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Leading Your Child Through Emotional Milestones (Part 2 of 2)

Leading Your Child Through Emotional Milestones (Part 2 of 2)

You mark your child's physical and developmental milestones, but how can you measure their feelings? Counselors Sissy Goff and David Thomas discuss children's emotional milestones – like emotional vocabulary, perspective, and empathy – and offer practical advice for how parents can help cultivate these milestones. (Part 2 of 2)

Opening:

Excerpt:

David Thomas: Parents are so quick to want to go to, “I want my kids to figure out how not to melt down. I want them to figure out how to work through frustration better.” And that’s an important objective. But if they don’t even know what they’re feeling, like, that’s the foundational building block. That’s why we start with vocabulary. We’ve got to figure out, “What is it that I’m feeling so that I can then figure out what to do with it?”

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: David Thomas is with us again along with his co-author and co-worker Sissy Goff. And they’re going to share more about emotional milestones in your children. I’m John Fuller, and your host today on Focus on the Family is Focus president and author Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: Hey, John, it’s so great to have Sissy and David with us and back with us today. Last time, we covered some, I think, really incredible insights. And I’m hoping for you, the listener, I’m asking the questions you want me to ask. That’s my goal as I sit here thinking of the content, even out of my own experience as a father and Jean as a mother, you know, the things that we’re struggling with. And that really is all to help you be a better parent and do the job God’s called you to do. You know, sometimes it’s a little daunting to think that He has only loaned us the kids, right? And then, man, they’re gone. And we’re on the precipice of that. We have one of our boys who’s gonna be a senior and our other one’s a sophomore. We’re not far away from the empty nest. You’ve gone through that, John. You’ve had four of the six…

John: Some of that, not the empty part. But yes.

(LAUGHTER)

John: Several kids have launched and gotten out.

Jim: You’ve launched some of kids so – I mean, that’s a big moment when they’re, like, now adult peers, right?

John: When you say goodbye and you realize they’re not gonna be coming back and staying with me anymore…

Jim: In the same way.

John: …At least not the same way, it’s a pretty big deal.

Jim: That’s true. And I hope if you didn’t catch the program last time, get the download. Call us and get a CD or maybe even get the smartphone app. And you can listen that way as well. But there’s lots of ways that you can listen. And this is our purpose. Man, we want to help you be the best mom and dad you can be. And the resources that we cover on the program – that’s our sole intent. And today we’re gonna cover more of the great content from Sissy and David – their book, Are My Kids on Track?

John: Yeah. And Sissy is the director of child and adolescent counseling. David is the director of family counseling. Both work at Daystar Counseling Ministries in Nashville, Tennessee. And this book is available along with the CD, the smartphone app and other help, including a feelings chart that we mentioned last time at focusonthefamily.com/radio.

Jim: John, how are you feeling today? Are you happy, sad, angry?

John: I’d rather not talk about it, Jim. I haven’t hit my milestone.

Body:

Jim: I think you’ve answered the question right there. David and Sissy, welcome back.

Sissy Goff: Thank you. We’re so glad to be back.

David: Thank you.

Jim: Now David Thomas, you’re not the guy that invented the Wendy’s hamburger?

David: I wish I had access to that inheritance.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: I just wanna clarify.

David: No connection.

Jim: We ended last time talking about, you know, the impact of a dad on the daughter. We talked about boys and how they respond to mom and some of those basic things, identifying the stumbling blocks, as you call them. And Sissy, you talked about control of a little girl, what she’s developing there – kind of the insecurities of that, wanting to be perfect, that idea of perfection. And again, if you missed that, get it. I want to come back to that briefly on the anxiety side. And this can be both a mom or a dad. But when you see anxiety in a child, what do you normally see in the parent?

Sissy: Well, there’s a lot of research that says anxiety is a childhood epidemic in America today. I think from our counseling offices, we would say anxiety is a parenting epidemic in America today.

Jim: Is a parenting epidemic – it’s parents who are the ones who are anxious. And we’re transferring it to our kids?

Sissy: Yes. Yes. And some of it, I think, is really overcompensating – that I think we all are kind of near the same age. And we grew up in a generation where we weren’t talking about our feelings. And our parents weren’t often asking us about our feelings. And so maybe we had anxiety, and no one ever knew. And so we’re seeing parents who are over talking with their kids and really trying to step in and fix it, like you said. And basically, what experts will say is with anxiety, to work through it, the child just has to do the scary thing. And so when we don’t let them, we’re, in effect, preventing them from working through it. But they need to do it in a gradual way. But they still got to do it.

Jim: Sure. Give me a handle. I’m a mom or dad – David, you can jump in on the dad’s side here. What does that handle for a quick self-assessment that I’m dipping toward anxiety? How do I see it in myself with my child? What would be some of those experiences – if you’re doing this, then you may be informing your child in an unhealthy way?

Sissy: Are you doing it for them or are you stepping in and removing whatever is causing the anxiety in the first place? If it’s track, are you letting her quit the track team immediately without pushing through and having to work through it a little harder?

Jim: Doing the homework.

Sissy: Doing the homework – going to school – I had a family recently who – a lot of kids have some school refusal where they’re worried about going to school. And there are ways that you can help them work through that without just pulling them. And I saw a family who had completely pulled their daughter from school. And by the time I got with her, it was obvious she was in complete control of her house. And that’s part of it – is they’ve got to know that we’re bigger. That makes them feel safe like we talked about.

Jim: David, what about boys in that same way? Do they suffer from some insecurity?

David: Oh, absolutely they do. And I was even thinking, when you were asking that question about parents, where I mentioned earlier with boys, I’ll do a lot of training around listening to your body and figuring out when your body’s signaling an alarm. And I have to do a lot of that with parents. Like, we laugh about how often we’ll have parents in our office who will say things like, “He’s so worried, and I don’t know where that comes from.” And you’re thinking…

(LAUGHTER)

Sissy: Feels palpable in you.

David: …Really? I’ve challenged parents, hopefully in a respectful way, to just say, like, “Are you aware even right now? Like, your voice is elevated. Your hands are clenched at this point. You’re yelling as we talk. Like, not listening to the signals your own body is giving you in this moment.”

Jim: Well, and I think that’s the reason for my question, is that our self-awareness can be really diminished in this area of parenting ‘cause it’s so close in. We’re gonna be far more self-aware in a social setting, in a workplace. But at home, we’re kind of just who we are. That’s where we’re relaxing, at – at least in terms of facades.

Sissy: We talk a lot…

Jim: Is that fair?

Sissy: We talk a lot in the book about parenting out of love and not out of fear. And that’s kind of the bottom line in that.

Jim: Yeah. That is so true. And I think the key thing there is – what I’m tryin’ to pull out of ya is how does a parent do a quick self-assessment that “I am a fear-based parent, and I’ve gotta change?” And I know there’s no quick way to do that. But I’m just thinkin’ of the poor mom or the poor dad listening who is saying, “Okay, I think I do parent out of fear.” How do we confirm that for them? What would you say?

David: In the chapter on awareness, we do talk with parents about the importance of not only knowing your stuff, checking your baggage, but talking openly – obviously age-appropriately – with our kids too, to be able to say things to them like, “You know what? I have a tendency to bend toward catastrophic thinking.”

(LAUGHTER)

“That’s kinda where I go. I go quickly to worst-case scenarios.” And so being able to say those things, tell on ourselves in that way, and understanding what do I need in response to that. Like, we’ve talked about empathy and questions and coffee in case of the third kinda magic equation we talk a lot with parents about – it’s time and space, and to be able to say to the kids we love, “You know what? I’m amped up right now. Like, I’m flooded with worry right now. Like, in this moment, I don’t feel like I’m in my” – I – with boys, I call it your dinosaur brain or your thinking brain, you know, your emotional brain, your thinking brain – for us as parents to be able to say, “I’m not in my thinking brain right now. I love you too much to argue, so I’m gonna go take 15 minutes to walk the dog, do whatever I need to do at this point. And then we’ll come back together and talk so that I’m not parenting out of fear, so that I’m not parenting out of emotion.” When we’re emotionally charged, kids or adults, in those moments, it’s like what happens when I go to the grocery store on an empty stomach. I just – I don’t make thoughtful decisions.

Jim: Let’s move to empathy. Talk about the importance of empathy, what empathy is and teaching your child how to, um, express empathy. It’s kind of a big question there, but either one of you, just kick it off.

David: Maybe a short definition would be if vocabulary – the milestone of vocabulary is reading emotions, empathy is responding to emotions. So it’s the ability to kind of look at you and have some sense of what’s going on inside of you, climb into your shoes. And we know – there’s so much research out there that continues to confirm that empathy is one of the most foundational ingredients in healthy interpersonal relationships of all kinds – marriage relationships, parent to child, coworker relationships. So we don’t really need to have much of any conversation about whether we think it’s important or useful. It is, no doubt about it. And the research continues to confirm it.

So kinda where we go in the empathy chapter and every chapter is breaking down what are the stumbling blocks for boys, what are the stumbling blocks for girls, what are the building blocks for boys, building blocks for girls? And then at the end of every chapter is 10 practical, easy, user-friendly ways that a parent can be doing this in your home every day.

Jim: Well, let’s go with the boys. What are the stumbling blocks? And then what are those, uh, antidotes to help them?

David: Oftentimes with boys the first and biggest is gonna be awareness. Like, where he has trouble reading his own emotions…

Jim: That’s pretty true.

David: …It’s all the more difficult to read it on others. And so one of the practices I recommend for parents is doing a lot of people studies. You know, if you’re just sitting in a – a…

Jim: Airport.

David: …Restaurant airport, and like, “What do you think that guy over there is feeling? What do you think’s going on? He’s talking on the phone.” Having him be able to look and put some of those puzzle pieces together, using movies, hitting pause at different points on the way when we’re watching movies or reading books with kids and kind of doing a little dissecting in those moments is a useful practice with a lot of boys.

Jim: Yeah. If you have an older child now, and you’re feeling – I mean, I’m – I’m not even sure what a red flag would look like if they’re not empathizing. Uh, give me an example, a practical example, where you have a 15, 16-year-old, and you should be – the alarm bells should be going off. What would that look like, and then what can you do?

David: Well, one of the first things we would say, I think for boys and for girls, uh, with adolescents – and this is a part of where just letting development serve as a backdrop is so important – that we acknowledge one of the things that’s at play with every adolescent is they’re thinking more about themselves than others.

Jim: Yeah. At 5, 6, 7, that’s kinda normal, right?

David: Oh, absolutely.

Jim: It’s hard to raise a child up at that age to say, “Be empathetic.”

Sissy: And it’s normal at 15, 16, 17. We could add a one to each of those numbers too.

(LAUGHTER)

David: Yes, yes.

Jim: Well, I would hope – I hope that they would have more coping skill at that point, more ability to be able to do that.

David: They would. But what could get in the way is that reality of, “I’m thinking so much about myself, and I’m insecure and unsteady inside of myself, that I can’t be as aware of you. It’s not that I don’t want to or have the skills to, but I’m so road blocked by adolescence in those moments.” So…

John: And that – that’s like, “My complexion is bad, or I don’t stand out the way I want to, I stand out in a bad way, so I can’t even get outside of that.”

David: Yes. And – and there’s – you know, for years developmental psychologists have called one of the things that happens in adolescence the imaginary audience, this phenomena that kids are believing in all moments, I’m being observed, critiqued, watched, talked about. And that…

Jim: It’s pretty much true.

David: Yeah.

Sissy: And now more than ever ‘cause this is…

David: Social media has confirmed that to be the case. And so kids are so consumed with that they can’t be aware of others in ways that they’ll have the capacity to do differently, say, for example, in their 20s. And – and that feels so foundational to us to talk about and understand because in those moments – you mentioned this earlier – a parent could easily go to a place of just thinkin’, “Oh, my goodness. He’s 16, and he doesn’t have any evidence of empathy.” And I would always push back on that, and to say, “He’s 16 and likely doesn’t have a lot of evidence in some moments.” But requiring him to be in situations, something as simple as an elderly neighbor on our street lost a spouse, so let’s write a note to that person and take it – you found out – my sons at 15 just found out their beloved soccer coach lost his mom. And I’m like, “Let’s write him a note at this point and practice, roleplay having a conversation.” A 15-year-old boy doesn’t know naturally how to approach a coach they love and respect and acknowledge that he lost someone he loves.

Jim: And that’s what…

David: So that’s – that’s something we have to practice…

Jim: And that’s…

David: …No different than riding a bike.

Jim: …What you call a building block?

David: It is.

Jim: And I – you know, that’s really interesting to think of it that way ‘cause I think sometimes as parents, we look at that, and of course you should know what that means. You should be empathetic. And then we get – uh, you know, we lack, uh, patience with that child that they don’t know how to react. But we’ve gotta teach ‘em how to react.

David: We do.

Jim: That’s a great point.

David: We do. I – I remember when one of my sons was in sixth grade, he came home and was aware that one of his best buddies’ parents were going through a really hard, high-conflict divorce. And he said, “Dad, I wanna check on him. But I’m worried if I ask him about it at school, it’ll make him too sad. And I’m worried if I don’t ask him, he’ll think I don’t care.” And don’t we all know that tension as grown-ups?

John: What a great question for him to ask you.

David: And that’s a great example. He didn’t instinctively know how to ask the right amount. And so we’ve gotta practice those kinds of conversations with kids so they can develop empathy.

Jim: Well, and I love that that – the way that you’ve built the book, with those stumbling blocks and then building blocks. Uh, Sissy, let’s go to the girl’s side of empathy. Um…

Sissy: I was about to say, on the flip side of David’s story, I had a girl that I was working with who was a seventh grader – because girls just inherently, I think, have more empathy from their earliest stages, but they lose it in adolescence. And she said to me, “My best friend and I are so close. We talk about everything. We share everything. I think her parents got divorced last year, but I’m not really sure.” So…

(LAUGHTER)

Sissy: …Great picture of a total lack of empathy in her adolescence. But that’s really normal for her too.

Jim: Oh, that’s interesting.

John: It is, and our guests Sissy Goff and David Thomas have a great book. It’s called, Are My Kids on Track? Get your copy and a download or a CD of this broadcast at focusonthefamily.com/radio, or call us if you have questions or just need some encouragement. Our number here is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Sissy, I’m not gonna let you off the hook that easy when it comes to the girls, though, because in the book you talk at length about narcissism. And I always think that – of that as an adult feature ‘cause you’ve lived enough life, you disregard people. The whole universe is about you. And it takes a little time to get there, I thought. But you – you subscribe narcissism to young girls, that it’s a – a normal growth pattern. Tell me what – what you’re driving at with narcissism.

Sissy: Well, I think it starts typically around the age of 11, when they’re – when puberty kicks in. But now we have girls who are starting their periods as young as 8, so you can see strains of it earlier on. And it – typically, by about junior year they’re cycling out of it, which is the great news. But all girls are narcissistic to some degree like David talked about. They’re thinking about themselves perpetually, and they’re thinking about what other people are thinking about them. And so social media has made that significantly worse because it’s in their face all of the time. And so with girls, I think we want to continue to remind them of who they are in terms of caring that they’re thoughtful of other people, that they – that relationships matter to them. We wanna give them opportunities to grow those skills in every way possible. And I think, again, because girls are empathetic more naturally just with their – who God’s made them to be and that difference like we talked about, one of the things that we really look at is, I think, with all of us, we have this language that’s happening verbally. But with girls, there’s this sublanguage that goes on that’s nonverbal, that’s kind of this undercurrent. And when girls start to miss that, we become concerned that there’s something more going on, such as ADHD, anxiety. Those are two things that make them start to miss social cues. And so they lag behind even farther, and those girls are gonna have a harder time developing empathy a lot of times.

Jim: Yeah. And in – in that context, you’re wanting to develop awareness and humility within the – how does a parent go about developing humility? I mean, I – I got a couple of ideas.

(LAUGHTER)

But they may be the most appropriate. But…

Sissy: Well…

Jim: …You’ve got to be, uh, kind of mindful of how to do that, um, not draconian.

Sissy: Well, and again, I think because girls by nature want to offer something of themselves, they want to care about other people – they have more oxytocins flooding their brains, which is the nurturing hormone – and so how do we get them in places developmentally where they are serving? I think that’s really a bottom line. And so taking them to a soup kitchen to help serve, taking them on mission trips. And again, with that narcissistic adolescent thing they got going on, those years especially are important for them to be often even having experiences away from home, away from their parents, where they get to feel like they’re making a difference. Because that’s one of the places we get most concerned about kids anyway when we talk about depression, is those kids start to believe they don’t matter. And so how can we give kids an opportunity at each stage developmentally to feel like, “I really do make a difference in the life of somebody else? And when it doesn’t come naturally to me.”

Jim: Well, and that’s so good in the book. For the parent of a seventh, eighth, ninth grader, I mean, again, these are phases. Your kids are going to go through difficult moments. Some of it’s gonna be hormonal. And to better understand it is critical so you’re not freaking out as a mom and dad, saying, “Oh my goodness. We have an axe murderer.” No. This is just…

Sissy: Or narcissistic personality disorder growin’ in our house.

Jim: Yeah. That – that would not be good either.

Sissy: No.

Jim: But it’s being mindful of it and taking the long view and understanding where you’re at. Um, David, let’s go to the – that boy, maybe that little boy, and they’re expressing, uh, blame or avoidance or denial, kind of the stumbling blocks for that little boy when it comes to resourcefulness. What is resourcefulness, and what do those stumbling blocks look like?

David: Resourcefulness is really taking the emotion to something constructive. It’s problem-solving. It’s strategizing. It’s critical thinking. And it’s kinda part of that two-part agenda we talked about earlier, figuring out what do I feel, and then what to do with it. It’s the what-to-do-with-it part. And – and boys, I love helping boys develop in this area because I think, again, as males, we’re kinda a natural problem-solvers. So this is flexing a little stronger muscle. But the three stumbling blocks you mentioned are kinda his biggest roadblocks of Blame, Avoidance and Denial. I have that acronym of BAD in the book because I think boys do a lot of, in the face of failure or in the face of, you know, difficulty, swinging between blame and self-hatred, somewhere between “It’s your fault” and “I’m an idiot.” And they have a hard time getting to that good, healthy middle space. Like, I had a conversation with an 11-year-old boy just yesterday in my office. And he struck out three times in the same baseball game. And he was talking his way through it. And the things I heard from him were those two extremes. Like, the pitcher couldn’t even throw the ball – there’s blame. And then he got to at some point, in a teary moment, “I’m the worst player on the team.” But nowhere in the middle was the sense of, “I had an off day,” or “I missed practice one day this week and I was a little bit, you know, not as in my – in my rhythm.” Like, there were all these different factors that I had to lead him to that he just couldn’t get to easily on his own. And so I think as long as a boy is swinging between those two places, it’s really hard for him to develop resourcefulness.

Jim: How – how does a mom or a dad minimize that pendulum effect? How – how do you narrow that in? What can you say that will help them cope better and equip them better?

David: I – I do think that empathy and questions formula is really useful in these moments of, “That sounds hard.” Sometimes when – when they’re stuck in blame, it’s, “Tell me what you think your part was in it. What was your contribution?” Or – we laugh. I have a story at the beginning of that chapter about when my sons were 6. And this is an example of how early it starts with boys. We had a soccer game. We’re runnin’ around the house on a Saturday morning. And my son walked up to my wife and said, “What did you do with my soccer cleats?” Like, nothing in him…

(LAUGHTER)

…Thought to say, “Did you see where I left them? Do you have any idea where I put ‘em?” And so in those moments, rather than just, again, coddling – like, I’m gonna go to finding them for him – you know, my wife looked at him and said, “I didn’t wear them. I didn’t wear those with my black skirt.” She was a little playful for a moment. Like, where did you leave ‘em last? Like, helping him move toward some problem-solving on his own as opposed to doing it for him, but not letting him stay stuck in blame.

John: I’m still thinking about the kid, uh, the 11-year-old who struck out. So what kind of counseling can you give that boy to find the answer – not tell him, but to find the answer himself?

David: We spent some time on the front side, just a few minutes, kinda connecting the dots on helping him see where he was swinging from one side or the other. Like, I highlighted for him, like, the two things I’ve heard the most from you are, he couldn’t pitch the ball, and “I’m a loser”. And so we talked a little bit about what those messages are and the two extremes in language that’s doable for him. And then I said, “What are the other possibilities of what could have happened?” And that’s how he got to that place, saying, “Well, I did miss practice once this week and felt like I had an off day ‘cause actually I played a great game on Tuesday.” So he could kind of anchor himself to some truth after a little digging and an exploration.

Jim: That – that is really helpful. I’m – I’m thinking of that just in my own parenting, my own fathering. Those are good things to come back around on. And when you notice them not doing as well, ask those empathetic questions. I like that. Um, Sissy, how ‘bout for the girls? When it comes to resourcefulness, what’s their stumbling block, and what’s the building block for them?

Sissy: I think girls, for any of us, when we come up to a roadblock, resourcefulness is really workin’ our way around it. And I have more and more girls who just sit down by the roadblock. Some of ‘em plant flowers. Some of ‘em draw pictures.

(LAUGHTER)

They don’t even care about getting around it. And…

Jim: Why is it important?

Sissy: Right.

(LAUGHTER)

Why is it important? Yeah. And so motivation is one of the building blocks that we talk a lot about. And I think sometimes we’re imposing our motivation on them rather than helping them find theirs. And so we keep going back to empathy and questions. But I think even in those times – I mean, one of the questions I ask the most in my counseling office is, “What do you want? What do you want to happen here? What do you think, again, is – what do you think’s gonna help?”

Jim: I wanna end with this question and for each of you to answer this because I think – um, you know, you’re doing counseling. You have the techniques of counseling. Uh, these are things that we believe, as Christians, are all rooted in biblical truth. I think we can all agree to that. Why do you think God does it this way? I mean, when you look at the, uh, little years of tryin’ to teach them, and then those hormonal adolescent years, and then puberty hits, and you got the teen years – when you’re looking at the big picture, what does God want from us as a parent – as a father, David, and as a mother, Sissy?

David: I would say I think what He wants most for me as a father is, uh, to be transformed more into the image of His son. And He’s…

Jim: What does that look like?

David: …Gonna use these beings to disrupt me…

(LAUGHTER)

…And take me to the end of myself and help me figure out I’m making more of a mess than I’m doing it well in a lot of moments and that there’s grace for that. And we talk about this in the spiritual milestones of just how we cannot really understand the beauty of grace unless we understand the depths of our need. And so I think that’s what – what it’s about for me, more than anything.

Jim: Sissy, in that mom space, the mom that’s to her wits’ end – she’s so worried. She’s not in control. All the things we’ve talked about these last couple of days, those, um – maybe you might call them the sensitive spots for Eve. You know, where Eve lives, those attributes that so many women, so many moms, possess. How does she wrestle herself away from that and actually trust God, even in the midst of really serious stuff?

Sissy: I would say a lot of dependence, um, just like David talked about, and – and that one of the things I sit with moms and talk about all the time is God gave you exactly what you need already for the life of each of your kids, even the one that’s the most challenging. And that child really, in effect, will be the most transformative and will teach you your need for Jesus and His grace and mercy for you so that you in turn can spill it over to them because that’s so much of what we do when we love kids.

Jim: Boy, so good. And you have done a wonderful job in this book, Are My Kids on Track? The 12 Emotional, Social and Spiritual Milestones Your Child Needs to Reach. I mean, so many parents contacting us here at Focus on the Family are sayin’, “Am I doin’ the right job?” This is one of those resources, these tools that can really enlighten you as to whether you are. And I’ve loved what I’ve heard, David and Sissy. Thank you so much for being here, uh, with us. We so appreciate it.

Sissy: Thank you.

David: Thank you for having us. We’ve loved it.

Closing:

Jim: And listen, this is why Focus on the Family is here. We want to provide you with biblical answer and trusted advice as you’re raising your children. That’s what we want as we’re raising ours. We have many, many resources available to you like our 7 Traits of Effective Parenting Assessment tool, which really reveals your individual parenting strengths and those things you can work on. It’s worth doing just for that reason. We also have a feelings chart with our beloved Adventures in Odyssey characters and David and Sissy’s book that we talked about today: Are My Kids on Track?

The strength of your family is important to us. We pray for you. And to continue to provide these tools, we need your prayer and financial support to be blunt, especially as we’re closing out our fiscal year. We need to know how to budget for the coming year. We are listener supported. You’re the one who empowers us to take a stand for the family and deliver, hopefully, good solid encouragement and counsel. Won’t you do your ministry – I like saying it this way – do your ministry through the mechanism here at Focus on the Family by contributing to the work here? Together, we will reach people for Christ. And when you give any amount today, as our way of saying thank you, we’ll send a copy of the book we talked about: Are My Kids on Track?

John: Donate and get your copy of that great book at focusonthefamily.com/radio, or call us and we’d be happy to tell you more: 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Next time, on this broadcast, a powerful conversation with Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory about how you can identify and end your personal pursuit of perfection.

Teaser:

Cheri Gregory: I was the person who was trying harder and harder and it still wasn’t good enough. I was the A plus, plus, plus student, and there was no joy and there was no sense of satisfaction in it.

End of Teaser

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Fueling Great Relationships With Others

Dr. John Townsend offers practical ideas on how to create incredibly meaningful relationships in every area of your life. He describes the types of people who are needed on your “life team” to help you grow – and others who need to be held at arm’s length, as you seek balance in your relationships with friends and colleagues.

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Simple Habits to Embrace in Your Marriage

Dr. Randy Schroeder has counseled thousands of married couples and has discovered simple tools that help couples avoid divorce and build a thriving marriage. In this broadcast, he describes practical habits to help couples navigate expectations in marriage, build emotional closeness, and resolve disagreements.

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Avoiding Shame-Based Parenting

Psychologist Dr. Kelly Flanagan discusses the origins of shame, the search for self-worth in all the wrong places, and the importance of extending grace to ourselves. He also explains how parents can help their kids find their own sense of self-worth, belonging and purpose.

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Becoming a Clutter-Free Family

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.

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.

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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Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

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 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

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 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

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!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

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 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

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

To be an effective parent, you must be a leader in your child’s life, guiding with a gentle hand and setting a solid example. Dr. Randy Schroeder provides the insight you need to be a leader-parent. As he explores the foundational Rs—relationship, routines, responsibilities, and rules—you’ll better understand the role you play in your child’s life. You’ll learn great phrases to employ such as “Either/Or/You Decide” and “When You/Then You”. While there is no perfect parent, this nuts-and-bolts material will equip you to lead your child in a loving, confident manner.

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!