace to Your Family in Close Quarters

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes Table of contentsLiving with Your Family in Close QuartersHitting the Pause ButtonGrace – An Undeserved GiftShowing GraceWhen Real Life HitsGo To Your ClosetFrom Frustration to Authentic CommunicationFocus on the Oppor …

Child standing at a kitchen sink washing his hands

Talking With Kids About the Coronavirus

We’ve all heard healthcare providers tell us how to keep the coronavirus at bay. Wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face. If you have any symptoms of the virus, consult a doctor and stay away from other people. These and other suggestions …

Holiday Stress Between Parents and Young Adults

Holiday stress between parents and young adult children may occur when both parties have different expectations about the holidays. But that stress can be relieved.

Silhouette of a dad spinning his two kids around on a lakeshore at sunset

Dads Parent Differently Than Moms

Moms: Stop, pause and observe to see how a father’s unique contributions to parenting will benefit his children.

post-holiday depression

Post-Holiday Depression: Do You Feel Depressed After the Holidays?

After the holidays, do you ever feel not like your self or even depressed? Here are some ideas to help you get back to feeling like your normal self.

Are You Responsible for Your Child’s Bad Behavior?

Does your child misbehave in a way that can be traced back to something you do? Is your teen’s rebellious attitude similar to yours? Your kids’ behavior isn’t your fault, but sometimes it means you have work to do.

Truth From the Bible for Cutters: When Feelings for Self-Harm Are Strong

Self-harm is an attempt to find relief from emotional distress. Here is what the Bible offers parents to help their kids who are cutting.

Age-Appropriate Grandparenting

A refresher on kids’ ages and stages.

Grandparents read book with granddaughter

Helping to Care for Grandkids?

Participating in caring for grandkids is a gift and a privilege. With careful planning, it represents an unprecedented opportunity to make a lasting, positive impression in their lives.

Smiling father and grown son sitting on a couch having a joyful conversation

Parenting Emerging Adults: Boundaries and Limits

Navigating a role shift when adult children move back home.

parents talking with their son about changes in society

Parenting Emerging Adults: Adaptability

Adaptability is a big part of helping older children “leave the nest” well.

Mother, Daughter, and Grandmother pictured together

When Mothers and Grandmothers Parent Children Together

Some mothers coparent their kids with their own mothers. Through cooperation, these women can encourage healthy development in their children and grandchildren.