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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Raising Well-Behaved Children

Raising Well-Behaved Children

Psychologist and author John Rosemond offers parents sound, biblically-based advice on disciplining children.

Opening:

John Fuller: Are your children driving you crazy? Maybe you’re constantly battling with discipline issues and you’re just really frustrated. Well, if so, stay tuned. Today’s “Focus on the Family” is just for you, as we talk about some good old-fashioned discipline that can really work. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.

Today we’ll hear a conversation with psychologist, John Rosemond, that we recorded with an audience in Asheville, North Carolina. I always appreciate what John has to say. He’s so very practical and he’s encouraging, too. He’s written 17 best-selling books, including The Well-Behaved Child. And he says his grandmother could’ve written that book because discipline really hasn’t changed all that much. And he’ll explain that as we begin. Here’s Jim Daly.

Body:

Jim Daly: John, we’re seeing evidence of a real lack of disciplined training, if we want to call it that. It may be true that the style of discipline hasn’t changed, but the application seems to have changed. So, what’s goin’ on in the culture? Are we just disciplining less? Are we disciplining with weaker tools?

John Rosemond: Well, I think one of the things is, that parents used to intuitively understand the discipling of a child was a leadership function and that you did it through leadership, the enactment of leadership principles.

And what has happened over the last 45 to 50 years in America, ever since what I call the “psychological parenting revolution” occurred in the late 60s and early 70s, is we have substituted the attempt to form relationships with children for leadership of children.

And one of the things that I say all the time, is look, the idea, the goal of having a wonderful relationship with your children’s a fine thing. But the fact of the matter is, that you have to put leadership first. Leadership is the horse that pulls the cart.

And the problem in America today is, all too many parents are putting the cart out in front of the horse, with good intentions, but it’s blowing up culturally in our faces in the form of behaviors on the part of children today that you just didn’t see 50 plus years ago.

Jim: Let’s pull this out a little bit, because I’m thinking of Josh McDowell, who talks about this idea that rules without relationship lead to rebellion. (Laughter) And I like that statement, but you’re saying, don’t go overboard with that. Am I hearing you right?

John R.: Well, I don’t want to, you know, contradict Josh. I think he and I would probably, if we sat down and talked about this, we would probably come to some sort of a—

John F.: Understanding.

John R.: –understanding, yes. I was trying to think of the French word.

Jim: I would know that word.

John R.: Yeah, uh …

John F.: Is that détente?

John R.: Obviously, yeah, Détente, yeah, that’s the word. (Laughter) But you know, I even wrote a newspaper column about this, saying that the alliteration, “rules without relationship leads to rebellion,” and it’s very seductive as an author to think up alliterative catchy kinds of things. And when you think them up, to begin believing that they’re really true. And I think if Josh and I talked, he would agree that you just, you know, you need leadership before you can form a really viable relationship with your children.

Jim: I was just gonna add to that, that it seems to me one of the great difficulties is, for us in the Christian community, it tends to be a switch. We’re usually all this way or all that way. We don’t like to live in ambiguity, in the middle somewhere. It sounds like what you’re saying is, keep leadership at the forefront, but certainly develop a relationship with your children.

John R.: Well, you know, and that’s a good point, Jim, because people misunderstand, that we’ve drifted away from this understanding in our culture. And so, people misunderstand this and they you know, they’ll say, well, are you saying I shouldn’t have fun with my children? I shouldn’t, you know, do recreational things with my kids? I shouldn’t take my son out in the backyard and throw a baseball back and forth?

And I’m saying, no, no, no. You can have fun, but there just needs to be the understanding that you are not seeking your son’s approval, that you are a discipler in this relationship. And I think that, that … these understandings that I talk about used to be implicit to parenting in America. And I think we have fallen away from these understandings and I think we’ve done so largely because of propaganda emanating from my profession and from—

Jim: Ah.

John R.:–propaganda that’s been emanating from my profession for the last 40 years—

Jim: When you look at it, at its core, what does that look like? How have they been so successful in changing the mind of a culture that kinda knew what the nose on their face looked like when it came to discipline? Now it’s, where’s my nose?

John R.: Yeah. Well, they’ve been very successful because of the capital letters after their name and the media rallied behind them, as they were emerging, these voices, these expert parenting voices in the mid-60s, late 60s.

And I happen to believe and I am a psychologist, you know, I hold a license from the North Carolina Psychology Board and I say this with no irony whatsoever, that they regret the day they ever gave me a license. (Laughter) Because I go around the country and I tell what I believe is the truth, which is, my profession has created, caused more problems for the American family and the American child than we even know how to solve.

And it’s time that (Clearing throat) in American parenting, and this is what I attempt to do through what I call my ministry, is to recover the attitude that people brought to the raising of children in the pre-psychological era. And I’m a member of the last generation of American children who were raised by parents who were not thinking psychologically. They weren’t even trying to improve us. And today, it’s child improvement.

What they were doing through the raising of us and the proper discipling of us, was to try and improve America and honor God. And I think that those are the only two legitimate purposes in the raising of children in this country.

Jim: Let’s talk about what you called “old-fashioned discipline.” That’s another way to say it. What does old-fashioned discipline look like?

John R.: Old-fashioned discipline is biblically based. Our first settlers came over, carrying with them a biblical paradigm for living their lives in every area of life. And this biblical paradigm was handed from generation to generation, from the mid-1600s. And to use an analogy from a Fleetwood Mac song—I’m a (Laughter) rock aficionado—we broke the chain. [FYI: Song by Fleetwood Mac, “The Chain”} It was my generation that broke the chain.

It came time for us to take this paradigm as it applied to the raising of children, to honor our mothers and our fathers, by respecting what they had done for us. And instead, we rejected it and it lies in the dust in America today.

And this is my ministry, is to persuade people at an individual level and as a couples’ level, to pick this baton, if you will, to mix my metaphors, to pick it up and to dust it off and to begin using it once again.

It’s interesting. The fifth commandment says, “Honor your father and your mother,” but it also says, “so that you will live long in the land the Lord God has given you.” And to me, what that means is, in part I’m sure, only in part, that by transmitting these fundamental principles and these fundamental traditions from generation to generation, you stabilize culture. And you insure the longevity of culture.

And I think that this was one reason why America as a culture, is in such a state of difficulty and deterioration today. It is because we have abandoned these fundamental principles and traditions as we embraced the myth of post-modernity.

Program Note:

John: John Rosemond is our guest on today’s “Focus on the Family.” This was recorded earlier in Asheville, North Carolina. And John speaks with great wisdom, doesn’t he? He’s a trained psychologist. He’s a parent of two grown children and grandparent to seven grandchildren. And his book is called The Well-Behaved Child. That’s just one of many titles, but that’s the one that relates to the content today, The Well-Behaved Child. We’ll continue the discussion now and I’ll encourage you to get the download or listen to the enter broadcast at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. Here again, Jim Daly.

End of Program Note:

Jim: Let’s get to some practical advice for moms and dads. We understand the backdrop. We understand we’re in a difficult culture, that society is not gonna help us the way it did years ago when our kids were outside playing. In fact, now we have to worry about all kinds of things and we don’t want ’em to be at the park at a certain time and we only let ’em go outside for a certain time, whatever it might be.

But let’s talk about how you change a culture, one family at a time. That’s what we’re all trying to do in the Christian community—live it well, let others see it, experience it, so that they might embrace Christ and also live it well. That’s what transforms culture. Talk to us about the parenting approach. What are some of the things that children are doing today that need to be reined in?

John R.: Well, here’s the thing and this is what I tell parents all over the culture, all over the country. You and I’m talking you, you parents, you believe that these problems are emanating from your children and the fact it, that the overwhelming majority of these problems are a function of your parenting style.

And if you can come to grips with that and accept that, it’s very liberating, because when you realize that you have been trying to change the wrong people, and that you’ve been making an effort. It’s very difficult to change someone else, even if the person in question is a 5-year-old child, when you understand that the person that needs to be changed in this equation is you, and that’s the easiest person for you to change, that is very, very liberating.

And so, I say to parents, you know, who tell me, I have an argumentative child, John. I say, no you don’t. You just simply provide explanations. You are justifying the decisions that you are making to your child. You are justifying the instructions and the justification, the explanation provides the child with all he needs to push back against you with.

And so, when you stop giving explanations, when you strip your instructions and you strip your decisions down to a minimum of words, you simply say what you mean, mean what you say, you’re going to find that these arguments stop.

Why do today’s children not hear the words, “Because I said so.” (Laughter) Well, we heard them because our parents did not give us explanations. And so, I’m saying “us,” we Baby Boomers, that forced us to ask, “Why?” or “Why not?” to which we were told, “Because I said so.”

Today’s children don’t hear this and people say, well, people don’t use that expression anymore. I say, no, no, no. They don’t hear it because their parents are explaining themselves up front, which causes the child to push back.

John F.: John, I’m guilty of trying to explain things to my kids, so I don’t like talking to you right now. (Laughter) So, (Laughter I’m–

Jim: Thanks for fessing up, John.

John F.: –feeling pretty guilty about that.

Jim: Get me off the hook.

John F.: But go into why we do that. I mean, I’m thinking that I’m helping my child to understand logic and to see through my lens so they can assume some level of responsibility in this process. Is that so wrong?

John R.: No, no, there are times when, you know, there’s a time for everything. And we should always understand, it just ain’t the whole time. (Laughter)

John F.: Is this an age kind of thing, where when they get older you explain less or more?

John R.: No, I think you do explain more as they become teenagers. That’s what I call “the season of mentoring,” where you begin to really actively, you know, take this worldview that you have hopefully instilled and you begin to help your child refine that worldview during his or her teenage years.

And so, it is essential that you begin explaining your worldview and your worldview is the foundation of all the decisions that you have made as a parent. That’s what anchors your worldview and makes it consistent from decision, decision to decision and instruction to instruction.

Jim: John, let me again bring it to a practical point with our parenting. What kind of behavior does a child that’s in trouble display? And why are they displaying it? Just pick it out of the top of your head there, whatever it might be—anger issues, defiance. What’s the behavior, and then what can a parent do to begin to address those behaviors?

John R.: Well, I think it’s all sorts of behaviors. It can be tantrums at the age of 4. It can be defiance at the age of 4 or 5. It can be social issues that the child is having.

Jim: Let’s take defiance and work that one through. Let’s say you have that 4-, 5-, 6-year-old, who is what many in your profession call “strong-willed.” And you know, they’re showing that and they’re confronting you at every turn. What should a parent do to get ahold of their strong-willed child?

John R.: You know, and I tend to answer questions in terms of anecdotes. A mother came up to me in Easley, South Caroline a few years ago. And she said, “John, I’ve got a 5-year-old who won’t do what he’s told.”

Jim: (Laughing)

John R.: And this was the actual conversation. I said, “Well, I don’t believe that.” (Laughter) And she said, “What are you talking about?” And I said, ” I’ve never heard of a 5-year-old who wouldn’t do what he was told.” “Well, then you’ve never heard of my son, ’cause he won’t do anything I tell him to do; (Laughter) about anything and ever …”

I said, “No, I’ve never heard of your son, but you’ve told me an awful lot about you without really meaning to.” She said, “What do you mean?” I said, “Well, you’ve told me you don’t tell you son to do anything, because my experience is, that if children are told, they do what they’re told.” But what today’s parents are doing is not telling; they’re pleading, bargaining, bribing. I’ve got this memorized, so it comes out very smoothly and I’m a public speaker. (Laughter)

Pleading, bargaining, bribing, cajoling, reasoning, explaining, encouraging, suggesting and promising. And when none of that works, then they threaten and then they scream and then they feel bad and then they do something special for the child and make up for their guilt and then they go right back to pleading, bargaining, bribing, you know, and so on and so forth. (Laughter)

And you know, I said to this woman, “When you start telling your child, your child will begin doing what he is told.” It’s a function of your leadership style. And this is not complicated; if you understand it that way, it’s very, very simple. And the problems become clear and the solutions become clear.

We’re hooked on methods. It started with time out. And I think today’s parents are following that theme of very short-sighted in their parenting.

My mother used to tell me what her mission was. (Laughter) John Rosemond, it’s my job to help you learn to stand on your own two feet. And you won’t learn to stand on yours if I let you stand on mine. (Laughter) And I heard it, you know, often, I mean often enough that the words are sort of burned into my memory. And you know, as a kid you hear stuff like that and you go, “What in the world is she talking about?” You know, but you become an adult and you suddenly in retrospect realize the gift that you were given.

Jim: John, let me ask you though, sometimes you’re talking about that cycle. Did you feel guilty about that, John?

John F.: I feel guilty pretty much (Laughter) every time we talk. I’m—

Jim: I’m as guilty as you are.

John F.: –I’m learnin’, Jim.

Jim: Yeah. But you talk about that cycle. How does a parent stop? Cynthia Tobias, who we’ve had on the broadcast many times, you know, she was a school teacher and police officer, a great combo to know authority. And that’s her big thing. She says, when you speak to your children, speak with authority and you’ll begin to see that response. Okay, I’ll do it. But so often today parents are moving right to anger or bursting out against their children, which does great damage to a child.

John R.: One of the problems in American culture today and American parenting culture is what I call “The Good Mommy Club.” And the rules of The Good Mommy Club, the rules of membership in The Good Mommy Club are such that they make inevitable that the female parent is going to experience a tremendous amount of stress in the raising of children and the stress is going to be expressed on some frequency in the form of cerebral meltdowns.

And you know, the rules of The Good Mommy Club, the good mommy pays as much attention to her children as she possibly can. So, my mother expected me to pay attention to her. The good mommy does as much for her children as she possibly can. My mother expected me to do for myself and on a daily basis, was for my benefit dedicating herself to doing as little for me as she possibly could.

And what I am saying to American women all over the country is, look, all of the rules have turned 180 degrees in the last 50 years. Your mother, your grandmother especially, didn’t go through her parenting career screaming on a regular basis at her children. Why is this happening today?

And these are things that are problems that are embedded in our parenting culture today, that you know, I go around the country and I say, “Look, my mission is two-fold. It’s mother liberation from the constraints of The Good Mommy Club and marriage restoration.”

Jim: And both those things happen if you’re parenting well usually.

John R.: I think both of those things happen if you’re following biblical principle in your parenting, which begins with mom and dad being one flesh. That’s where the relationship is. And there’s and in my estimation and I think it’s not arguable, there is nothing that puts a more solid foundation of security and well-being under a child’s feet than the knowledge that his parents are in a committed, not perfect, but a committed relationship.

Jim: John, we’re wrappin’ up and I want to give hope to that mom and I want to give hope to that mom or that dad or both of them, because they’re dealing with a child (Chuckling) that they have created (Laughter), I guess is the best way to say it. You gotta think about your words as you’re talkin’ to John here. (Laughter) It’s not in their DNA perhaps, but we have created this monster. And what do they do today? How do they stop from thinking that and start readdressing their own parenting styles? What are one or two, three things they could do right now as they hear this program, rather than fight with your child tonight around the supper table, what can they do to turn the tide?

John R.: Well, I am absolutely convinced that we have become a nation of child-focused families. And it is undeniable that in the typical American family, the parents are talking more to the children on a weekly basis than they are talking to one another. They are acting more interested in the children and what they’re doing than they are in what each other have done during the day while they were apart from one another.

They are more considerate, they are more courteous toward the children. They are more careful in how they speak to the children. And it goes on and on and on and on. And all of this is very well-intentioned, but it’s out of whack.

We need and our children need more than anything else I think in America and this will strengthen the family, strengthen childrearing, strengthen children, but perhaps most importantly, it will strengthen America, if we can restore the primacy of the marriage to the America family. You know, I’m a member of the last generation that prefaced things that way. I’m a member of the last generation of American children who grew up in homes where it was clear that your parents were married.

Now they may not have had a wonderful marriage, but they were married. And I think that today’s kids are not seeing marriages. They are seeing two people who are oftentimes not even working together very well, who are totally focused on them.

And I think this. in and of itself, because God wants husband and wife to be one flesh. That’s clear. And when you do not obey God in any area of your life, you are going to bring down problems on your head. It doesn’t matter what your intentions are. Intentions do not determine outcome. And so, the one thing I say to people all over the country is, get yourself back together.

How do you do that? Just ask yourself 10 times a day, what can I do for him or what can I do for her? Because a strong marriage is all about service. It’s all about being a servant.

Jim: Well, and they talk about the idea that if you want to be the best parent you can be, then love your spouse.

John R.: Exactly.

Jim: That’s a full statement.

John R.: Charlie Shedd said that, I believe.

Jim: Well, it’s well-said. It’s so good to have you with us and again, we’ll post some of these thoughts and ideas on the website, so folks can access them. John, it’s great to have you with us here in Asheville, North Carolina.

John R.: It’s been my honor–

Jim: And let me say—

John R.: –Jim and John. Thank you.

Jim: –it’s been great to have all of you with us, as well. God bless you.

John R.: God bless you all.

Audience: (Applause)

Closing:

John F.: You could tell that Jim and I and the audience enjoyed the conversation with psychologist, John Rosemond and we’re very glad to have featured him a number of times over the years on “Focus on the Family.” As I said earlier, this was a recorded conversation. We had an audience in Asheville, North Carolina and it was a very informative and helpful time.

John’s book that really relates to what we’ve talked about today is The Well-Behaved Child and as you can tell, his foundation is the Scripture and he’ll walk you through some very practical steps to parenting effectively in this book. Ask for it when you get in touch with us here at Focus on the Family.

And we’re a not-for-profit ministry. We rely on the generous support of friends like you to keep doing the work that we do of coming alongside parents and encouraging them and offering helpful advice to strengthen marriages. And we need your assistance and so, when you make a gift of any amount today to the ministry, we’ll send John Rosemond’s book to you. It’s our way of saying thanks and also putting a good practical resource into your hands. Donate today when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY; 800-232-6459 or at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.

Our program was provided by Focus on the Family and on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening in. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back next time. We’ll hear from Mrs. Bo Stern and she’ll share about her husband’s battle with ALS. It’ll inspire you to draw closer to God and it’ll help you and your family thrive.

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

Dr. Randy Schroeder

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

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

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

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

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

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

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

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

Defending Your Marriage

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

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

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

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

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

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

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

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

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

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

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

Mr. Greg Koukl

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

Tactics front cover

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

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

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.

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 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.

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!

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! 

Focus on the Family

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