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Combating Bullies in Your Child’s Life (Part 2 of 2)

Combating Bullies in Your Child’s Life (Part 2 of 2)

Jonathan McKee reflects on the bullying he endured as a child and the valuable lessons he's learned from his experiences in a discussion based on his book The Bullying Breakthrough: Real Help for Parents and Teachers of the Bullied, Bystanders, and Bullies. (Part 2 of 2)

Opening:

Excerpt:

Jonathan McKee: I think that there’s three types of kids out there. I think there’s the bully; I think there’s the bystander; and I think there’s the bullied. And the one thing I often ask parents is, “Well, which is your kid?”

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Jonathan McKee is with us again on Focus on the Family. We’re talking about the subject of bullying today, and I’m John Fuller. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: John, I’m grateful that Jonathan is here. Although the topic is difficult, um, it is very necessary to talk about. As a parent with teenagers, it’s something that I’ve spent the last 10 years or so, uh, talking about with my kids in different ways, always trying to discern if my boys are being bullied, if they are the bystanders as Jonathan called them yesterday, or they’re the bullies. And it’s so prevalent. Last time, we mentioned over 70 percent of kids have seen bullying occur. About 28 percent of kids have been bullied. And the bystanders are all in the middle, I would assume. So it’s affecting children today in profound ways, especially with the addition of cyberbullying, which is occurring and causing even deeper pain and deeper convictions about what to do. I think suicide rates are up because of cyberbullying itself.

So when we were together last time, Jonathan was vulnerable enough to talk about his experience being bullied because, as he said, his teeth kind of grew faster than the rest of him, and he had buck teeth. And so often, what is the initiator of bullying is a physical, you know, issue – maybe overweight, maybe too underweight, maybe, uh, your teeth – the way they’re growing in. It could be a whole host of things – things we, as parents, know our children are gonna grow out of and it won’t be the biggest thing in the world. It’s that proverbial pimple on the face, right?

John: Mmhmm.

Jim: It’ll be OK. Don’t worry. But sometimes those things, um, have lingering effects. And the way people tease us at school have lifelong effects. And we’re gonna pick the conversation up today with Jonathan. I think this is one of the most important parenting tools we can provide you here at Focus.

John: Yeah, and Jonathan has a great book; it’s called The Bullying Breakthrough. And uh, you can see more about that online and get a CD or download our app while you’re there to listen on the go – all at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

And in addition to writing, Jonathan speaks to parents, leaders and teens around the world. And he’s got 20 years of youth ministry experience. And he’s married to Lori. And together, they have three adult children.

Body:

Jim: Jonathan, welcome back to Focus.

Jonathan: Oh, thanks for having me again.

Jim: We have cracked the can open on this discussion last time. And let me mention to the listeners, if you missed it, um, get it. Just call us. Or you know, however we can get it to you, we will do that. But I think it was a great opening discussion about what parents can do to help their children, to be aware, things to say, things not to say that could make it worse. So I appreciate that opening. You also mentioned, as I just stated, your experience being bullied. But that wasn’t the end of that story. And we didn’t finish it because I wanted to pick up on day two and continue that into, uh, high school and some of the things that took place. So let’s pick the story up there. And describe for us how that bullying continued, uh, in later years.

Jonathan: Yeah, you know, it’s interesting because a lot of young people, they’ll start going to school with a certain group of kids. And for me, that’s what happened is – a lot of kids, uh, who had made fun of me for years – I got the braces, kind of got that stuff fixed. But another thing happened, and that was that it does something to you socially. I think it made me a little more socially awkward. And as I went into middle school years, middle school years were the toughest, and I didn’t have buck teeth, um, but there was a group of kids who had always made fun of me. I assumed they were still making fun of me. But it made things worse because of the way I reacted. I didn’t really know how to respond to it. And so it got to the point where, I mean, there wasn’t a day that went by that books weren’t being knocked off my desk.

John: Hm.

Jonathan: Um, the whole class – I mean, the whole class laughing at me. And I think the pinnacle was probably in eighth grade. There was a group of boys who decided that they wanted to start what they called the – and I’m not making this up – the “Kill John Club.” And they made T-shirts. And they did initials “KJC” because they couldn’t have the word kill on their T-shirts because teachers would know – whatever. But they would come to school with the T-shirt, and it was this caricature…

John: Oh, my.

Jonathan: …Of my face, um, with, believe it or not, enormous teeth, even though my teeth weren’t enormous anymore. And it had a gun scope on my face. And it had the initials “KJC”. And so I’d, you know, go through the hallways, and people would be like, “KJC.” And, uh, of course, it was all under the radar. And I actually told a teacher about it. And I said, “And they’d made T-shirts.” And the teacher said to me, “No, they didn’t.” You know that was it. That was the response – “No, they didn’t.” And as I entered…

Jim: Why – why would they say that?

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: I mean…

Jonathan: Yeah, and that – but here’s the interesting thing; I’m not alone.

Jim: Yeah.

Jonathan: As I interviewed other people, very often, uh, the stories I kept hearing – this isn’t just perception. As they told the yard duty person, you know, as they told the certain – and trust me; I know tons of great teachers and principals. I’m not saying all schools are like this. There’s almost a denial that takes place. And let me tell you, as a parent, when my son was being bullied – and I shared a little bit about this in yesterday’s broadcast – um, what I didn’t share is I went to the principal. And as many wonderful principals as I know, this was not one of them. And as I sat down in her office and I shared specific details – “Here’s what happened. Here’s what kids said to my son. Uh, here’s what happened at recess the other day. Here’s what this kid did” – she literally went – kind of almost, like, shook her head as if, like, she hadn’t heard a thing. And she goes, “Let me show you a few things.” And she took us on a tour of the school, showed us every poster that said “Bully-free zone.” She showed us this banner in the cafeteria that said, “Our school is bully-free, as it’s meant to be.”

Jim: So for her, that was sufficient?

Jonathan: And she was showing us, “I assure you, there’s not bullying here at this school.”

Jim: Wow, that – what a disconnect.

Jonathan: She didn’t hear a word. It went – and I tell you, there’s a lot of parents out there that have this kind of frustration. They don’t feel heard on this issue. And granted, some of us, we’re freaking out. We’re not approaching the situation well. But this happens every once in a while with administration.

Jim: Where was your faith at this time? You’re a young boy. I’m not sure of your parents’, uh, you know, faith expression – if they’re Christian, if it’s…

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: …A Christian home. Give me that element. And how are you – if you were a Christian, how are you finding any hope?

Jonathan: Well, let me tell you something, it was my saving grace because, uh, as you mentioned yesterday and as I shared in the book, there was a time I was standing on the edge of this bluff by my house, and I was looking down, and I really couldn’t find much of a reason not to jump, except that I actually went up there with a friend of mine, and I looked at him, and I said, “Should I jump?” Well, this friend was a friend I had from church. The saving grace I had was even though school was a nightmare for me every day, I was plugged into a loving church with a bunch of loving people where I went around and I was liked, noticed, uh, heard positive words, had friends that actually – you know, so school was tough. But if I could make it through that day, and then I hung with my church friends that were actually affirming to me – and so, yeah, no, it was neat because God’s gift of fellowship – other people that could affirm me in who I was in Christ…

Jim: Yeah.

Jonathan: …That it wasn’t just how good-looking you are, how athletic you were because I wasn’t any of those things…

Jim: Right.

Jonathan: …You know. And so yeah, man, I tell you, if I hadn’t had that, the ending of the story probably would have been a lot different.

Jim: Let’s fill in those blanks because not everybody is bullied. And I can only remember a couple of occasions that that happened to me. And I thank the Lord for that. But you need, I think, to paint that picture for us. Standing on the bluff, what are the emotions that you’re feeling? Like, “I’m not worthy enough, that I’m freakish, that I am” – what – how do you resolve that as a young, you know, 13, 14-year-old?

Jonathan: No, fantastic question. And I think the one word that sums up how I probably felt was alone. And as I interviewed other people, I kept hearing it again and again – “Nobody understands. Nobody knows what it’s like to be me.” And there’s this desire for people to understand you. There’s a desire for one friend. And that’s where, I tell you, my message as a kid who went through this, when I go to school assemblies, and I talk to, you know, a crowd of young people, where I know I’m talking to the majority of bystanders and then a few bullies and some who are really being harassed, some who are bullied – and as I talk to them, the message I bring to them is, “You can make a difference in a kid’s life. You can make a difference” – because every study out there shows is that if you have just one friend – some studies will even use the word one close confidant – someone who you can talk with – that one friend can make the difference in that spiral downhill towards nothingness because when you feel alone, that is the one thing – “Nobody understands me” – that seems to push kids past that tipping point.

Jim: Which is also an opportunity for parents to fill that void as much as possible.

Jonathan: By empathizing, listening.

Jim: Correct.

Jonathan: “I’m so glad you told me.”

Jim: Well let’s turn our attitude from the bullied to the bullies. Um, you know, oftentimes, they’re dealing with their own issues that kind of creates the…

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: …Bully – the mentality. I don’t know what a general home life would be like that a bully is created. There’s probably a confluence of things that occur in this person’s life.

Jonathan: Sure.

Jim: But what does a bully look like? And what are some of those signs that parents, we need to, you know, pay attention to identify that our kid might be the bully?

Jonathan: Yeah. No, I mean, that – that’s one of those things where we need to possibly look. And, of course, most of us, as parents, we’re gonna say, “Well, not my kid. My kid wouldn’t do…”

Jim: Well, it’s never our kid, yeah, yeah.

Jonathan: “My kid wouldn’t do that.” But we, as parents, one thing is we need to kind of look for some of those signs. One of the big signs is low self-esteem in our kids. Because if our kids themselves don’t feel good about themselves, what they want to do is they want to raise themselves up and make themselves feel better by making fun of others. So sometimes it comes out if you start to see this self-centeredness, along with – another huge sign would be lack of empathy. And we keep using the word empathy. We used it yesterday on the show several different times because empathy is the, you know, ability to step in someone else’s shoes and identify with them and identify with their hurt. And sadly, we’re living in a world where because of the inundation of entertainment media that doesn’t show a lot of empathy, that’s kind of quick to ridicule – even a lot of gaming situations, we’re kind of losing our empathy for those – social media – we’re staring at screens instead of even looking at facial expressions. And – and what are they thinking? What are – you know, we’re just kind of what’s right there on the screen. So there’s a growing lack of empathy already in our culture. But if we start to see out of our kid these behaviors where maybe we even see these angry outbursts, them taking it out on other people – um, even as our kids are playing, if we see them constantly controlling – “No, you do this; you do this” – and if we see some of that narcissistic behavior, sometimes if you add up all of those different sides, it might mean that, “Hey, we should maybe step in and talk with our kids about empathy, start, you know, sharing some of these stories as we read it in the paper.” If we read a story in this book – “Hey, let me read this story. You know, what do” – and start helping our kids and start modeling empathy, um, so that we can start talking about what it’s like to step in another kid’s shoes.

John: Well, we have some great resources for you to have those conversations. Just stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, where you’re gonna find Jonathan’s book, The Bullying Breakthrough. Jonathan McKee is our guest today. And we’ll have some other resources there as well, so you can really get equipped in knowing what’s going on with regard to bullying.

Jim: Hm. Jonathan, in your book – and I hope I’m not sharing anything I shouldn’t – but you mentioned your daughters – uh, one of your daughters looked back at her early years and admitted that she was the mean one. And I think her description is really where I want to spend a couple of minutes here because she said, “Honestly, once I got with the popular kids and I was in, it was normal to laugh at those who weren’t.” That, to me, is one of the biggest issues – is if you fall into the group of the popular kids, there’s kind of groupthink that begins to occur, and they move in a herd, if I can use that term, to where you laugh at the same things, you ridicule the same things because you want to maintain your status as being “in.” Is that a fair description, A? And then, B, again, how does a parent talk to their kids about being with the most popular kids isn’t necessarily the goal for you as a Christian?

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: What you have to look at is this. Fill in those blanks.

Jonathan: Well, right now, our culture is pushing so much towards, you know, status and popularity. Um, we’re seeing a cultural shift in this in our Instagram culture where, you know, “Hey, look at me. You know, I hope I’m liked in this post.” We’re starting to see fame as a value. There was a recent study where they asked kids, “What’s your number one value?” And fame literally just got up to number one, where it used to be down, like, number 14 or 17.

Jim: Yeah.

Jonathan: It’s now number 1.

Jim: And I’d say fame at all costs, even if it’s negative fame.

John: Yeah.

Jonathan: Even if it means, you know, at the expense of others. And so for a kid who’s finally got people liking them, accepting them, looking up to them, that’s really tough to say, “No, you shouldn’t be there.” You know, I mean, so – so this is a huge temptation. And if it means at the expense of others, I mean, that’s where obviously it becomes a problem – if it means I have to laugh at others. So again, here’s where we as parents can not only model this but raise awareness about this. That’s why I like to tell these stories. When I do school assemblies, I constantly am telling stories. The novel I wrote about this, about what it was like to be a bystander – I want to raise awareness so that young people step outside of their shoes, hear these stories of what it’s like to be because I’m pretty sure that the guy I, you know, had a conversation with and interviewed for this book, who, you know, was the big football player guy, who was overweight, and all his buddies would make fun of his belly in a good way – I think if a lot of them really knew…

Jim: Yes.

Jonathan: …What was going on in his head, I think some of those guys wouldn’t have wanted to do that.

Jim: And that would be true – I think male humor, uh, is a little cutting in that way.

Jonathan: Sure.

Jim: It – we think we’re having fun with each other and that I could take it as well as give it.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: But there are sensitive…

Jonathan: “Oh, I’m just playing.”

Jim: Right. There’s sensitive spirits, especially if you have some issues, if you’re overweight or…

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: …You know, even in your case, where your buck teeth, uh, was…

Jonathan: Sure.

Jim: …The big issue. When people looked at you, this is what they teased you about.

Jonathan: And we, as moms and dads, need to be so proactive about engaging in these dialogues. When I talk to, uh, kids at church or at camps, the Scripture passage I often go to is Philippians 2 because that’s that passage where it talks about us not thinking about ourselves but considering others better than ourselves. And I always ask kids – I go, “What’s that look like in your world? What’s that look like to not think about, you know?” – and we naturally do that. I mean, think about that. From when we were kids, you know, the piece of cake – gets up, there’s two pieces of cake – you and your brother. I mean, what are you gonna do? You know, “Oh, here, you have the big piece,” you know?

Jim: Well, it depends on how good the cake is.

Jonathan: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

Jonathan: It does. It does.

Jim: “Ugh, you eat this.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jonathan: Well, and my friend Matt Furbey works with junior high kids. And he says, “You know, I’ve never walked to the car with a bunch of junior high boys,” and he goes, without this happening – and he goes, “Every time you’re in sight of the car, what does every junior high boy yell out?”

John: Shotgun.

Jim: Shotgun.

Jonathan: Shotgun. He goes – he goes, “Absolutely.” He goes, “Why?” “We want to be in a front seat. We want to” – he goes, “I’ve never heard a kid go, ‘Shotgun for you…’“

(LAUGHTER)

…You know, to his friend, you know? And I love that. And Matt’s hilarious.

Jim: The competitiveness…

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: …Is building.

John: Yeah.

Jonathan: And it’s amazing. If we could teach our kids “Shotgun for you,” you know, teach them to consider others…

Jim: Give…

Jonathan: …Better than themselves…

John: Yeah, giving.

Jonathan: And a lot of that is raising empathy, stepping in other people’s shoes. And you know what? Um, a lot of our kids really do care if they take the time to do that. And we need to help our…

John: Yeah.

Jonathan: …Kids with that.

Jim: Well, and that – that is a great point that sometimes when you, as a child, when you go through difficulty like yourself when you were bullied, I mean, it – it does give you a desire to teach your kids how not to do that. And – and hopefully – I can remember in school, you know, even though I was on the football team and that whole bit, there was one girl that just – she struggled. And I just decided – you know, she had a class with me, so I’d find her on the quad before class, and I’d walk her to class with me. And I – partly, I just wanted to be a friend because I – my heart went out to her. She just seemed so lonely. And being the quarterback of the football team, I did think, “Okay, I can use some of that clout in that way.” I didn’t get teased. And, uh, those are the other good things that you can do as a parent to help – you know, look for the person who’s alone. I remember speaking that to my own boys – “When you go to that junior high dance, find somebody who’s by themselves that looks, uh, fearful and just talk with them. You don’t have to dance with them.” “Oh, okay, I can do that.”

Jonathan: And as you even say that, it’s hard for me to not even get emotional because, um, of course, I wished I was the capital – captain of a football team. I wished I was that popular. But the power you had and by you taking that power and becoming meek and saying, “I’m gonna go over and walk across the room and say hi to someone,” sometimes – you have no idea. I mean, honestly, Jim, you have no idea what that does to someone to help them. Because if the captain of the football team would have ever just walked up to me, as a guy, and said, “Hey, man, what’s your name?” – and talk to me and stuff, man, it would have boosted me for a week.

Jim: It – it…

Jonathan: Just saying hi.

Jim: …Raises everybody up.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: And I – there are some schools that their sports programs do that really well.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: And I applaud them for it. And I hear about those stories.

Jonathan: Well, and that’s why I spent a whole chapter talking about positive things that we can do and giving examples of teachers who had programs where they took – uh, my sister-in-law works with special-needs kids. And she would take the kids who got detention and were busted, and she would bring them in and make them…

Jim: Ah, that is…

Jonathan: …Classroom leaders.

Jim: Yeah, that is good.

Jonathan: And we were helping special-needs kids. And it was amazing because what she noticed is when she put, you know, this rough and tough kid all of a sudden with, you know, an autistic kid or a kid that was struggling a little bit, uh, it kind of opened their eyes to something they hadn’t seen. Plus, they got to – by serving, they got to see what a difference they could make in these kids’ lives.

John: Yeah.

Jim: And it – it does. There’s such spiritual growth in that for both. You know, there was a benefit for me, too. I mean, it made me feel better about who I was as a person.

Jonathan: Well, think of – I mean, you were being Christ in the fact that you think of Jesus approaching the woman at the well in John, Chapter 4, just walking up to someone who nobody else even would walk up to in a town that nobody would even go through, Jesus inviting Zacchaeus, you know, to dinner – Jesus did this all the time. And if we’re in the word, hopefully, our kids will start to see that and be able to…

Jim: Well, and hopefully we, as parents, model that as well.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: But I mean, a 12-year-old…

Jonathan: We can live that out.

Jim: …Can do that, a 13-year-old. This is an age-appropriate way – showing people that you care and teach it. And that’s a good thing. I want to get to the five R’s because this kind of, uh, accentuates those things. And I want to make sure parents can walk away – we’ll post these at our website…

Jonathan: Sure.

Jim: …So, uh, you know, people can come and take a look at the five R’s. And there may be some of the signs of bullying we’ll include there, as well. But, uh, Jonathan, describe what the five R’s are. I know it’s not arithmetic, writing and reading, but…

Jonathan: The five R’s.

Jim: The five R’s.

Jonathan: We sound like a pirate – arrr.

(LAUGHTER)

Jonathan: Yeah, what are the fives – “What are the five R’s?” Yeah, “The five R’s are -” Yeah, no, no, these – these are – you know, I just use a little alliteration here on really how we can help bystanders make an impact. And so – and it really starts with recognizing the effects of bullying. And so raising that awareness, again, here’s where we can use narratives; we can use stories. We can – you know, even those pause moments in a movie, like, “Hey, what’s that kid feel like right now?”

Jim: Yeah.

Jonathan: So recognizing – seeing it for what it is. Um, there’s a chapter in the book that I said, “This is the chapter your kids should read,” you know, because that helps them recognize it.” That’s part of the five R’s. Then realize you can make an impact. Um, let them know some of these studies out there that shows that, hey, one kid can make a difference, because, honestly, maybe a lot of captains of the football teams don’t realize that just by saying hi to someone else – what that does to someone else. So a lot of kids, they don’t even know that. And if we could help them understand the power they have to make a difference in someone else’s life, um, you know, and I share research and stuff. And there might be parts that parents might mark in the book and go, “Hey, hey, I just read this. What do you think?” And share that with your kids so they realize the impact they can make. Um, then it goes on to really the decision-making. And here’s where – this is probably the most important R, and that is resolve to not bully others. It’s a decision for them to make to go, “You know what? I’m not gonna be a part of it. I’m not gonna just gonna be what the bystander name implies and just stand by. I am going to stand up. And I’m gonna say, “No. I’m gonna walk away when…”

Jim: Yes.

Jonathan: “…They start gossiping.” And that starts with resolving to not bully others and then refusing to join in – you know, not laughing at the jokes.

Jim: And I think that is the place to concentrate because – for the bystander. That’s what’s so hard at that age because you’re looking for your identity; you’re looking to fit in. And if you can teach your elementary school, junior high kids to refuse to join in when people are being hurt – emotionally, physically – and to stand up and say, “No, not on my watch…”

Jonathan: But if I could push back a little bit, I think we, as parents – sometimes what we do is we jump straight to that – “Hey, you guys, refuse to join in.” And I think without the empathy, they aren’t gonna understand the why in why they should be doing it. So that’s why it’s so important for them to recognize those effects and realize that they can make a difference because those are going to give them the emotional ammo to want to…

Jim: Yeah.

Jonathan: …Actually resolve to not do it and refuse to join in. Because if you say, “Just refuse.” “Why?” “Because I said so!” You know?

Jim: Yeah, yeah, of course. Of course.

Jonathan: That does nothing.

Jim: So that’s four – recognize, realize, resolve, refuse. What’s the fifth R?

Jonathan: Um, reach out to someone who’s hurting or alone. That’s – that’s…

Jim: Yeah, that’s good.

Jonathan: …Not – that’s not just not doing something, but it’s actually saying, “Hey, you know what? I’m gonna go across the room and go sit by that kid who’s sitting by themselves.”

Jim: I like that. I really like that. Jonathan, you also mention in your book – and I’m gonna squeeze this in – the…

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: …Ten tools, uh, to help bullied kids.

Jonathan: Sure.

Jim: Just pick a couple of those 10 tools.

Jonathan: Yeah. It’s neat. We’ve covered some of them as we’ve talked about the – because the most important thing it really starts with is not freaking out – you know? And then stepping into their world – the empathy we keep talking about. And that’s what we need to start. I mean, if you honestly got nothing else, Mom and Dad, get this. Don’t fix the problem. But more than anything, ask them, you know, what they’re feeling and say, “I’m so glad you told me.”

Jim: Jonathan, many dads will hear this and go, “Yeah, I got it.” And then the first thing we’re going to do is step in.

Jonathan: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: Because that’s…

John: Fix the problem.

Jim: …You wanna fix it. And you know what? My kid’s being bullied? I’d bow up. You know, I even got my chest out right now thinking of being in that environment. My shoulders are back.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, physically, we respond to that. Like what you said earlier – you were ready to go in and take care of your – the bullying of your own child because nobody was helping.

Jonathan: It is our natural tendency.

Jim: How do we fight that, though?

Jonathan: Well…

Jim: What do we do with that energy to say, “I’m going to – I’m going to straighten this out?”

Jonathan: We have to try to tell ourselves to stop and be a counselor for a quick second first. And say, “Tell me more about that. How did you feel?” because…

Jim: So act opposite of what you want to do?

Jonathan: Well, let me tell you something: it’s like, you know, my wife and I went to marriage counseling. It was such a great experience. And one of the things is, as she would tell me something, my tendency was to want to say, “Well, this, or fix or whatever” and to just – no, no, no. Just listen and say, “I hear you.” It was amazing how much in my marriage – how much just saying, “Wow, I never realized this. I hear you. What you’re saying is this” – that made all the difference. I didn’t even need to fix it. She just wanted to be heard.

Jim: Right.

Jonathan: And sometimes our kids, they just want to be heard.

Closing:

Jim: Well, and that’s a great place to start. Jonathan, this has been terrific. I think it’s one of the biggest topics facing kids today in school. And we as parents have to be engaged. We’ve got to know their environment to be able to empathize, like you said. And a great way to start is by reading Jonathan’s book, The Bullying Breakthrough – great helps. We’ve talked about them the last couple of days. We want to get this into your hands. If you can simply help us, you can help us in two ways. You could become a monthly supporter at Focus on the Family so that we can deliver these kinds of broadcasts, podcasts, et cetera, along with the tools to help parents do the job they were built to do. Or if you can’t do that – you can’t be a monthly supporter – a one-time gift. In either case, we’ll send you a copy of Jonathan’s book as our way of saying thank you. And I’m telling you if you can’t afford it, we’re here for you. Others will carry – I believe – the cost of doing that. So get in touch with us. We’re not gonna say no to a parent who is in need. So I’ll make that commitment to you. But I hope you see the benefit of both Jonathan’s content here and Focus delivering it to where the Lord will nudge you to help deliver this message into literally tens of thousands of homes. And Jonathan, thank you for being transparent, vulnerable, talking about this. This can’t be easy. I mean, I can talk about being the, you know, the quarterback. It’s harder to say, “I got punched and pushed around.”

Jonathan: No, my pleasure.

Jim: I’m sorry for that in your life, but you’ve seem to have – through Christ, you’ve conquered it. And I’m grateful for your example to me.

Jonathan: No, thanks so much. It’s my pleasure. And it’s fun having this dialogue.

John: Well get in touch with us today. Donate and get your copy of Jonathan’s book, The Bullying Breakthrough, or if you need, set up a time to talk with one of our caring Christian counselors. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY – 800-232-6459 – or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

We hope you have a wonderful weekend and that you’ll just us again on Monday. You’ll hear from a married couple making a real difference in the lives of their adopted children.

Teaser:

Mike Berry: All of us have been given the capacity to love somebody else or – or give our heart fully. It really comes down to a choice whether to love or to not love. It’s not a question of capacity.

End of Teaser

Today's Guests

The Bullying Breakthrough

Receive Jonathan McKee's book The Bullying Breakthrough for your donation of any amount! Plus, receive member-exclusive benefits when you make a recurring gift today. Your monthly support helps families thrive.

Recent Episodes

Promotional image for Focus on the Family broadcast "Embracing Your Role as a Spouse"

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

Pastor Kevin Thompson explores three primary roles in marriage – friend, partner, and lover – and explains how spouses can live out those roles optimally by investing in their relationship mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Promotional image for the Focus on the Family broadcast "Praying Scripture Over Your Child's Life"

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life (Part 2 of 2)

Jodie Berndt, best-selling author of the Praying the Scriptures book series, offers parents guidance for how they can more frequently and effectively pray for their children’s faith, wisdom, self-discipline, character, life purpose, and more. (Part 2 of 2)

Promotional image for the Focus on the Family broadcast "Praying Scripture Over Your Child's Life"

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life (Part 1 of 2)

Jodie Berndt, best-selling author of the Praying the Scriptures book series, offers parents guidance for how they can more frequently and effectively pray for their children’s faith, wisdom, self-discipline, character, life purpose, and more. (Part 1 of 2)

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Avoiding Shame-Based Parenting

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Joshua Becker discusses the benefits a family can experience if they reduce the amount of “stuff” they have and simplify their lives. He addresses parents in particular, explaining how they can set healthy boundaries on how much stuff their kids have, and establish new habits regarding the possession of toys, clothes, artwork, gifts and more.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

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Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.

Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

Mrs. Patti Giebink

Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.

Cover image of the book "Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life"

Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life

Unexpected Choice is told from the perspective of a doctor who actually performed abortions through Planned Parenthood. The book chronicles her journey from being a pro-choice physician to someone speaking on behalf of the pro-life movement.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

Do you love your spouse, or do you truly cherish them? Gary Thomas encourages couples to make a daily effort to go beyond the ‘duty’ of love, and combat the natural inclination to drift apart, by choosing to see the best in their spouse.

Mr. Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas is an international speaker and best-selling, award-winning author whose books include Married SexSacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting. He has also written numerous articles for several prominent national magazines. Gary and his wife, Lisa, reside in Texas and have three children. You can learn more about Gary by visiting his website, www.garythomas.com.

cherish front cover

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

“Most marriages survive by gritting teeth and holding on. But marriages can and will not only survive but thrive when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another.” Those are the powerful words of bestselling author Gary Thomas in his newest book–Cherish. And in a world desperate for marriage redemption, it is needed now more than ever. Thomas shows that although there are a countless number of marriages consisting of two people just going through the motions, there are real ways this pattern can be reversed: when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another in proven, loving, and everyday actions and words.

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Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

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Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

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Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 2

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

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Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder has spent more than four decades writing, counseling, speaking, and teaching. For nearly 25 years, he was Vice President of Student Personnel Services, Dean of Students, and a professor of pastoral counseling at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind. He’s also led a successful counseling practice helping individuals, couples, and families to thrive in their lives and relationships.

Cover image of Dr. Randall Schroeder's book "Simple Habits for Effective Parenting"

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

Effective parenting is now within your grasp! With this inspiring how-to comprehensive book, achieve extraordinary results in raising a child to be self-assured, self-reliant, and responsible! You will be able to successfully lead and lovingly encourage your child toward a Godly life!

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

God designed marriage to reflect His love to the world; and because of this, the enemy wants to destroy God’s beautiful design. Based on his book, Defending Your Marriage, Dr. Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff share about the reality of spiritual warfare against marriages, and how to combat the enemy’s lies with the truth of God. Couples will be encouraged that they’re not alone in the fight for a godly marriage and better equipped to be a shining example for the world around them.

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution.  Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biola’s Center for Marriage and Relationships  where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast. 

Defending Your Marriage

Is your marriage under attack? Sometimes it can feel like the world is trying to tear your marriage apart. Internal conflicts or external pressures might make you wonder if something sinister is going on. How can you tell if you’re facing spiritual opposition? And what can you do about it? Tim Muehlhoff provides a straightforward resource for protecting your marriage from the threats of the evil one. He looks at what Scripture says about spiritual warfare and how our everyday struggles have deeper spiritual realities. And he provides practical steps for guarding our marriages with the whole armor of God.

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 2

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

As a spouse, you have three roles to play—a friend, a partner, and a lover. On this one-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Pastor Kevin A. Thompson explores those different roles and challenges you to live them out by investing emotionally, physically, and mentally in your relationship. As friends, he suggests we learn to play and laugh together. As partners, he equips us with solid ways to handle conflict and communication. As lovers, he offers some thoughts on how to bring back the sizzle. He shares five keys to saving your marriage: humility, respect, mercy, communication, and resilience. You’ll be encouraged to intentionally invest in your marriage.

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to navigating the most serious betrayals. A marriage and parenting conference speaker, he and his wife, Jenny, have two children and live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He blogs at kevinathompson.com.

Cover image of Kevin Thompson's book "Friends, Partners & Lovers"

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin Thompson shows how to live out three distinct roles in marraige. Using solid biblical principles, he helps you and your spouse grow your friendship, be supportive partners through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

You can confidently and lovingly share your faith—you just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the “Columbo” tactic of asking questions, the “self-defeating argument” tactic to find holes in your opponent’s arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.

Mr. Greg Koukl

Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of RealityTactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

Tactics front cover

Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!