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Focus on the Family Broadcast

How to Build Resilience in Your Child (Part 1 of 2)

How to Build Resilience in Your Child (Part 1 of 2)

Dr. Kathy Koch explores the importance of resilience in our lives and how we can nurture that trait in our children. As a parent, you are the key to your child’s resilience! Through intentional modeling, ongoing conversation and observation, and encouragement, you can help them learn to bounce back from struggles, get unstuck, and move forward with courage and confidence. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: August 2, 2022

Preview:

John Fuller: So how do you build resilience in your life or in maybe the life of your child? Well, today, we’re gonna hear more about how to do just that to nurture that characteristic in your son or daughter. I’m John Fuller, welcome to Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly.

End of Preview

Jim Daly: John, when it comes to instilling character in our kids, uh, I think the most important aspect we can teach and model for them is bouncing back from struggles and difficulties.

John: Hm.

Jim: Resiliency. And it’s so critically important. I feel like, you know, I went through some very difficult things as a child, but they did make me stronger in so many ways. And I’m grateful for it even though it was very difficult. Uh, the verses in II Corinthians 4:8 and nine come to mind. The Apostle Paul wrote, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but now destroyed.” I love that. That’s like a halftime speech, right?

John: Yeah.

Jim: Let’s go get em.

John: It’s very inspirational.

Jim: And, uh, you know, when challenges arise in your child’s life, you want them to be able to face those, uh, difficulties with courage and confidence. And that’s where resilience comes in. Today, we want to give you a solid idea of what that looks like in your life and in developing it in your children. And we’ll also give you some tools that are gonna, uh, equip you in that direction today.

John: Yeah. And our great friend, Dr. Kathy Koch is very equipped to do just that. Um, you’re probably familiar with her. She’s been here on the broadcast a number of times. Uh, she’s a speaker and educational psychologist and a former teacher. She has written a number of books, and today, we’re talking about one of her latest. It’s called Resilient Kids: Raising Them to Embrace Life With Confidence. Stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or call us for your copy. It’s 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Kathy, welcome back to Focus.

Dr. Kathy Koch: Thank you so much, Jim. I’m glad to be here.

Jim: Now, your voice. You’ve been speaking a lot and, and, uh, it’s fine, but it is a big gruff, huh?

Dr. Koch: I’m so sorry about that.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Koch: We’ve been praying, but 12 days and in four states, and, uh-

Jim: Wow.

Dr. Koch:  .. unfortunately, it’s been a little bit rough. But I hope people will hang with us and listen through it.

Jim: Oh, they will. Yeah.

Dr. Koch: So.

Jim: It comes across the just fine.

Dr. Koch: Thank you.

Jim: Now, you founded, uh, Celebrate Kids. It’s dedicated to helping kids better understand who they are and their purpose in God’s kingdom. That’s pretty good.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: If you can help kids understand those two things, that’s incredible.

Dr. Koch: Cool.

Jim: And you’re out speaking and working with children and their parents. Uh, what are you hearing about the importance of resilience as kinda the foundation for healthy kids?

Dr. Koch: Yeah, you know, I, I’ve written about this in two of my other books. But when I was, you know, pondering what would be my next book, that was during the COVID crisis, and I was so concerned that we would have generations of children defining themselves by what they did not have, defining themselves by loss and by-

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch:  .. grief, and by fear, ’cause I’m so sad as I know everyone is that they experienced so much that was so difficult when they were developmentally not ready to handle it.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Koch: And I was just determined to be one of those voices that would stand up and say know who you are and what you have and learn to handle those difficult moments. And Jim, I really appreciate that you’ve always been so vulnerable about your background, because you’re a hero-

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch:  .. in this idea that the generational dysfunction does not need to continue. And you can learn to stand up and rise up and walk out of whatever the trauma is.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Koch: And I want people to be able to do that, parents as well as their children.

Jim: It’s so true. And I appreciate that, you know? I’ve tried to, uh, be that example for my boys.

Dr. Koch: Yeah.

Jim: You know, I, I’m thinking of… You mentioned COVID and school and what kids are going through. So Troy, my younger one, was a junior and a senior during that COVID time. It was so sad, ’cause I remember him in fifth, sixth grade talking about wanting to go to the prom. Well, it didn’t happen.

Dr. Koch: Exactly.

Jim: I mean, they didn’t have those experiences-

Dr. Koch: Mm-hmm.

Jim:  .. for those two years, for those-

Dr. Koch: Right.

Jim:  .. uh, young people.

Dr. Koch: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Yeah. It kinda broke my heart that they didn’t have the normal stuff socially or through school. And, uh, they did come away with a bit of a loss, though, right?

Dr. Koch: Right. We don’t want to live in denial. In fact, uh, I write in chapter one of the book about how important it is that we not live in denial. Loss is real, and grief is something not to ignore. The point would be that parents and grandparents and social workers, pastors and teachers need to help children walk through their grief so that they will recover readily from whatever has been-

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Koch:  .. um, difficult for them.

Jim: You know, we, uh, we’ll get to more of these kinds of questions, but the whole bubble wrap of your kid…

Dr. Koch: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, Jean and I… It was so funny. I mean, they’d ride down the driveway, and I know people are gonna contact me here at Focus and say, “You’re a horrible dad,” but I remember she’d come running out, “Get their helmets on for the bicycle rides.” (laughs) And I… It’s only, like, you know, a little driveway time. And it’s good, but I mean-

Dr. Koch: Right, right.

Jim:  .. it’s the same thing. It was like this mom, dad thing. Like, really?

Dr. Koch: Yeah.

Jim: It’s always wise for the kids to wear helmets, I get it.

Dr. Koch: Well, it’s fascinating ’cause we didn’t, you know? So wild without-

Jim: We didn’t have seat belts.

John: Yeah.

Dr. Koch: Right, I mean-

Jim: Let me just say that.

John: (laughs)

Jim: I used to slide around in the back seat of my mom’s car (laughs).

Dr. Koch: So you know what I think we’ve done? We’ve protected our children physically. And while s-… Well, what we need to. We’re not saying don’t do that.

Jim: Yeah, yeah, course.

Dr. Koch: However, how we, have we protected them emotionally? And that’s where we, that’s where bubble wrapping becomes an interference with maturity.

Jim: It’s such a good metaphor.

Dr. Koch: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Okay, your childhood, you had an example in the, in the book where y- you were in a lake swimming.

Dr. Koch: Yeah.

Jim: Something happened. Your parents, uh, engage, but te- tell us the story and what you did.

Dr. Koch: Yeah, I was vacationing with my whole family, cousins and grandparents, and I was, you know, under the water. And I felt something hit me, and I wasn’t aware what it was. Got out of the water, put my hand to my forehead, removed my hand, and it was totally red.

Jim: Ah.

Dr. Koch: Of course, the blood had expanded beyond normal because of all the water from the lake. Terrified, you know, screamed for my mom. She thought I was playing a game, didn’t take me seriously.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Koch: But eventually came back and realized I was really hurt. I called for my dad who was in the lake fishing in a boat. Not in a lake, on a boat fishing in the lake-

Jim: Y- right.

Dr. Koch:  .. with my brother. Came to the shore, took me to the hospital, got my first stitches ever.

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch: But I went back swimming the next day, because of how my parents handled it.

Jim: Now, were you supposed to do that with stitches? (laughs) Did you keep them from getting wet?

Dr. Koch: Uh, I, I hope so. I wonder. Maybe I wore one of those-

Jim: (laughs)

John: I think you got to wait a week or two.

Dr. Koch:  .. bathing caps, you know.

Jim: But anyway, that… No. But the point there, what you’re saying is you went right back and got on the horse, so to speak.

Dr. Koch: Right. Right, right, right.

Jim: And, you know, that, that’s so critical for kids when they’re… You know, you think of, at least with the boys, falling off a little ledge or a, you know, a little, uh, brick fence or something-

Dr. Koch: Sure.

Jim:  .. you know, where they jump on it, fall off. You can overdo it as a parent going, “Okay, okay. What’s happening?”

Dr. Koch: Well, my mom could have said swimming is dangerous. I mean, the chance of a kid at the next-door property skipping a rock and hitting me, is that ever gonna happen again? So she said, “Go swim.”

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch: My dad went fishing again with my brother in the boat. They didn’t hover. They didn’t make me feel like I was at fault or that I had something to be fearful of. And that’s really important. Life happens.

Jim: Let’s, uh, let’s hit for the parents. You know, sometimes intentionality in parenting is tough. We’re busy.

Dr. Koch: Mm-hmm.

Jim: But the benefits of resiliency, hit those.

Dr. Koch: Oh, thank you. So general success, general growth, freedom to risk, ’cause if we don’t risk, we don’t grow. That’s really important. Fewer mental health issues. There’s research that says that resilient children will be angry and, and stressed, they’ll feel pain, but they’re not defined by that. Isn’t that precious?

John: Hm.

Jim: Perfect.

Dr. Koch: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah, that’s exactly what-

John: Yeah.

Jim:  .. you want. That’s-

Dr. Koch: Yeah.

Jim:  .. what I hear is healthy.

Dr. Koch: Problem solving would be another one to mention, because if you’re resilient, you don’t want to say down in the valley. You want to try again to make the soccer team or to play the piano piece better. So you’ll learn to strategize.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Koch: You’ll learn what got in the way that you could avoid to practice differently. And who doesn’t want children who are independently able to problem solve, not without a mom being supportive or a dad being available, but on our own to be able to get out of the mess we’re in-

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Koch: Precious.

Jim: And the reason I, I framed it that way is that there’s so many things that a parent has to be aware of to do.

Dr. Koch: Hm.

Jim: I would think building resiliency into your children should maybe take first place. I, I, I’m trying to think spiritual development, obviously, but when you’re looking at where do I as a parent become more intentional, I would think this would be one. Certainly the top three should be intentional about it.

Dr. Koch: Well, preach that (laughs).

Jim: Yes.

Dr. Koch: And I, I appreciate that so much. That’s why I wrote a whole book on it.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Koch: Because you know what? It starts as a choice. Like, a child who learns to walk falls down. And we don’t say, “Bad girl.” We don’t say, “Don’t, don’t try again for five years until you’ll be perfect.”

Jim: You’re right.

Dr. Koch: We know they’re going to fall down.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Koch: We take pictures and videos and brag to everybody that our children are growing up, right? So we expect them to have a little bit of trauma there. So it starts as a choice to stand up. The more often you choose to be resilient, the likelier that it becomes an ability, and then it’s a part of character. We don’t think about being resilient. We are resilient.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Koch: And that changes you-

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Koch:  .. when it’s a part of your spirit, a part of your heart.

Jim: What is the key to resiliency?

Dr. Koch: Parents.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Koch: It really is.

John: (laughs)

Jim: It’s that simple.

Dr. Koch: It really is.

John: Huh.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Koch: Yeah.

Jim: How do we, how do we perform it well or not perform it well, then?

Dr. Koch: Yeah. You know, Jim, first of all, I don’t say that lightly. You know, I love being here with you on Focus, and every parent and grandparent listening wants to be the very best that they could be. Um, we need to be resilient. It starts with the parents not staying down in his valley.

Jim: So modeling it.

Dr. Koch: Absolutely. Modeling it.

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Koch: And expecting it of yourself. And risking and trying again, and letting your children know that you’re imperfect, and you’re growing, and you’re striving, and you’re going after the things that are for you, and you’re not walking toward the things that are unrealistic. So do we model responsibility? Do we model care and concern? And then of course providing support for our children. And that comes in a variety of ways we could talk about.

Jim: Yeah. No, it’s good. And I, I think it’s important, um, obviously. You’re a teacher of second graders.

Dr. Koch: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Uh, God bless you first of all.

Dr. Koch: (laughs)

Jim: Second grades got to be a fun age, though. I mean, they’re, they’re still-

Dr. Koch: Mm-hmm.

Jim:  .. so innocent and interested, respecting authority. You know, it’s not like junior high. (laughs)

Dr. Koch: Right. Right, right, right.

Jim: So in that role, you used a term in the book called, uh, snow suits.

Dr. Koch: (laughs)

Jim: Uh, what are the snow suits?

Dr. Koch: Right. What is your snow suit?

Jim: Okay.

Dr. Koch: Oh, my goodness. So picture this, guys. I had 28 second graders, and they came to school with their snow suits and their boots and their mittens and their scarves and their hats. And it would be recess, and they weren’t allowed to go outside for their brief 15 minutes until they got dressed. Well, it took some kids 14 minutes to get dressed.

John: Yes.

Jim: Absolutely.

Dr. Koch: And they had one minute of play time. But here’s the thing, Jim. If I would have put on all their snow suits and their boots and their hats and their scarves and their mittens, they never would have learned how to do it. So I watched them. It was painful to stand back and watch them.

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch: The children would put on their mittens before they zipped the snow suits.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Koch: Realized that that was not a good idea, and they had to take their mittens off in order to sip the snow suit, right?

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Koch: Kids… So I watch. I had to sometimes leave the room so that I wouldn’t over-help, which would then make them feel like they were incapable. And then they rely on me all the time. But my goal as an educator was appropriate independence. So that, that’s a great… So what’s your snowsuit? What are you af-…? Like, are you afraid that your child might not make his bed as well as you could, so you over-help and the child feels like you have to now be perfect, and now I’m fearful? Or could you decide that the goal is not perfect bed-making. The goal is that my child grow up and my child learn some skills that he is then able to exhibit not just with bed making but folding of laundry and putting away toys and things.

Jim: Yeah, kinda like back to the walking analogy-

Dr. Koch: Mm-hmm.

Jim:  .. is they’re not gonna make it perfectly-

Dr. Koch: Right.

Jim:  .. at a certain age, and they’ll do better and better hopefully over time. And, uh, you know, that’s, that’s that you’re driving toward is effort.

Dr. Koch: Right.

Jim: Put in good effort, and then-

Dr. Koch: Right.

Jim: .. hopefully that’ll be sufficient, right?

Dr. Koch: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Um, you mention also what role belief plays in resiliency. Now, describe the kind of belief you’re, you’re using there?

Dr. Koch: Well, yes. Really important. We believe at Celebrate Kids that beliefs cause behavior. So we-

Jim: Kind of at the core, because belief changes actions. I mean, if you believe something-

Dr. Koch: Absolutely, absolutely.

Jim: .. that’s kind of the core of change in your, in your heart.

Dr. Koch: Absolutely. So we can sweep away the webs-

Jim: Right.

Dr. Koch: .. but if we don’t kill the spider, the webs come back.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Koch: So we can change children’s behavior, attitudes and actions, but if we don’t deal with the underlying reason that they are the way they are, they will most likely continue to be the way they are. We get more frustrated, they get more angry, and it’s a mess. So are they not trying because they don’t believe it’s worth it because they don’t see value in the task? Are they not trying because they don’t have the skills? So we’ve told them, but we haven’t taught them?

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch: That’s on us as parents. Again, I don’t say that lightly. Are they not trying, because it comes so easily to their sister that they’re fearful, they look stupid and they can’t handle the belief that I might be stupid.

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch: So, and what about God? You know, spiritual resiliency, so important. What do you believe about God? Is gonna help me or isn’t He? Is He available? Does He care? That’s so important.

John: Hm. We’re, uh, talking today with Dr. Kathy Koch on Focus on the Family, and, uh, this great book she’s written called Resilient Kids: Raising Them to Embrace Life With Confidence. Stop by the website to get your copy, or give us a call. Uh, you’ll find us at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 1-800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Kathy, we all tell ourselves stories to make sense of problems and success actually. Um, you refer to this as explanatory style, and then you say there’s four elements underneath that. So, uh, what is it, and talk about each one.

Dr. Koch: Yeah, I appreciate that. Uh, let me just start with a really simple example, and then we can unpack it. You know-

Jim: That helps me. Thank you. (laughs)

Dr. Koch: No, seriously. Um, my dog ate the homework, right? That’s an explanation for what went wrong. All of us tell ourselves little stories inside our head-

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch: .. to justify what happened. So kind of a classic would be a child that goes to school purposely doesn’t do homework, purposely forgets it because she knows it’s not well-done, but says to the teacher instead, “My dog ate the homework,” you know? Or we blame, you know, my baby, my baby sister was crying, and I couldn’t concentrate. So explanatory style is huge when it comes to resiliency. Um, four parts. One is the personalization who is responsible. Who is responsible? Is it me? Was, did my dad make me rush, or did I not use my time well?

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch: And I was rushing, but it wasn’t my dad’s impatience. I made the mistake of not getting started early enough. It’s just on my dad. He now made me rush, but that is my responsibility. I cannot be mad at my dad for that.

Jim: Yeah. It, it, there’s so much in this one element-

John: Yeah.

Jim: .. Kathy.

Dr. Koch: Yes.

Jim: When you look at the culture, you look at the deflection that occurs in the culture.

Dr. Koch: Oh.

Jim: I mean, th- this is huge, being able to objectively know what went wrong and whose fault was it. It, it’s hard for the culture to embrace that I think, I think.

Dr. Koch: Yes. And what a shame.

Jim: Yeah. I’m, it, it makes us so weak.

Dr. Koch: Thank you. Weak is the right word. If you’re a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and a reader of the holy word of God, you have the strength of God on your side. And we not, we don’t need to be afraid, and we don’t need to, you know, wonder and worry in the same way that others would, if I can put it that way. Uh, no. It’s so big of a deal. You know, back to what we were saying about how parents are the real key here to our children developing resiliency. So this idea of personalization with explanatory style. If a parent never owns his role, the children will not be able to be resilient. So if it is the dad’s fault-

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch: Let’s say that the child did not know that in five minutes we had to go to grandmas, and the child had something that had to be finished. It, that is on dad. I’m gonna say that boldly. That is on dad who didn’t think ahead, who didn’t realize the daughter had an assignment, a phone call that needed to be made, whatever was going on. That dad’s forgetfulness to not plan, not understanding an eight-year-old’s thinking process, whatever. Now, don’t stress your daughter out. If you don’t say, “Sweetheart, I’m so sorry to make you rush. I forgot about our need to go to grandma. I don’t mean to be stressing you out.

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch: Let’s wait until later.” If children don’t hear moms and dads own their responsibility for the explanatory style, they will have a very hard time trusting a mom and a dad.

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch: So let’s own it, and let’s grow as a family.

Jim: Yeah. And, and Kathy, permanence is the next. What do you mean by permanence?

Dr. Koch: Yeah, permanence is how long will it last?

Jim: (laughs) That’s a good question.

Dr. Koch: So I’ll, I’ll never get anything right, you know? It’s kinda that woe is me, let’s eat worms, you know? Life is just terrible. Nothing is going right. So is it permanent? Uh, is it forever going to be this way? So you know what? Moms and dads, we can take pictures of progress on our phones. We can keep old work. We can remember that you came home on Tuesday really mad at your soccer coach because you didn’t get as much play time, but you went back on Thursday with a positive attitude. You were kind and patient and others-centered, and you cheered on the kids who played more than you. And you chose to change your attitude, and you were resilient. And it is not a permanent condition of your being, and I’m so proud of you.

Jim: Yeah. And it’s, man, it’s so important for the parents to be mindful of what you’re expressing.

Dr. Koch: We need to watch for it.

Jim: That kinda cuts me, because I, you know, I had that-

John: Yeah.

Jim: .. very experience with Troy. We, we had him in little league. There were three boys that weren’t part of the core team. It was the first year they had played.

Dr. Koch: Uh-huh.

Jim: The rest of the crew had been playing for a couple years, and the only kids that rotated out were the three kids, including Troy.

Dr. Koch: Ah.

Jim: And so I, yeah, I was like, “Wow. They’re not gonna get more playing time if, if the other kids don’t rotate out, too,” you know? And I mentioned it to Troy, and he was so… He was like the adult. He was like, “Dad, I mean, it’s all right. These guys have played a long time. I’m happy to get three innings.”

John: Hm.

Jim: I’m like, “Okay.” (laughs)

John: Wow.

Dr. Koch: That’s-

Jim: I know he was better than I was (laughs).

Dr. Koch: That’s really precious. And w- yeah. Honoring, I love that. I love that.

Jim: Yeah, it’s just a good, uh, you know, good example where I was blowing it, to be honest.

Dr. Koch: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: Okay, what’s the next one? Pervasiveness.

Dr. Koch: Per- pervasiveness.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Koch: Um, how far into our life will it go? You know, if a child struggles in a biology class, does she then assume that she’ll struggle in math? If, uh, if one soccer coach doesn’t choose you for the A-team, do you assume the next soccer coach won’t, as well? So pervasiveness.

Jim: How far will it go throughout-

Dr. Koch: Yeah. How far-

Jim: .. my entire life?

Dr. Koch: Exactly.

Jim: All my experience.

Dr. Koch: Um, so I have a, if I struggle at 8:30 in the morning, will my whole school day be bad?

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch: Right? And this is where I could mention the role of optimism and pessimism. Optimistic people are absolutely more resilient and have a healthier, more honest explanatory style. So moms and dads can look for optimism and affirm to… Like, if you know… If you homeschool your mo- your kids and you struggled at, you know, 9:00 in the morning with an assignment, but by 10:00 in the morning, your child’s attitude had changed, we need to say, “Thank you for the attitude shift. I’m proud of you for being resilient and not expecting your whole day to go wrong.”

Jim: That’s good.

Dr. Koch: We, using the key language, ’cause I agree that resiliency is that important. And one of the ways we define it for children so they can be it is we call it out when we see it.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: No, that’s good. Okay, we had personalization, permanence, pervasiveness, and then the fourth one is?

Dr. Koch: the fourth one has to do with what will it take for me to recover?

Jim: So recovery.

Dr. Koch: So recovery. What will it take for me to recover? Is it going to be a big deal?

Jim: That’s interesting.

Dr. Koch: Is it going to be super hard?

Jim: Yeah, what’s the way out?

Dr. Koch: What’s the way out, that’s a good way-

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Koch: .. to phrase it. And there’s the non-resilient children say, “There’s nothing I can do.

Jim: Huh.

Dr. Koch: My teacher’s a bad teacher. My baby sister was crying. It’s raining. There’s nothing I can do.”

Jim: Right.

Dr. Koch: But the way out for a resilient child is, “I will do whatever it takes.”

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Koch: And again, do we model that as moms and dads, um, as consistently as possible?

Jim: So in that intentional parenting again, how do we discern our child’s explanatory style, one of those four?

Dr. Koch: Yeah. You know, I think-

Jim: You ask them questions, or?

Dr. Koch: Yes, that’s a great point, Jim. I think the first thing I would say is we listen longer. Um, what are they saying? What’s their tone of voice? What questions are they asking? Are they blaming? Are they shaming? Are they giving up? So we listen longer, we observe with the eyes to see a solution, not just the eyes to see what’s wrong.

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch: Not just the eyes to see you are so irritating. And I get that.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Koch: That happened. But they eyes to see what could I be doing differently here.

Jim: That’s so good.

Dr. Koch: And then we challenge them to look at it honestly. We show them real evidence. Evidence doesn’t lie. Evidence doesn’t lie.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Koch: If I called your coach right now, what would your coach say about your practice?

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch: If I called your piano teacher, what would your piano teacher say about your attitude? If I talked to your dad or your sister, what would… Evidence doesn’t lie.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Koch: And, and we don’t check up on them to make them feel like we don’t trust them, but we don’t trust them sometimes.

Jim: Yeah.

John: (laughs)

Jim: That’s interesting.

Dr. Koch: .. to have a realistic perspective, right?

Jim: You had a, a funny story in the book about watching a giraffe, a very poignant one I should say. And, uh, what happened with this giraffe that gave you a little metaphor?

Dr. Koch: Oh, Jim. Um, I was privileged to be in Africa. And after working at this conference, we went out to the giraffe preserve. And we saw a mother giraffe walking around with the baby’s legs sticking out of the birth canal. And so we knew the baby-

John: Oh, my.

Dr. Koch: .. was about to be born. It was the most amazing-

Jim: Yeah, that’s a rare sight.

Dr. Koch: It was very rare. And we were able to go with our guide. And the giraffe had just dropped the baby. We were there probably within about 10 minutes. And this baby, uh, six-feet tall as a baby.

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Koch: But splat on the ground like a piece of spaghetti, was trying to raise its neck. Uh, the baby drops from a standing position, breaks the umbilical cord, hits the ground, starts to breathe, and immediately tries to nurse.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Koch: God creates it to know immediately what it must do in order to survive.

Jim: Y- yeah. Amazing.

Dr. Koch: So it’s trying to lift its ne- neck, and then it falls down. Tries the other way, falls down. Tries to stand up, and the legs aren’t strong enough to hold it. It was hysterical. And the whole time, the mother was there watching, just watching.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Koch: If we ever clicked our camera or her head spun toward us, she was very protective-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Koch: .. and very observant. Occasionally would go down and lick some of the fluid maybe off of the baby, but did not ever try to get that baby to stand.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Koch: Cause that mother giraffe knew intuitively, “My child must learn to stand on its own.”

Jim: What a great example of-

Dr. Koch: Oh.

Jim: .. building resiliency. That, that baby had to get up on its legs so it could nurse.

Dr. Koch: Right, right, so something important. And the mother was courageous to watch it. Could the mother have helped, kinda the snow suit idea? Absolutely. And that’s why I sometimes say to parents, “Leave the room if you can. You know, if the kids are safe and you’re afraid you’re gonna over-help, leave the room,” because what I think would have happened if that mother would have helped the baby up, the legs wouldn’t have been sturdy enough to hold the baby, because it’s in the process of standing that the strength happens.

Jim: Great metaphor, great metaphor.

Dr. Koch: Right?

Jim: Kathy, we’re right at the end. We are gonna come back tomorrow, and we’re gonna pick up the conversation. But I’m thinking of the mom and dad. I mean, nobody does it perfectly.

Dr. Koch: No.

Jim: And I’m sitting here thinking, “Oh, I could have done that better, I could have done that better.” Uh, speak to that mom or dad maybe who has a teenager now, maybe 20-something, um, and it hasn’t, you know, been a mindful process for them. They have over-parented. They have over-protected. And the fruit if it’s there. I mean, the kids just aren’t doing the things the normally should do. What could they do to maybe s- set a different course, a little course correction even in the teen years to start addressing this?

Dr. Koch: Yeah, I appreciate the question. I mean, that’s, certainly that’s why we’re here today because people aren’t doing it perfectly. So we can own that. There’s no shame or blame there. Um, we want to give you courage for tomorrow and not blame or shame for yesterday. Uh, it isn’t easy today. Number one, ask to be forgiven-

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch: .. if, if you’ve sinned. Now, if you haven’t sinned against your children… Certainly have a conversation and say, “Man, I learned something on the radio today. I learned that I’ve been making a mistake by over-protecting you. I, I’ve been fearful that you would make me look bad.”

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Koch: Own it. That’s very common. Or, “I’ve been fearful that you might be hurt, but I was reminded that in the struggle, you gain experience so the struggle doesn’t continue being a struggle. And I need to courageously back off. And so if you see me not advising you as often, not protecting you as often, it’s not that I all of a sudden don’t care. It’s actually that I really care.

Jim: Hm.

Dr. Koch: And do, do you have any questions for me?” So think we have that conversation. We earn the right to say what’s said, and if we know that we’re part of the problem, because we throw a hissy fit when we get something wrong, we are demanding perfectionism which makes risk impossible. Jim, we own that with humility, and it has to be forgiven.

Jim: Man, it’s so good. And Kathy, we’ll come back next time. Let me turn to the audience. If this is pulling you in, I, which I hope it is as a parent, maybe a grandparent that knows your adult kid should hear this, um, let me encourage you to get in touch with Focus. John will give those details in a minute. We have a whole bunch of resources including Kathy’s great book that you can get a hold of. We also have a parenting assessment, uh, right there online. It’s free. It probably takes, I don’t know, five, six minutes-

John: Mm-hmm. Right.

Jim: .. to do. The seven traits of effective parenting. It’s k- it’s gonna point out some areas you’re doing great in, and then probably some areas that you need a little help. And, uh, obviously, we have Kathy’s wonderful book, Resilient Kids. And if you can make a gift of any amount, uh, we’ll send you Kathy’s book. If you can do it monthly, that really helps us. If one time, that’s good, too. And we’ll send you a copy of Kathy’s book as our way of saying thank you for being part of the ministry. Most important, though, you get a great resource to help you in your parenting journey.

John: Donate today as you can, and then request your copy of Kathy’s book, Resilient Kids. And find the link for that parenting assessment. We’ll have all the links right there at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 1-800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. And on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

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Resilient Kids: Raising Them to Embrace Life with Confidence

Receive the book Resilient Kids 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

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Conquering Debt (Part 2 of 2)

Brian and Cherie Lowe discuss their lackadaisical attitude toward finances during their first nine years of marriage and the moment they realized with horror that they were in over $127,000 in debt. They share the sacrifices they made, the determination they developed, and the challenges they faced when paying off their debt. (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Conquering Debt (Part 1 of 2)

Brian and Cherie Lowe discuss their lackadaisical attitude toward finances during their first nine years of marriage and the moment they realized with horror that they were in over $127,000 in debt. They share the sacrifices they made, the determination they developed, and the challenges they faced when paying off their debt. (Part 1 of 2)

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How to Build Resilience in Your Child (Part 2 of 2)

Dr. Kathy Koch explores the importance of resilience in our lives and how we can nurture that trait in our children. As a parent, you are the key to your child’s resilience! Through intentional modeling, ongoing conversation and observation, and encouragement, you can help them learn to bounce back from struggles, get unstuck, and move forward with courage and confidence. (Part 2 of 2)

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

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

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Dr. Kevin Leman

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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

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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.

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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!

Thank you for committing to pray for the pre-born!

Sign up below for your free seven-day prayer guide. This daily guide will help give direction to your prayers for the pro-life movement. We will be praying with you! 

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