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What Your Kids Need Most to Grow Up Well (Part 1 of 2)

What Your Kids Need Most to Grow Up Well (Part 1 of 2)

Danny Huerta, Vice President of Focus on the Family's Parenting and Youth department, offers insights from his counseling experience, research, and Biblical knowledge to outline the parenting strategies that have proven to be the most effective, including steadfast love and boundaries, respect, grace, adaptability, and more. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: August 18, 2020

Teaser:

Woman #1: My kids usually want what they’re not allowed to have, and I just feel like I’m always saying, “No.”

Man #1: Kids want video games.

Woman #2: To be able to have access to that parent. To give them attention.

Woman #3: Kids definitely just want somebody to take care of them, show them what’s real, what’s not real.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: Well, parenting often presents us with some dilemmas. You want what’s best for your children, but it’s not always clear what is best for them. Do they need more rules or more freedom? And where’s the balance in all of that? Today on Focus on the Family, we’re going to be exploring how you can parent your kids well and be more effective as a mom or a dad. Your host is Focus president Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, many of us as parents, we get into this if-then statement, right?

John: Mm.

Jim: We approach parenting with cause and effect. And let me give you an example. You give your child a rule and you expect them (laughs) to follow it. How many of us have done that?

Mr. Danny Huerta: Ha ha, yeah.

Jim: And sometimes they don’t follow them. And then what do we do? And is it too much? You know, that whole question…

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: …Of how do we get these kids behaving in a way that we want them to or need them to and do it in a godly fashion? And that’s – that’s, you know – that’s the big question for parents. And it’s pretty straightforward and logical. And it makes perfect sense until reality hits and we realize our kids – kind of like Adam and Eve. You know, God was a parent as well. He created Adam and Eve and they didn’t do what He wanted them to do. And it’s the same for us. Kids are messy. They’re complicated. It’s not an if-then equation. It’s predictive. It’s not guaranteed. And we want to equip you with those predictive tools that will give you the best chance in parenting a child who will love the Lord and serve the Lord. And that really is the goal.

John: Mm-hmm. It is. And we’re going to be talking about that today. We’ve invited our colleague Danny Huerta here. He heads up our Parenting and Youth Department at Focus on the Family and is a licensed clinical social worker. He’s maintained a private practice here in the Colorado Springs area since 2003. He is a great new book called 7 Traits of Effective Parenting. And we’re going to be talking more about that today. Get your copy at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Danny, you’ve been with us before. Welcome back to Focus on the Family.

Danny: Thank you so much. Thank you, John.

Jim: (Laughter) You’re one of us.

Danny: J and J. Right here!

Jim: Right. But you’re right here. You’re heading up every day the parenting area – vice president of parenting here at Focus on the Family. So, it’s great to have you in studio.

Jim: Thanks, Jim.

Jim: Danny let’s start by identifying those seven traits of effective parenting and then we’ll get through as many as we can get through today and next time. So, what are the seven traits?

Danny: Yeah, seven traits. First one’s a. . .

Jim: Do I say desperate as a parent by the way?

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: What are these seven traits, Danny? Tell about now.

Danny: It’s awesome. You know, it really you can divide it into two categories. One is high sensitivity, warmth, responsiveness. And the other side is demandingness, some boundaries, limits, so that if you divide two categories, those seven traits into two categories, it’s those. And it’s adaptability, respect, intentionality, love. And then you have gratitude and grace, forgiveness – and the big one that a lot of parents have difficulty with – boundaries.

Jim: Okay. Now, that sounds right. I have to be a student of every one of those and perform at a top level in delivering that to my kids?

Danny: Yeah, the goal is perfection, Jim.

Jim: Now I’m sounding exhausted.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Oh, my goodness! I mean, seriously, though, I think in the Christian community particularly, we do aim for perfection.

Danny: We do.

Jim: Anything less than that is a disappointment – we believe – to God and to ourselves. I mean, how do we get beyond that idea that perfection is the goal?

Danny: These will come naturally if you’re wanting relationship and something really good for your kids. It’s not about perfection. It’s about the transformation of you as a parent. You’re invited into something as a parent. And that invitation is not only for your child, it’s for you as you’re being transformed. It’s an invitation into prayer with a Heavenly Father and your transformation; an invitation for moments that – uh, where you fail and you learn and you pick yourself back up and your goal, though, is relationship and bridging with your child because you’ve been invited to help in the shaping of that child and guiding so that they can be contributors in God’s kingdom down the road. This isn’t about perfection and you’re trying to compare to other parents, and you have some kind of great A, B or C. It’s transformation and it’s an invitation.

Jim: Danny, I can appreciate that, but I need to camp here for a minute because I do think even the mail, the e-mail, the response that we get here at Focus – I would even say even in our own household at the Daly home…

Danny: Mm-hmm.

Jim: …That that bar feels very high and it’s not a bad thing to have a high bar.

Danny: No.

Jim: But we do need to realize that sometimes things will not go perfectly…

Danny: Right.

Jim: …And how do we respond in that context? And I – I think we are sometimes inadequate as Christian parents to respond with grace when there’s failure. And how would you counsel – you’re a counselor…

Danny: Right.

Jim: …When that – when that mom or dad is sitting in front of you and their child, their teenager, has done something, you know, really outside the boundaries of what the rules of the house are? How do you coach them in terms of loving your child through this and getting to the other side? Because they – oftentimes when this happens, you don’t feel like there is another side. This is it. I mean, whatever it might be, let’s go to the big ones, premarital sex or drug abuse or, you know, something like that that they’ve done that really violate the standards.

Danny: The key word you use is love. When our kids fail and are at their worst is when they need most of our love, the highest level of love from us. So, really, when we look at Christ’s love, the depth of that, He died for our sins and wasn’t expecting perfection from us. He was expecting relationship. That’s the same for us with our kids. This isn’t a formula to help you be the most amazing parent in front of everyone’s eyes. This is a formula to form relationship with your kids, even in their dark spaces, their dark moments, adapting to the things that weren’t supposed to happen. Developing respect so there’s connection. Developing intentionality so you have those goal directed moments where you know where you’re kind of headed and then steadfast love. That’s mercy from a Heavenly Father. That’s what it means in Scripture. In moments with David, it’s a steadfast love means mercy.

Jim: Hmm.

Danny: And that’s what we can give our kids. And then from there, we move into boundaries. Now we have the platform to have boundaries with our kids and limits. It’s not about controlling them. It’s about an influence in their lives. And then from – from there, you move in to grace and forgiveness to repair those moments that are going to be super imperfect. And you can’t separate grace from forgiveness. You have to have those together. And in – in the public sphere, when I was looking at the – at research, forgiveness is separated. They don’t have the word grace, but we have to have that. They, they…

Jim: Who’s they?

Danny: Whose they? The secular researchers. They say, “Grace is a Christian word,” but it’s so important. It’s a key word for relationship with someone else. And then the other – the last one is gratitude. And at the end, you’re thankful for ever that turned out. You gave your best shot.

Jim: Hmm.

Danny: But it means that you have a playbook to work with. They – research has confirmed that if – if parents have a parenting plan, a goal, parenting goals, they will be successful at raising kids that are prosocially engaged with other people. But that’s not where we stop it as Christians, because you can be prosocial and it’s all for you. What we’re asking is we’re trying to create children that can serve other people.

Jim: Hmm.
Danny: And that means they have – they have mercy and grace on others as well because they’ve received it in their home.

Jim: And that’s perfect. And it leads to the next question, which is a major theme throughout your book, this idea of contributor rather than consumer. So, explain that.

Danny: Yeah. Consumer is one that, uh, the consumer child would be one that’s very charming. They know they’re going to give you something, but they’re expecting something in return. “I’m going to be nice to you because I know you can give me something.” A contributor is “I love you and I can see you through God’s eyes and I care for you for your own benefit.” And that’s a contributor in God’s kingdom. God has called us to one another. Encourage one another, love one another, forgive one another. A lot of one anothers throughout the Scriptures. And that’s serving one another is key. If you look at Paul, if you look at Jesus, they would call themselves servants of others. And that’s a contributor in God’s kingdom.

Jim: Yeah. You point to an example in your own life – I think your grandparents up in Minnesota. What role – and, boy, grandparents lean in right now because this is going to be good. What role did they play in helping form and shape you?

Danny: It was huge, Jim. I – I got to spend three months as we were transitioning to the United States. My mom’s from Michigan, so grandfather from Germany, farmer. And my parents said, “Hey, while we pack everything up, you’re going to stay with your grandparents over the summer.” I didn’t know English. My grandfather spoke only English and I only spoke Spanish. And when I arrived, I realized I did not understand what was going on. And my grandfather said – he just, in a gentle way – very big man, farmer guy – he said, “Come with me to the garden.” And as I observed him – this is a time when I was just quiet and taking it in.

Jim: How old are you?

Danny: I’m 8-years-old.

Jim: Okay.

Danny: And just watching him do his life. Our life – the way we live our lives as grandparents, as parent, is one big lesson for our kids.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Danny: And so, my grandfather and my grandma, they would kneel next to the bed and pray for each person. They just kept going. And I didn’t know how their knees withstood that.

Jim: (Laughter).

Danny: They’re next to their bed and I – I would watch and that impacted me tremendously. And then my grandfather, the gentleness with God’s creation, his bees. He would hold them and just love the bees…

Jim: He was a beekeeper.

Danny: He was a beekeeper.

Jim: Wow.

Danny: And then he had a garden and he would tend to the garden. He loved God with all his heart. And every single person, every stranger – this is a huge example to me when we’re at the store – I noticed he was kind. He was loving. And I remember when he was stopped by a police officer and I didn’t – I just knew he was nervous about it. He just was so kind of that police officer. He says, “Hey, I’m sorry I did that. “And just loved the police officer as he was pulled over…

Jim: (Laughter).

Danny: …For going too fast through a red light.

(LAUGHTER)

Danny: He just said, “I’m sorry.”

Jim: That’s pretty good.

Danny: And he would give tracts to people. It just – it was a great example to me of God’s love in managing the different demands that he had on his plate, but with gentleness really came into the world and with God’s creation.

Jim: Well, what’s in the heart is what comes out.

Danny: Yeah.

Jim: And that’s the point. You got to put into your heart those things that people are going to see. And, uh, that’s – that’s an easy thing to recognize. Okay. Let’s get to it. Adaptability. One of the first of the seven. What does that look like in day to day parenting? Adaptability.

Danny: Yeah. You can almost picture it as having flexibility in your mind. Like you can stretch out. Uh, it’s the that wasn’t supposed to happen moments. And those are every day. I still remember when my daughter spilled milk. We were – we were in a hurry. And, uh, she was a very young child. And, uh, she spilled the milk and she said, “That wasn’t supposed to happen.” She could see our emotion. And what’s fascinating to me is kids pick up on our emotions from a very early age.

Jim: She verbalized it.

Danny: She said, “That wasn’t supposed to happen.”

Jim: (Laughter).

Danny: And so…

John: That’s pretty …

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Did you say, “Hey, that’s right!”

John: (Laughter).

Danny: And, uh – and she just looked at me…

Jim: (Laughter).

Danny: …Waiting for my reaction. And I had to adapt to that moment and manage my own stress level.

Jim: Yeah.

Danny: Almost take a mental time out. And really look at what is my daughter needing in this moment? And we don’t always respond that way. I’ve had moments where I have a reaction and then I have to come back and rebridge. It’s being able to see the bigger picture. Adjusting as things are coming. For some personalities, that’s harder than others. You want it black and white. You want it a certain way. You’re expecting it to go a certain way and if it doesn’t, bad parenting comes out with stress. They’ve seen that with great intentions, bad parenting still comes out.

Jim: Well, and it may be that same daughter who later you share a story in the book where you met her at the door. She came to the door. Something happened there that you didn’t have the right response.

Danny: Yes.

Jim: What – what was that?

Danny: So, I came home from work. It has been a tough day…

Jim: Same daughter?

Danny: The same daughter, Lexi.

Jim: She’s older at this point.

Danny: Yes, she’s – she’s older. And just I – I love Lexi. She sometimes just wants to come in and share everything, you know.

Jim: (Laughter).

Danny: I’m sure many people have daughters like that. I wasn’t ready for that. I just wanted to come home, just connect with everyone. And she just started to ask questions and start talking and in my space and grabbing me, and – and I said, “Lexi, stop!” And I just – it was a very strong reaction. And you could just see her kind of fold in, get quiet and walk away. And I said, “What did I just do? Aw, man.” And I had to come back when I was kind of regrouped and had my emotions in a good spot and I said, “Lexi, I – I am sorry. I didn’t handle me well. I needed to be ready for you. And that’s going to happen. And I’m sorry. And this is when – when Jesus died on the cross, He began that ministry. He began the ministry of reconciliation. And I’m really trying to re bridge with you.”

Jim: Hey, this is the great news. Danny’s a counselor and he did that.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: So, you know, we all fail in parenting.

Danny: Oh, yeah.

Jim: Even people who know better.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Do you feel the shame and guilt right now?

Danny: (Laughter) Yeah. Thanks, Jim.

Jim: (Laughter)

Danny: Thanks for – thanks for the shame right then!

Jim: But you did the right thing…

Danny: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: …Coming back and – and telling her. That – that is such a great teaching moment to come back. I can remember that with my kids. You know, if I discipline them. I remember one time, Trent, he wouldn’t talk to me, wouldn’t speak to me after he – you know, there was a little thing there.

Danny: Yeah.

Jim: And he just, uh – I said, “Can you write me a note?” And he shook his head, yes. And I said, “What’s the matter?” And he says, “When you spank me, it feels like you don’t love me.”

Danny: Hmm.

Jim: Wow.

Danny: Wow.

Jim: And that was it. I mean, I think he only got like five or 10 spankings and they were light weight because I didn’t like it anyway. But there’s the idea. I mean, how do you communicate in that environment? How do you get across that you love them, but there’s boundaries that you have to maintain?

Danny: And, Jim, there’s – there’s just so much in that interaction when there’s discipline in the nonverbals. If a person does it with anger in the moment…

Jim: Yeah.

Danny: Because this is a huge discussion and counseling sessions. Should I spank or should I not? And we’re not gonna open that one. But when you’re disciplining, how connected are you with your child? Is it all your anger or are you saying “Hey, I love you”?

Jim: Yeah.

Danny: “There – there’s something here that went wrong and we need to fix it because I love you so much.” There’s a huge difference in your nonverbal. Even afterwards, if you didn’t do it right in the moment. But just coming in and looking in their eyes and saying, “I would die for you and I love you.” And they get that. Then they really understand why discipline is there. They…

Jim: Oh, it’s so true.

Danny: …Understand the why.

Jim: And now he’s 19 and we actually laugh about it.

Danny: Ah.

Jim: Because he says, “Man, that was like you spank me with a feather.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: And that’s pretty true. I didn’t like doing it. I didn’t do it often.

John: Well, yeah. Well, this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and our guest is Danny Huerta. We’re talking about the concepts, the research, the practical applications in his book, 7 Traits of Effective Parenting. Get your copy at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: All right, that was adaptability. So, Danny, let’s move to respect. It’s another one of the traits for parents in your book. As a dad, you know, I’ve required my sons to – I wouldn’t even say required, I think it’s earned – to give respect.

Danny: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And, you know, I’ve never been that kind of dad to sit there and say, “You better respect me.” Although, you know, I’ll certainly say, “Hey, I need a little more respect here.” (Laughs) You know, something like that.

Danny: Mm-hmm.

Jim: That’s been more my style. But why is that important? And how do you encourage (laughter) your kids to respect you?

Danny: I really picture it as fruit of the spirit – gentleness. And, uh, in Ephesians 4 it says – uh, Paul talks about being a prisoner of the Lord, but then he says to “walk into the calling we’ve been given with all humility, gentleness and with patience, bearing with one another in love.” Those are big words – humility, gentleness and patience. And this is about me entering that so we can bear with one another in love. And that’s – that’s the hump. (Laughs) Right? We’re – we’re doing that. And this is about how – where your thoughts are, because that – that will come out. Where do you – how do you respect other people with verbally, with your eyes as well? This is about you managing you well and with gentleness bringing that strength of the role that you have as parent and guiding your child and really listening carefully. Respect, a lot of times, is about listening to somebody else, being present with them with what the true need is. Because kids’ behaviors are telling us something. Their emotions are telling us something. And many times we’re reacting to that rather than really stopping and being present with what’s needed the most.

Jim: You know, and so often – and maybe this is a dying statement. I hope so. But so often parents will say, “Well, do what I say, not what I do.” Right? Or something to that effect. And you really want to say, “Hey, do as I do.”

Danny: Right.

Jim: They need to see it in action. And if you can’t – if you’re using statements like, “Well, it doesn’t matter what I do. I’m asking you or telling you to do this.” If – if a child, you know, begins to say, “Well, you don’t do that, Dad.” Right?

Danny: Right. And I’ll never forget a story, Jim. We were at a – at an amusement park. I think it was Disney World, actually, at the Animal Kingdom. We were waiting to get on the roller coaster. And I saw across the way when they were getting off the roller coaster, this family, a son, forgot his cap and his, uh – some of his other belongings in a cube and his dad turned around in front of everyone, slapped him upside the head…

Jim: Aw, that’s terrible.

Danny: …He’s about 15, 16. Slapped him upside the head and said, “Man, you’re stupid.”

Jim: That’s terrible.

Danny: And – and in front of everyone. We’re watching that. Super disrespectful. You can see the kid, this young man, folding in, super insecure, anxious because he fears his dad rather than respects his dad.

Jim: Yeah.

Danny: And his dad is not showing and modeling respect. What is that going to be like for this young man growing up?

Jim: Yeah.

John: So, I hear you saying that if my children are not showing me respect as a parent, maybe I’m not modeling respect in appropriate ways?

Danny: And it could be. There could be many other things going on. But your role as a parent is to show respect by seeing your children through God’s eyes. Through that mercy, that steadfast love. And we will gain respect if we’re giving it. There’s much more likelihood of that.

John: Yeah.

Danny: And certainly boundaries and limits, as we talk about that, when kids are disrespectful and they will be at times, is being able to respond, rather than to react to that.

Jim: Well, and that’s the next question. How do you stay calm in that parenting moment when everything inside you wants to explode?

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: I mean, it’s hard to do.

Danny: Oh, yes!

Jim: But it is so key. You’ve got to dial down. I mean, sometimes it’s so funny because you become the child…

Danny: Yes.

Jim: …In that emotional moment. And it’s like two kids going at it.

Danny: (Laughter) Yes.

Jim: You’ve got to remain being the adult, right?

Danny: Right. Respect is about self-awareness. It’s really a lot about that. And I’ll tell parents, “Take, uh – give yourself three, four, five time outs a day. Go mark it off if you need to…”

Jim: (Laughter).

Danny: “…If you’re one of those screamers that loses control.” But this is about reflection and learning. We get new sunrises, new sunsets every day. It’s never too late to really become more aware of how you’re impacting your kids. And you can start today.

John: Danny, roll back to that amusement park situation. If you could have coached that dad, who obviously didn’t stay calm to Jim’s point, what would you have said or asked?

Danny: I would have said, “What did this trigger in you?”

John: Mm.

Danny: “Why was that so important? Did it – did it embarrass you to see that your child needed to go back, and they called him back to go get his things? Was there a shameful moment? What was it like with your dad when you had moments like these?” And it’s not if you had them, it’s when you had those moments with your dad, because most likely there’s a playing out of other scripts that that dad had in his past.

John: Mm-hmm.

Danny: And so, it would be with compassion for the dad. And that’s how we – we come in with respect towards people with a compassionate lens towards them. And I have compassion for that, dad. I’m sure there’s a lot to that story.

John: Mm-hmm.

Danny: And it’s not to shame him, but to be aware of how that’s impacting him and his son.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Absolutely. It’s pretty predictable that his father…

Danny: Yeah.

Jim: …Would have treated him very similarly. You learn so much in your family of origin, right?

Danny: Right.

Jim: All right. For today, let’s cover intentionality is the last one today. We’ll come back next time and cover more. But intentionality is something that can – it can be so difficult for parents. Um, I mean, I’m more of a spontaneous temperament, so intentionality is boring.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: I avoided at all costs.

Danny: But you are intentional dad, Jim.

Jim: I think so.

Danny: Yeah. You are.

Jim: But – but speak to that for everybody that can understand how – how you need to be an intentional parent. What does it mean?

Danny: It’s goal-directed and it’s little moments to big moments. It’s having conversations, having walks, maybe writing notes to your kids. It’s really being aware that your children need your direction, your guiding your teaching. And Deuteronomy 6 says that we are to love our Lord with all our heart, soul and mind for the purpose of teaching our kids all day long and to having those conversations. It’s not meant to be boring. I know that my – my daughter and son love those small moments where I just stop and I look at them and I say, “I love you so much. Do you know that?” And I just stop them where they’re at and hug them. That’s a moment – an intentional moment of connection with my son or daughter. Or I – recently I said, “Hey, Alex, can we do…” He’s been making rings. Woodworking, making ring. And I – I said, “Hey, can we make a ring together? I really would love to do that. Can you teach me?” And intentionality is about letting your kids teach you…

John: Mm.

Danny: …Some of the things that they’re loving. My daughter loves to run. I can’t breathe when I run with her…

(LAUGHTER)

Danny: …And I lose her. I lose sight of her. And I’ve said, “Hey, Lexi, can we go run together? I know you love that. But at the end, can we just walk home, uh, so that we can have that time together?” And she loves that. When I have bids for connection with her. And I want – this is something that’s really helped me in my parenting. The idea of bids for connection. That came from Gottmann and he, uh – he coined that term, bids for connection. But we’d be familiar with this. When we have little kids, they want our connection, our attention, a lot early on. And then as teenagers have so many other connections that we’re going, “Hey, what happened?”

Jim: Yeah, we’re bidding for their connection (laughter).

Danny: We’re not connecting. So, now we’re bidding.

John: Hmm.

Danny: But it’s that investment early on that makes a difference as to how those bids are going to go from us towards our kids. And so, be intentional about looking at the interests of your kids and have fun expanding your opportunity to learn some new, exciting things. This is about paying attention, following through and having invitations all day long. If you could picture those little moments as invitations, it really opens up a huge world. When your child says, “Hey, Dad, do you have time? Hey, Dad, do you do you want to do this?” You say, “Ah, I think this is an invitation I need to step into.”

Jim: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Jim: Uh, right at the end here, I understand you like a poem by Reinhold Niebuhr. Many know this as the Serenity Prayer. What grabs your attention with that? Why does it – why does it grip you?

Danny: It’s about looking at the things we can’t control and managing those things well. There’s so many things as parents we cannot control. And that includes who our kids become. We can influence that. We can impact that. And we can control us along the way. And – and looking at the things we can manage and spending energy on that. It’s interesting this – Thomas Kempis said, “Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”

John: Mm.

Danny: That is convicting for us as parents. Yet it’s encouraging that we don’t have to control the entire world. God says to control us and to have a relationship with Him and the intentional moments of prayer, that invitation with our Heavenly Father, those are essential for us to do parenting well, because God will guide us. God will give us wisdom. And we will be imperfect a lot.

Jim: (Laughing) Right. Good confession. And we’ve got to end today, but we’ve covered three of the seven – adaptability, respect, intentionality. Let’s come back next time. We’re gonna cover the others which include steadfast love, boundaries, grace and forgiveness and gratitude. And, uh, I think this is a great tool kit for parents. These are the right things you need to know about and to deploy, again mostly for yourself and also then for your children to be as healthy spiritually, emotionally as they can be.

Danny: And for your children’s children. (Unintelligible).

Jim: That’s right! Even more so!

John: Mm.

Jim: So, thank you.

Danny: Thank you, Jim. Thank you, John.

John: Well, we’re going to encourage you to get your copy of that book, 7 Traits of Effective Parenting. We do have other great resources here at Focus on the Family. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: And John, let me also encourage people, if you can help us monthly – it is such a great way to support the ministry. It – it stabilizes our planning and we have many, many people, including Jean and I, know you and Dena as…

John: We do as well. Yes.

Jim: But we support Focus monthly. And I’d encourage you to do that. It really is helpful and it’s the best way to, you know, help Focus meet the needs that come in each and every day. And if you can sign up to be a monthly pledger, we’ll send you a copy of Danny’s book as our way of saying thank you for being part of the ministry here. Putting the fuel into the engine to, uh, minister to brokenness, people that need help. And we are grateful to you for doing that.

John: Yeah. And you might be in a spot where you can’t afford to commit to a monthly gift. A one-time gift of any amount will still mean a great deal to this ministry. And we’ll still say thank you for your support by sending a copy of 7 Traits of Effective Parenting. By the way, when you’re on our website, be sure to take our free parenting assessment. It’ll help you understand these traits and where you’re doing well, maybe an area of growth. It takes just a few minutes. It’s a really good tool to kind of look at your parenting styles and effectiveness. The resources and opportunities to donate are at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or again, call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as we once again continue the conversation with Danny and once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

7 Traits of Effective Parenting book cover

Seven Traits of Effective Parenting

Receive Danny Huerta's book Seven Traits of Effective Parenting for your donation of any amount!

Recent Episodes

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Finding Space to Connect With God

Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory share ideas on how you can find the space and the place to spend time nurturing your relationship with God. They reflect on some of their imperfections and the abundant grace God offers to cover those shortcomings.

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Saving Your Marriage From Divorce (Part 2 of 2)

Dr. David Clarke shares that if you are struggling in your marriage that you are not alone and there is hope. He discusses the three main bad marriage types: “We’re unhappy but willing to work on it marriage,” “My marriage is stuck but my spouse won’t work on it marriage,” “My spouse committed a big sin marriage.” (Part 2 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.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

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

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

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

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

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

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

Mrs. Patti Giebink

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

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

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

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

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

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

Mrs. Meg Meeker

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

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

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

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

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

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

Mr. Gary Thomas

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

cherish front cover

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

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

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

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

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

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

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

Mrs. Wendy Speake

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

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

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

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

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

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

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

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

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

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

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

Dr. Lee Warren

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

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

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

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

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

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

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

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

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

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

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

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

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

Mrs. Meg Meeker

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

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

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

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

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