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Focus on the Family Broadcast

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Rethinking Your Parenting Strategies (Part 1 of 2)

Rethinking Your Parenting Strategies (Part 1 of 2)

Psychologist Michael Anderson and Dr. Timothy Johanson explain how many parents waste time and energy on parenting strategies that don't work, and offer practical suggestions for more effectively disciplining children and raising them to become well-adjusted adults. (Part 1 of 2) 
Original Air Date: May 10, 2016

Opening:

John Fuller: I want you to imagine this all too familiar, but very frustrating situation. For the third time this week your child has misbehaved and you’ve tried everything — warnings, lectures, loss of privileges, everything! Nothing is working, though. And for whatever reason, your child is unwilling, maybe incapable of doing the right thing. So you feel like a complete failure as a parent. What do you do now?

Maybe you’ve “been there, done that” — if so, you are going to find some encouragement and practical help and hope for your parenting journey. This is Focus on the Family with your host Focus president and author, Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, I think you’ve got everybody’s attention now! Because that stress is so common. Every day it’s homework or chores, or some struggle to get your kids to do better — behaviorally or whatever it might be. And about 25 to 30-percent of our effort here at Focus is helping parents do the best job you can do for your kids. And I’m excited as a parent do whatever I can to help in that way.

It doesn’t matter whether your child is 2-years-old or 22-years-old — you’re going to face challenges. It’s inevitable. So, first of all, except that but here at Focus on the Family we want to help. We’ve got lots of resources and tools for your parenting journey.

John: And please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our website is focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call number is 800 – the letter “A” and the word – FAMILY.

Jim: Now I want to be really clear, one of our goals today is to help parents relax! And I know moms and dads are thinking — “What are you talking about, Jim? Relax? I can’t relax! This is too important!” And I get it, we’re going to show you how to back up a little bit and maybe try a different approach — maybe a less conflicted approach in dealing with your children.

Our guests today are Michael Anderson and Dr. Timothy Johanson. Michael is a licensed psychologist and Tim is a pediatrician. So very well qualified people. Both of these men have spent decades studying the way kids grow and learn. And they’ve got some very interesting ideas, out-of-the-box thinking, when it comes to how we should parent our children.

John: And here’s how we began the conversation with our guests on today’s Focus on the Family.

Body:

Jim: Now you two have written this comprehensive book for parents that will serve as the basis for our discussion today. The title’s GIST, which I love that, the “gist” of it. Is that what you’re trying to drive toward, the gist of parenting?

Timothy Johanson: Yeah, I think when we wrote the book, it came out of a couple of different places, first for me, the issue of seeing so much stress in families.

Jim: (Laughing) It is a bit of that, isn’t it?

Timothy: There’s a lot of that and over the last 25 years in practice, that seems to have grown each year and I think there’s a lot of reasons for that. And as we wrote the book, we spent an awful lot of time trying to think of a good title that would really encapsulate what’s in the book and it’s … it took a long time, didn’t it Mike?

Michael Anderson: Yeah, even though the book’s 320 pages, it is just the basics. It’s about how you look at parenting and that’s what’s different about this book than other books, because it’s not about how to get your kid to behave a certain way. It’s about how to think about parenting, so the right thing comes natural[ly].

Jim: Let’s talk about that. Why are we drawn as parents to try to get our kids to behave a certain way? And we think that’s the goal. I mean, when you see a well-behaved child, you’re thinking, wow, those guys are doin’ a great job parenting. Is that accurate?

Michael: It might be accurate. It might not be because everything has to progress from something. So, in other words discipline is important, but it’s only important if it leads to self-discipline. Just being obedient isn’t … there’s a great story I want to tell about that. A guy came in my office and he said, I said, “Why are you here?” And he said, “My daughter, you wouldn’t believe what she’s become. The last 90 days she’s changed completely. And she’ll do anything her friends say. She’s smoking. She’s stealing. She’s shoplifting.” And I said, “Well, what was she like 90 days ago?” And he said, “Well, she was an A-student and she was at … in the church youth group and she would do anything we told her to do.” And the wording caught my ear and I said, “Well, she hasn’t changed that much. She just changed who she was listening to.”

Jim: Oh, that’s interesting.

Michael: So, she wasn’t ever thinking for herself. And so, when she stopped being obedient and listening to mom and dad and started to listen to her friends, it looked like a radical change, but she hadn’t developed an identity of her own yet.

Jim: Hm … well, talk about that frustration that is there in parenting today. John’s setup was great and any of us with children typically go through bouts of frustration because we don’t feel like our children are getting it, especially in the Christian community. I think we have a high standard. Not to say that those that aren’t in the faith community don’t, but we tend to want to see perfection in our kids, you know, that they never lie, that they never do something that’s outside of the character of God. That’s—

Michael: Well, there’s—

Jim: –a pretty steep order.

Michael: –there’s some fundamental misperceptions that make things stressful. For one thing is, most of the parents I work with are relentlessly lovers of their kids.

Jim: Yes.

Michael: And what that leads to is they misperceive that their job is to relentlessly parent their kids.

Jim: Huh.

John: Oh, that’s good.

Michael: And when … what our job really is, is to relentless love our kids enough to parent them as little as possible and that’s not intuitive.

Jim: I thought you were gonna say, that’s scary. (Laughter)

Michael: It is scary, too.

Jim: Tim, that is kinda scary because, you know, again, I think from a human standpoint, we tend to want to control the environment as parents. We want to ensure that they’re safe, that they’re not stepping over the line, whatever that line might be. Why should we relax? Convince me.

Timothy: Well (Chuckling), well, Jim, I think that’s a great question. I think so many parents, whether they’re in the Christian community or not, really feel like they have to be a perfect parent. And they look at their children and their children’s behaviors and their children’s accomplishments as proof that they’re good parents or great parents or perfect parents.

And one of the points of our book is, we gotta back off on that and you need to understand as a parent, you’re gonna make a mess of things sometimes. I know certainly I have as a father. I have made good decisions and bad decisions and thankfully, my heavenly Father stepped in the places where I’ve been so deficient. But parents need to take that whole mind-set of, I’ve gotta do this perfectly and just throw that away, because that’s not how parenting works and it’s not how it’s intended to work.

Jim: Well, what are some of those outcomes in the old model, if we want to call it that, where we’re really setting down expectations and we’re laying out the boundaries? Boundaries aren’t bad in themselves, are they?

Michael: Well, what parents don’t realize is that kids often don’t do what they’re told, but they almost always do what they’re taught. And what they’re told and what they’re taught are two different things.

Jim: Give us an example of that, a practical [example].

Michael: Okay, a couple months ago there was a 3-year-old standing by his mom in front of a grocery store and I watched this happen. And the mom had groceries in her hand and she said, “Don’t cross the street. Don’t cross the street. Jimmy, don’t cross the street.” And the little boy looked both ways and ran across the street and mom said, “Well, if you’re gonna go across the street, look both ways.” So, what she was saying was, “Don’t cross the street.” What she taught him was, it’s okay to cross the street, because I don’t really mean what I say.

Jim: Hm.

Michael: And it’s true for us as adults, too. I always love comparing childhood to adulthood. So, you guys fly a lot. TSA at the airport has taught you that they mean what they say. United has taught you they don’t mean what they say—

Jim: How’s that? (Laughter)

Michael: –because they have a little basket by the check in and they say your luggage has to fit in here and you can’t take a steamer trunk (Laughter) and put it in the overhead.

Jim: But that guy in front of you certainly brought it on.

Michael: Yeah and so, when United says, “Don’t forget; your luggage can’t be bigger than this, everybody that flies United or Delta knows they don’t really mean that. So, we don’t take them serious[ly]. we don’t take them serious[ly]. But TSA is … when they say, “Take off your belt,” we take off our belt. And that’s the same thing with parenting, is [that] our inconsistencies come back to haunt us far more than we think.

Jim: Well, let me tease that out a bit, because it’s interesting. TSA has authority. They have power to arrest you, to ticket you, to influence your behavior.

Michael: So, does United.

Jim: United could just kick you off the flight, right?

Michael: Sure, they have the … but … but if … if they held tight, if they said, your bag fits in this basket or you don’t get on—

Jim: Right.

Michael: –that whole problem would be gone in no time.

John: Now see, that sounds like if you’re drawing that analogy for parenting, it sounds like, so what I need to be is TSA as a parent.

Michael: Okay, let me flash that out a little bit. It … what it means is, we need to be careful what we say as parents because we need to back up what we say. And when we’re flippant about what we say, what that leads to is us not following through.

Jim: And that’s so true and that’s the consistency issue being able to lay the boundary out. You don’t have to rant and rave and become emotional. In fact, one of the chapters in your book was “Just Shut Up.” I found that one kind of interesting, because I fight that. You know, you want to overexplain. You want to over verbalize as a parent and you’re saying, yeah, sometimes, maybe a lot of the time, you want to just not say anything.

Timothy: Yeah, I think many parents fall into this. It’s really … everybody can relate to that at some point in time. There aren’t a lot of parents who naturally know how to limit their verbiage to their kids. And the problem with parents lecturing all the time is, it just inflicts shame on your kids.

Jim: Hm.

Timothy: And it creates resentment in their kids. So their kids are growing up in an environment where they’re always getting reminded or lectured for what they’re not doing right and they end up feeling pretty down about themselves and it really affects the relationship. Mike and I talk about the relationship is so important for parents, rather than the behavior, complying to a particular behavior.

Jim: Well, but some parents don’t see it, in my opinion, that clearly. I think they tend to see the behavioral component as … and I don’t think they intend it to be this way, but they see it as more important than the relationship. So, we get it backward.

Timothy: We get it backwards, absolutely.

Jim: How do we … if we can see that in ourselves, how do we begin to back up and disengage with that destructive behavior?

Michael: Before you go onto that I want … just wanted to say I like to think of it as when you talk too much, you spend relationship to buy behavior. And so, you have 40 units of relationship with your son and you talked to him for 20 minutes about cleaning the garage. And by the time you’re done, you have a clean garage, but you have 15 units of relationship left. And that doesn’t happen when you’re quiet.

Jim: Huh.

Michael: And …

Jim: How do you get the garage clean?

Michael: Well, you can … there’s other leverages you have like.

Jim: Like give me an example.

John: This is an important one (Laughter), by the way. Long-time listeners know that the garage (Laughter) is kind of a sacred space for Jim.

Jim: Did you push my hot button or what? (Laughter) There it is. (Laughter) So, what … I mean, how would you go about that in an effective way—

Michael: Okay.

Jim: –where you’re not losing your relational credits?

Michael: If you want to go to Jeremy’s for a sleepover Saturday, the garage has to be clean before you go and I’m not gonna talk about it anymore. I’m not gonna remind you.

Timothy: And that’s it.

Michael: And that’s it.

Jim: And then you’re done and you don’t do the reminding.

Michael: Yeah.

Jim: Let’s talk a minute about the shame because I think that’s again, a bit issue—

Michael: It’s huge.

Jim: –in our parenting styles today, that we tend to in that desire to have better behavior, we tend to utter words that we probably regret as parents, like “If you don’t do this, you’re lazy. You’re …” whatever.

Timothy: Yeah, what we say in the book about shame is, shame is really an over-correlation of what your child does with who they are. And parents really need to tease that out and make sure that they’re choosing words when they talk to their child that don’t judge them in a way that’s shameful. So, maybe your child doesn’t clean their room up very well. A shaming parent would say, “You’re a slob.”

Jim: Right.

Timothy: A non-shaming parent would say, “You need to clean your room.” But the child hears very different things than that.

Michael: And any … any 10 or 12 times of that isn’t gonna matter, but over the course of a lifetime, it really does matter.

My daughter used to say to me, “You don’t trust me.” And I would say to her, “I’m not talking about whether I trust you or don’t trust you. I’m saying I don’t think Friday happened the way you told me.”

Jim: Huh.

Michael: And so, I don’t get … trusting her is a comment about her and we can train ourselves as parents to talk about the incident, the five assignments, the messy room, the version of what happened Friday night.

Jim: And when you’re doing that, again the shaming aspect of it … let me ask the question this way. Why do we as parents, feel that’s a tool that works? Why do we go there?

Timothy: Probably because we were shamed as children growing up in our families of origin. I would bet that that’s the … that’s what they know. That’s what they heard growing up and they think that they have to do the same thing, because they think it’s gonna work.

Michael: One thing is the misperception that my child would be better if he could grasp how bad he … what he just did was. There’s a story in the book about a policeman that pulls me over because I was going 50 in a 40. And when I see his lights in the rearview mirror, I think, “Man, I was speeding. That was terrible. I shoulda slowed down. I wish I could reverse this. I hope I just get a warning.”

And then as he comes up, I think I’m probably not gonna get a warning and then I hope he just gets [sic] a ticket and the policeman comes up in this fictional story and rolls down … I roll down the window and he says, “I want to talk to you about your behavior. I noticed you were speeding. You know, there’s kids in this neighborhood. I’ve noticed you don’t pay attention when you’re going anywhere. I noticed your dog out in the street. I noticed that your garage is getting to be a mess.”

And as he talks, I start blaming him because of my shame. And I’m thinking that he’s putting me down, which triggers defensiveness. And that’s what usually happens with parents that talk too much, is it starts expanding the issue and the kid then clicks into a defense mechanism and when they start defending our … themselves, we feel as parents, that they don’t feel bad enough about what they’re doing.

John: So, we keep talking.

Michael: Yeah. (Laughing)

John: Well, it’s a cycle.

Jim: Yeah and let’s expand on that because I think we’re touching right on an area that I know it happens in our household and probably yours, John and many, many others. You can’t motivate seemingly that child to get that homework assignment done and you’ve been battling this for maybe not just a few weeks or a few months, maybe now it’s year No. 2. It’s seventh grade; it’s eighth grade; it’s ninth grade. What can we do differently that will begin to prompt that child to begin to show the right behavior, to do the homework when it’s assigned?

Michael: Well, we have to be creative there. And part of being a good parent is having fun parenting and because it’s only when we’re having fun, I think, that we can be creative.

Jim: So, have fun.

Michael: Have fun parenting.

Jim: Even in the negative.

John: My child is about to fail school and you’re telling me I should have fun?

Michael: Yes, I’m telling you there’s a better way than talking to them about it. If talking was gonna work, it would’ve worked when they were in third grade. Now they’re in fifth grade. So, we’ve already extinguished that as a possibility.

Timothy: But I … I would also interject that this is a place where a lot of parents just don’t think right about it. They’ve been doing it the same way for five years. It hasn’t worked, but they keep doing that. And both Mike and I see in our offices this dynamic, where it’s like we want to ask and I have asked many parents, so this way of doing it doesn’t work, why would you continue doing it?

John: Uh-hm.

Michael: I was trying to … I was trying to make…

Timothy: The light bulb goes, oh, yeah!

Jim: And that’s fair, but then what is it I should do?

Timothy: Well, I think Mike alluded to [it]; you have to think creatively and differently. You can’t do the same thing and this again, is not a book about how to do a particular thing; it’s how to think differently about our parenting— so that you can take your creativeness into it.

Here’s an example. Let’s say your daughter’s responsible for vacuuming the basement once a week. Well, you’ll find out after a while that your 14-year-old daughter just turns on the vacuum cleaner. (Laughter) You and your wife–

Jim: Never.

Timothy: –you and your wife—

Jim: Never!

Timothy: –you and your wife are upstairs and you find out also that you go down and sneak into her bedroom and see that she’s putting her makeup on with the vacuum running in the family room. (Laughter) And you wonder with your Golden Retriever dog and I’m, you know, not talking personally about that–

Jim: Not at all, but you’ve got good detail on this.

Timothy: –yes, that [with] your Golden Retriever, there’s a lot of hair in the house. And it’s interesting, every time she vacuums, there’s still hair on the stairs and the basement. And you say to yourself—

John: You need a new vacuum cleaner.

Jim: Well, and—

Timothy: It must need a new—

Jim: –the dog hair’s—

Timothy: –vacuum cleaner.

Jim: –hard to get out, especially when you’re puttin’ your makeup on.

Timothy: Well, thinking creatively is like, okay, let’s do something differently here rather than just remind her that she is to vacuum this weekend? And let’s say your wife and you talk about this and you say, “Let’s go to Party America and let’s get a whole bag of glitter stars and spread them in every corner of the basement and on the stairs. And then that Saturday morning, remind your daughter, “By the way, it’s time to vacuum this weekend. Please do that.” “Oh, yeah, we’ll do that. I’ll … I’ll do that, Dad.” And then you watch your wife prance around the basement before your daughter wakes up, giddily laughing as she spreads the glitter all over the place.

Jim: Yeah?

Timothy: That solves a problem

Jim: Does it really?

Timothy: It really does.

Jim: Now at my house what they would come to is, “Hey, you put the glitter there; you … you should be the one to vacuum it, mom.”

John: Yeah, it’s not fair or there’s a fight or there’s a conflict because you … I mean, you’re setting up a conflict.

Timothy: The … and actually you are and that’s okay. It’s okay to say, “Well, there’s glitter on the floor and it needs to be vacuumed. Your job is to vacuum. It’s … it’s … it doesn’t matter if there’s glitter on the floor or dog hair or just a little dust.

John: Well, you’re just being mean, mom and dad.

Michael: Then I would say, “What’s it to you? You have to vacuum anyways. The glitter isn’t gonna create a problem for you.”

Jim: And then say less.

Timothy: And then say less and then zip it.

Jim: Yeah.

John: And if she pushes back?

Timothy: Don’t engage in it. I find too many …

Jim: Is there already … is there—

John: That’s the challenge.

Jim: –already consequences in that situation? I mean, since this is a hypothetical (Laughter); are there already consequences set up?

Timothy: Right, some families will set up—

Jim: That if you don’t do your chores—

Timothy: –you don’t get allowance–

Jim: –which includes …

Timothy: –or you don’t get to go on the sleepover. You don’t get to meet your friends at the mall.

Jim: That’s kinda the key.

Timothy: Right.

Jim: Yeah.

Timothy: And have that, you know, written out, contracted. I’m a big fan of contracting; we did that with our kids.

Jim: (Chuckling) So, we’ve got the contract, too.

Timothy: Signed, dates, this is what you said you would do.

Jim: The problem is I feel like I’m raising now two lawyers. (Laughter) I mean, my boys are so good at cutting up the contract. “It says, a thing, dad; it doesn’t say, the thing.” I mean, they’re really gettin’ down into the wordsmithing of a contract.

Timothy: You have to really wordsmith it correctly the first time. (Laughter) You can’t leave any vagueness in there.

Michael: Or … or you can say, “I would like to use a contract, but I know you’ll go over it with a fine tooth comb, so I can’t—

Jim: Yeah.

Michael: –use contracts with you.

Jim: I actually do applaud ‘em for it. I say—

Michael: Yeah.

Jim: –it’s great that you know the contract so well.

John: Our guests today on Focus on the Family are Michael Anderson and Tim Johanson. And they’ve written a really fascinating parenting book called Gist: The Essence of Raising Life-Ready Kids. And you can learn more and make a donation at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: We’ve talked about that shaming aspect and I just want to remind those that might be joining for the first time, that is really devastating in terms of the residual effect of shaming. Before we leave that topic, talk about the 20-something that’s been in that household of shame. What’s the outcome of it? So that if we have the younger child in the home, it helps us to bite our lip and not say those destructive things as a parent, that help … help me with a 13- and 15-year-old, looking down the road, why at 25 and 28 my kids, if I’ve shamed them, what will that relationship look like?

Timothy: I see it in kids that are much younger than that, but it certainly becomes even more of a problem for those young adults. When I’m in the clinic and I have a patient come in who is chronically shamed and it doesn’t take long to figure this out, you can just see their whole body change in the office, while the mother or the father keeps barraging them with shameful things. And I think that is a child that grows up with significant resentment.

Jim: Well, and you know, I admit that I think all of us as parents have those moments. I can remember with one of my boys (Laughing), you know, they weren’t doing well with some of their classes and I said, “You know, if you don’t get goin’, your career’s gonna be a ditch digger.” And I had said this maybe three or four times over the course of the year and he finally looked at me and said, “Dad, hey, as long as I love the Lord, what’s wrong with diggin’ ditches?” (Laughter) I mean, it was like, wow, okay. Touché. (Laughter) I had to stop saying that, you know?

Timothy: There’s the … there’s the young attorney. (Laughter)

Jim: But that’s a great point, isn’t it? We … we’re … you know, my goal, wrongfully, was how to motivate him to do better in school by pointing out his career choices are gonna be more limited if he’s not getting a grade point average that is reflective of his ability. But just talk about that for a second. How when you see the potential there—this kid’s bright–I know he could do much better.

Michael: I think his illustration captures some of the heart of the conscientious parent. I have asked kids … parents in my office working with families of adolescents for 15 years, if we drew up a contract here that if your child had a 3.4 grade point, you would agree to never mention school to them, would you sign the contract?

Jim: Hm.

Michael: So what I’m trying to do there is get … tell the kid that if you want to be free from your parents’ nagging, just maintain this grade point average. And they are forbidden by this contract to ever mention homework if you maintain this grade-point average.

Jim: Oh, that’s good.

Michael: And it works beautiful[ly]. My …

Jim: The parents are forbidden.

Michael: Yeah.

Jim: I like that.

Michael: My daugh …

Jim: I … I wouldn’t mind implementing,

Michael: If my daughter were here today, she would say in her entire childhood, she never remembers me or my wife every mentioning homework in her whole childhood.

Jim: Well, she was a straight-A student, wasn’t she?

Michael: No, she wasn’t. (Laughter) But she … but she barely made it over that threshold.

Jim: Yeah.

Michael: But here’s the interesting thing. In all these years I’ve asked parents to do that, 90 percent of them won’t sign that contract because—

Jim: The parents won’t.

Michael: –they won’t, because—

Jim: They lose control.

Michael: –because they want the right to badger their kid about homework, whether the kid’s doing well or not.

Jim: Wow, that is heavy duty and unfortunately, we’re right at the end of the day, so we’ve gotta come back next time and explore this a bit more, look at some other examples that help us as parents think differently about how we’re helping and equipping our children to launch well and in a healthy way as adults. Can we stick with it?

Michael: Great.

Timothy: Absolutely.

Closing:

John: Well, maybe you’ve been challenged by some of the parenting advice that our guests, Michael Anderson and Dr. Timothy Johanson, have shared. And it’s making you think a little bit differently about your family. I hope so and we hope you’ll make plans now to join us for part two of this important conversation.

Jim: And John, we’re talking to lots of families right now who are in the thick of these challenges — dealing with homework every night, and maybe there’s some conflict and bad attitudes, and even stress like Tim and Michael talked about.

We know exactly what you’re going through. Partly because we have gone through it too. You love your kids dearly, but sometimes they do kind of drive you up the wall cause they are not doing the wise things that you are asking them to do!

What we’re trying to do here at Focus on the Family is provide you with practical strategies and these tools you need to help your kids make wise choices today, today and prepare for bigger goal of adulthood in the future.

John: One resource we have is a free online survey about how you can be a more effective parent. We’ve identified 7 Traits for Healthy Families, and by taking this survey, you can get a good overview of what’s working well, and areas where you as a mom or dad might want to improve a little bit.

And of course we have the book by Michael and Tim — GIST: The Essence of Raising Life Ready Kids. Which is an amazing resource, it’s full of helpful advice and encouragement.

Ask us about the parenting survey, the book, GIST, and how you can get an audio copy of our conversation today as well — we’ll include the next part of the conversation in that — just call 800 – the letter “A” and the word – FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or visit focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: And John, I want to encourage our listeners to partner with us in equipping moms and dads to build stronger, healthier families, that’s why we are here, I’m that’s why you’re listening.

Focus on the Family has lots of resources for parents. I often say that to our supporters that I get a chance to meet that Focus is a treasure trove of help. And we want people to tap us for that help. That is what we exist to do. And if you have been a faithful supporter in the past let me say, “thank you” for your generosity. But if haven’t hear from you in a while, or you’ve never given to the ministry here at Focus, let me invite you to do so today. Together we help one another, but we also help others. And that’s a wonderful thing to do.

Anything you can give will make a huge difference — cause it’s a lot of people doing little. And whether it’s a monthly pledge or a one-time gift. When you send a gift of any amount today, we’ll put a copy of GIST into your hands as our way of saying “thank you” for being there for others.

John: Get in touch today. Make a donation and get a copy of that book GIST when you donate at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 800 the letter -A- and the word FAMILY.

And coming up next time, you’ll hear more from our guests about how consequences may be the very best way to teach your children . . .

Teaser:

Michael Anderson: It’s not always a bad thing for a young kid to be fired from a job, especially if they need to learn more responsibility. It might be the only thing that’ll get ‘em to take it seriously.

End of Teaser

Today's Guests

Book Cover: GIST: The Essence of Raising Life-Ready Kids

GIST: The Essence of Raising Life-Ready Kids

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Recent Episodes

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Listening to the Heart of Your Kids

Becky Harling offers practical ways you can intentionally listen to your child. From learning to give her a voice to the importance of non-verbal communication to teaching him how to make wise decisions, you’ll see how listening is one of the most important components of parenting.

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Taking Courageous Steps to Save Your Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Ann White’s marriage was in desperate trouble, but she was terrified to let anyone know. She discusses how God helped her to break through dysfunctional patterns and finally ask for help. Hear this courageous story about a marriage restored. (Part 2 of 2)

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Taking Courageous Steps to Save Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Ann White’s marriage was in desperate trouble, but she was terrified to let anyone know. She discusses how God helped her to break through dysfunctional patterns and finally ask for help. Hear this courageous story about a marriage restored. (Part 1 of 2)

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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.

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!

Play Video

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!

Play Video

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!

Play Video

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.

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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