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Focus on the Family Broadcast

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Your New Roles With an Empty Nest

Your New Roles With an Empty Nest

Author Michele Howe discusses the transition parents have to make to establish a new identity and parenting role when their children leave home.

Opening: John Fuller: I’m John Fuller and today on “Focus on the Family” with Jim Daly, we’ll take a look at a stage of life that every parent has to face at some point, the empty nest. And whether you’re ready for it or not, it’s coming. Maybe it’s already here though and you can relate to how this couple is feeling. Teaser: Dad: Right, son, thanks for calling, good-bye. Mom: How is he? Dad: Oh, he sounds fine. Just moved in, went down to the college bookstore to get his texts. I think he’s gonna do all right. You talk to Liz this morning? Mom: Hm ‚Ķ baby’s teethin’ and keepin’ everybody awake all night (Laughter), but sounded good. They’re happy. Dad: (Sigh) That’s something, isn’t it? John playing college student; Liz acting like a doting mother. (Mom Chuckling) They turned out all right, didn’t they? Mom: Yes, they did, in spite of all our worrying. They’re good kids. Dad: Yes, they are. Well ‚Ķ Mom: George? Dad: Hm? Mom: Now that they’re gone, what are we gonna do? Dad: I don’t know, dear. I don’t know. End of Teaser Jim Daly: John, the empty nest years uh ‚Ķ they can catch some parents by surprise. Jean and I are already talkin’ about it. Our boys are 16 and 14 now. Uh ‚Ķ but I know that day’s coming and it’s gonna be hard, because I like them in the home. I like bein’ a dad to my boys and when they’re heading off to college or whatever they’re gonna do—vocational training, I’m not sure what they’ll do—you know what, it’s gonna be a hard moment for us. And we want to talk about that transition for parents, how we hopefully squeeze the best out of it and how we look at each other, unlike that couple and we actually know what we’re gonna do and model it well. So, I’m excited to talk to our guest today. John: Well, Michele Howe has joined us. She’s a speaker and an author who addresses issues that women face very commonly and she’s talked to a lot of other moms about the empty nest years. Body: Jim: Michele, welcome to “Focus on the Family.” Michele Howe: Thank you for having me. Jim: Okay, this is really kind of a dicey topic um ‚Ķ because moms particularly, I can see this in Jean, she is so invested in the boys, rightfully. I mean, this is what she has done since really getting pregnant with them. She’s nurtured them. She ate carefully to make `sure that uh ‚Ķ she did everything she could in the womb and now, as they’re turning 18, 19, heading off uh ‚Ķ that can be a tremendous loss. Why? Michele: Well, you know, well, you just said it. When moms invest 20-some years doing one thing primarily, which is raising their kids, their heart, their soul, their energy, their focus is generally their family. And when that suddenly stops, there’s grief. And I think a lot of moms don’t realize that when that kid walks out the door, whether it’s the first kid or the third kid or the fourth kid, everybody’s trigger is different. And for me, it was the third kid. I mean, I had two kids walk out, get married and I was fine. When my son left, it was a whole different story. Jim: Were those two older ones girls? Interesting. Michele: They sure were; they sure were. They were. Jim: So, is there a dynamic there for fathers and daughters and mothers and sons? Is it different? Michele: I think so, because I remember helping my oldest daughter plan for her wedding and I was fine with it. And then at the wedding, my husband kinda fell apart emotionally and cried. (Laughter) And I was truly surprised, be[cause] he ‚Ķ he’s pretty stoic. Me, I was okay at the wedding, but I think I had processed it for all the months, you know, upcoming. Same thing with my second daughter, it was really okay and I think it hit my husband hard. But when my son left, we dropped him off at college, which is only an hour away from our home—it’s not across the country—but I got in the car and started sobbing. And my husband’s patting me on the shoulder saying, “Honey, it’ll be okay.” But in my heart, I’m thinking, I don’t know if it’s gonna be okay. I’ve never felt this before.” It was just grief. Jim: You know, we talk generically sometimes about identity and men will derive their identity out of what they do and I ‚Ķ I think now in this modern culture, many women do, as well, because they’re in the workplace and I understand that. But um ‚Ķ is it fair to say that, that loss of identity for husbands to feel perhaps what their wives are feeling, is their identity has been so wrapped up in being mom and then all of a sudden, they anticipate it’s over. Is that ‚Ķ is that what’s happening? Michele: I think that’s what’s happening. Now I ‚Ķ I’m not going to diminish that my husband doesn’t grieve in his own way. He does, but he’s more “get up and go; go back to work, get busy.” And he keeps going and I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, too, which also adds to the dynamic of the house during the day looks different when the kids start leaving. It’s— Jim: Quieter. Michele: –quieter. The meals are smaller. There’s less laundry. There’s just ‚Ķ John: It’s not as messy. Jim: Okay, now wait a minute! Michele: It’s not as messy. Jim: Those are the things we (Laughter) complain about most of the time. So, why are we uh ‚Ķ now missing it when it causes so much pain? Michele: Isn’t it the humanity in us? (Laughter) We are always kind of looking forward to the next season of life, thinking the next season might be a little less challenging. But the truth is, every season has its own particular set of challenges– Jim: Right, so you– Michele:–at every stage. Jim: –you grieve the loss of all the hard work, which sounds uh— Michele: Silly? Jim: –counterintuitive. Michele: But also as you started out at the beginning of the show, you know, ki ‚Ķ we are ‚Ķ we’re often told when our kids are small, “Well, you only have ’em for 18 years and after that, your job is over.” And people would say that to me and it never rang true, because I thought, well, No. 1, am I gonna stop being a parent at 18? No. And No. 2, I always thought in my head, as soon as my kids become adults, they’re gonna have adult-sized problems and they’re gonna face the problems my husband and I face, which are big problems–little people, little problems, big people, big problems. Jim: So, you thought about that, even as a mom of junior high, high school kids? Michele: Absolutely. I was looking– Jim: You put it ‚Ķ Michele: –way ahead and so, I wasn’t a mom who was blindsided by this. I was always the planner and looking ahead and saying, “What is our life gonna look like when the kids move out?” So, again, the trigger for grief with me was a shock. I was surprised that I was so upset when my son left, because I thought, well, I have this all planned out. I know what’s gonna happen. Jim: You sound like a planner. I laughed at the title of your book, because it’s Empty Nest, What’s Next? And the subtitle, Parenting Adult Children Without Losing Your Mind. And I laughed because you can really put any phase of parenting in there. (Laughter) Michele: Yes! Jim: You know, Parenting Preschoolers Without Losing Your Mind. I think many of us as parents and certainly, where I’m at, I’m hoping that uh ‚Ķ when they are in their 20’s, it actually would get a little easier. You’re tellin’ me, it may not. Michele: I think it gets harder as they get older and I’ll tell you why. And I don’t try to discourage parents of young children because when your kids are young, it’s physically exhausting. Jim: Yes. Michele: As they get older, it’s emotionally exhausting. When they become young adults, you have kids who will call you and say, “Mom, I’m pregnant.” “Mom, I’m getting a divorce.” “Mom, I have uh ‚Ķ a bill I can’t pay. I’m in debt. I have a gambling problem,” a drug problem, an alcohol prob[lem]. I mean, their problems are what your peers are experiencing and you hope your kids will never experience. And those problems can’t be fixed by moms and dads. You know, only the Lord can intervene and help them at the level that He intervenes and helps you. Jim: Uh ‚Ķ Michele, so often um ‚Ķ in the Christian community particularly, we’re hoping we did our job as parents, that you know, we gave our kids the fundamentals and they know the right thing to do. They know how to walk with the Lord. Yet, these things that you just described do happen. Um ‚Ķ how do we process that as parents of adult children? How do we not own it? How do we not feel the blame of what they’re going through? And then, how do we provide the kind of advice they’re gonna need and what form does that come in? Michele: Uh-hm, well, I think it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to own it partially because you ‚Ķ you do have to reflect carefully on your parenting. And I remember all through my parenting years saying, “God, make up the difference. God, make up the difference,” because I knew my husband and I were not enough for our kids. We couldn’t be as humans. We were gonna fail them and we did fail them. Jim: Did you talk about that with your children? Michele: Yeah and we’re pretty transparent in our family. I mean, when we blow it, we go back and ask for forgiveness. And they’ve, I mean, your kids already see your failures and your sins. Jim: Yeah. Michele: You can’t hide them, I mean, especially with your family. So, it ‚Ķ I think it makes a bigger and better strong bond between your children and as they grow up, too, I think they can come back to the mom and dad when they’re in trouble, whey they’re in trouble and know that they have parents who are gonna listen, parents who are gonna be real with them, not reject them for making mistakes, I mean, life-altering mistakes. And we’ve had that with our kids and I don’t know, it’s just a ‚Ķ it’s a tricky dynamic, but you have to be reflective, I think, at times with your parenting. I mean, we need to do that. Jim: How do you uh ‚Ķ well, that kind of rescue parenting that you describe in your book, how do you pull back from doing that? ‘Cause it’s so ‚Ķ it’s been part of your relationship. It’s the nature of being a parent. You help fix problems that when they’re small, they get into. Michele: Right. Jim: When they’re teenagers, they get into. Now when they’re 20-something, maybe 30-something, how do you pull back and what’s a healthy boundary for a parent of adult children to establish those boundaries? What do you do? Michele: I think you have to be very intentional to move from the frontlines to the sidelines. You’re not ‚Ķ Jim: Boy, that’s tough. Michele: It is tough. It’s tough especially, I think, for moms who are so emotionally driven to take care of their kids and to meet their kids’ needs. And if your kid calls you or texts you and says, “Um ‚Ķ I didn’t expect this bill, mom and I don’t have enough money and my credit card is already overdrawn.” I mean, I remember going to my husband and saying, “We need to help. Can we help now?” And he said, “Well, let’s look at the budget.” And I’d be standing there impatiently, anxiously saying, “We gotta help him. We gotta fix him. We gotta ‚Ķ” And my husband’s like, “Let’s pray about it. Let’s talk about it,” you know. And I think that’s a good balance between spouses. Moms may want to rush in— Jim: Or vice versa. Michele: –and ‚Ķ or vice versa, It depends— Jim: That’s right. Michele: –on the personality of the ‚Ķ of the people— Jim: Sure. Michele: –involved, but again, you have to be really intentional and say, my job is not a frontline parent anymore. My job is a sideline parent and a sideline parent just as like on a football field, you kinda wait and you let your kids kinda try to figure it out themself [sic] Jim: You know, when you look at life and the way it plays out, do you think that’s how God looks at us as our heavenly Father? Michele: I would say so. I would say so, but it ‚Ķ it can be a different dynamic. I don’t know. I mean, He is our frontline Father all the time, but on the other hand, you know, the whole season of ‚Ķ Jim: Well, we’ll go through things is my point. Michele: We’re gonna grow. Yeah, we’re— Jim: Yeah. Michele: –gonna grow ‚Ķ go through things and ‚Ķ and I remind myself when my kids are suffering that when did I grow most? It wasn’t through the high times of life. I grew when I suffered and when my back was against the wall and the only thing I had was the Lord. And I only could bank on Him coming through for me. That’s all I had. And you know what? My kids have to experience that, too, for them to have the strength in their relationship with Christ. John: But you don’t start, Michele, when they leave the home. You don’t start letting them learn those lessons naturally at 18 or 19 when they leave the home, do you? I mean, you’ve gotta start before they leave so you can be prepared, as well, to kind of let those consequences fall as they do? Michele: Oh, I say you start it in toddlerhood. I mean— Jim: Yeah. Michele: –you ‚Ķ you ‚Ķ there’s gotta be cause and effect from early on in parenting. There has to be. I mean, they’ve gotta get ahold of the concept, there’s a repercussion for good choices, as well as poor choices. And I think our generation tends to shield our children way too much. Jim: Right, Michele, in your book, Empty Nest, What’s Next? you talk about this emotional bank account. You know, that’s ‚Ķ that metaphor is used in all kinds of ways. What were you driving toward in using that emotional bank account when it comes to parenting adult children? Michele: You know, there’s a day where you might have $100 in your bank account. There’s another day you may get up and have five cents. And depending on what God’s brings to you that day you have to be wise enough to know when a situation is brought to you as a parent, what do I have? What reserve do I have? Can I outlay 50 bucks when I only have $10? And most of the time, you ‚Ķ you don’t. And most of the time you have to say, “Lord, I’m casting my care on You. The burden’s too great. I’ve already heard too much bad news today.” Or there’s been too many issues with this child and you keep relinquishing them back to Him. Jim: Yeah, Michele, sometimes this can sound hypothetical or theoretical, but as you’ve alluded to, you did have challenges with your kids and how old are they today? Michele: Uh ‚Ķ our kids are ‚Ķ we have four adult children—three girls and a boy and that they are 25 through 31. Jim: Okay. Michele: Yeah. Jim: And you know, to the level of your comfort, ’cause I don’t want to press on that, but you’ve written about it, um ‚Ķ and your daughter particularly wants her story known because it brings glory to God. That puts a smile on my face when somebody has that kind of courage. But she messed up. Um ‚Ķ how did you go through that, you and your husband? How did you process it? And what was it? Maybe it wasn’t just one thing, I don’t know enough of that story. But talk about experiencing it and really encouraging the listeners who are maybe going through it right now. Michele: Yeah, our daughter, Corinne, who is my third daughter, third born, started really acting out in high school and we were oblivious to it. We were so preoccupied with caring for an elderly relative who was our neighbor for five years that I think we were consumed with him and didn’t notice the signs that were happening in her life. Jim: What were they? Michele: Well, she was lying to us, staying out super late, being very irresponsible and evasive. And she was my one kid that I thought could never lie to us effectively— Jim: Huh. Michele: –because she was always a transparent kid. I thought, if she ever did anything wrong, we’d know it. Well, I was wrong. I was dead wrong.And she was out partying, drinking, you know, clubbing, doing terrible things, breaking the law, driving drunk, was arrested several times, ended up in jail a couple of times over a probably a five-year period and we were doing all the tough love. I mean, we were saying, okay, you have to be in at this time. You have to do this. You have to tell us where you’re at. You have to have your ‚Ķ your phone on at all times. And she was so sneaky and so ‚Ķ so determined to do her own thing that she found ingenious ways to get around our rules. Jim: Hm. Michele: And then it all crashed down one night when we really didn’t know if she was dead or alive. She didn’t get home. Her cell phone was off. Her car was missing and we couldn’t report it to the police for 24 hours. So, it was really late at night, 2 a.m. I remember sitting in my kitchen in pitch black, looking out at our field and thinking, am I gonna become one of those moms who’s never gonna know what happened to their kid? Or is my kid gonna be dead in a ditch tomorrow? Because it was that scary. We didn’t know what was gonna happen to her. And I remember the Lord just speaking to my spirit and saying, “Whatever happens, I’m with you.” Jim: Oh. Michele: And I thought, boy, I don’t know how I’m gonna get through this, Lord. I don’t know how. And I just kept sensing that, you don’t need to know how because I’m with you through this. Jim: Michele, it sounds easy, because you’ve gone through it but there are many people listening right now where their kids are in that spot. Michele: Uh-hm. Jim: And they woke up this morning wondering what’s gonna happen. What can you do practically? I ‚Ķ I know that you felt that the Lord spoke that into your heart. Maybe they haven’t heard that from the Lord. Michele: Uh-hm. Jim: What can they do to, A, connect with God first and foremost? I’m talkin’ about that parent right now whose 21-, 22-year-old is so far outside of the boundary that they’re afraid— Michele: Uh-hm. Jim: –that they’ve lost them, that they’re not serving God, that they may be in danger physically, emotionally. What can they do practically to begin to um ‚Ķ sense there’s some hope and some future for that child? Michele: Well, I think you said it. I think you have to go deep with the Lord and you have to be willing enough to pray the hardest prayer, which is, “Lord, Thy will be done with this kid, whatever it takes.” And that means whatever trial, whatever dangerous situation, whatever horror the Lord chooses to put her though to bring her back, you have to be willing to pray that scary prayer and I did. I did and my husband prayed the same thing. But I knew what I was praying. I ‚Ķ Jim: How did that go? Give us an insight. Michele: Well, it ‚Ķ He ‚Ķ He took my daughter down. I mean, He took her down. She had nothing left. She was picked up drunk driving and uh ‚Ķ it ‚Ķ and in ‚Ķ in the State of Michigan, you have to pay about five grand to ‚Ķ to pay all those bills and she paid ’em. And she wasn’t gonna go anywhere without praying them and when she paid her lawyer bills. We made sure she really felt the cost of that. Jim: Huh. Michele: And we created a contract for her, too. But to backtrack a little bit, the day that we found her, the next day we ended up calling the police. And a young wonderful police officer showed up at our house and looked at me and through my tears, he just said, “I see this way too often. Parents are trying to do everything they can for their kids and their kids are goin’ just crazy and doin’ illegal things.” And he said, “You don’t have to watch your daughter destroy herself.”Now my husband had already been sayin’ that to me. You know, we could’ve kicked her out and I wasn’t ready. Jim: Yeah. Michele: But when he said that to me, this young guy, I thought God was just speaking to me and I thought, I don’t. I can’t go through this anymore— Jim: Yeah. Michele: –not knowing where she is, if she’s dead or alive every other time she goes out and doesn’t come home. And that night, we ‚Ķ she did come home and when she came home, two things happened. She was belligerent and angry at us for being upset, which made me feel two ways—angry, grateful she was alive, but angry at her and thinking, how dare you do this to us as your parents, when you know we love you? Jim: Huh. Michele: And then that evening is the evening my husband created the contract and ‚Ķ and she signed it and she knew if she broke any of the rules, she was out. And in fact, my husband took her down to Cherry Street Mission in Toledo which is where homeless people go and said, “This is your next stop, because your friends aren’t your friends and they’re not gonna take you in.” And that night she had a breakdown and a breakthrough, I would say and they actually did a symbolic thing of breaking her phone to get rid of all her contacts, broke her computer. So, in a weak moment, she couldn’t contact her friends anymore. She— Jim: Right. Michele: –doesn’t know numbers and they couldn’t contact her. But that was just the first step in a long step of healing. Jim: Boy, that sounds so dramatic. John: Yeah and unfortunately, Jim, we hear uh ‚Ķ from so many parents here at Focus on the Family who are struggling with deep issues like that. And if that’s you, please call us. We’ve got caring counselors, resources and we can help you take some next steps. Our number is 800-A-FAMILY or online we’re at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. John: And Michele, you’ve mentioned contracts a couple of times. There are some benefits to having a contract in place, even if your child isn’t in trouble. Uh ‚Ķ we’ve gone through a cycle where kids are comin’ in. They go out. They travel. They do work outside of the home and then they’re back in. Contracts can kinda keep everybody sane um ‚Ķ in terms of the family dynamic when your adult kids move back in, be it a short season or a long season, can’t they? Michele: Yeah, absolutely and I would say if you have a ‚Ķ a child that’s moving back after they graduate from college or let’s say, they’re moving back to your home state, whatever, a contract is just a friendly way of keeping everybody polite and— Jim: What does that— Michele: –courteous. Jim: –look like, that kind of contract? Michele: Well ‚Ķ Jim: Let’s say they’re comin’ back from college and they are not on their feet yet. Um ‚Ķ what would that contract contain? Michele: Well, for ‚Ķ for us, it would mean something like, you’re free to come and go as you please. You’re adults, however, you’re not gonna wake us up at 3 in the morning bangin’ around in the kitchen because you’re hungry. Um ‚Ķ if you’re gonna go somewhere and you’re gonna stay away overnight, be courteous enough to tell us where you’re going. You know, um ‚Ķ don’t leave the bathroom a mess and you know, if you’re gonna be part of this family again, then you’re gonna have chores like the rest of us do. Now whether or not you choose to charge them for anything—groceries, rent, whatever—it all depends on your family and what they’re going through. But it just kinda gives people a real sense of, you know, I’m an adult now. You’re gonna be treated as an adult and let’s say, you have a daughter that moves back with three of her kids. You know, that is a real life change for everybody because the mom who has a neat house is suddenly gonna have a messy house by virtue of the fact that three kids are tearing through it all day, and you gotta really kinda work through that before it happens, because otherwise, you’re gonna be resentful. John: How do you come up with the terms of ‚Ķ of those kind of agreements? Michele: You know, I think ‚Ķ John: Do you ‚Ķ do you say, “Here it is?” Or do you work it through together? Michele: I think you work it through together and that’s where you kind of announce it maybe to your kids. Later today, we’re gonna sit down and have a family meeting. I want to make sure we get along peaceably and both of you—the child and the parents—write down the things that are important to them. Sketch it out together and then you can come to an agreement. It doesn’t have to be written in stone, but it does give you a real idea of what your child and you might anticipate struggling with. Jim: Yeah, let me ask you this, Michele. So often we talk about the importance of the marriage bond, even as a parent. Uh ‚Ķ you’ve gotta concentrate on the kids, but your marriage is job one. Um ‚Ķ at this point of empty nest, so many marriages are breaking down today because as we talked about earlier, moms particularly, but some dads, too, they look at each other and say, “We ‚Ķ we don’t know each other anymore. We’re strangers to each other. We’re roommates.” Michele: Uh-hm. Jim: Um ‚Ķ what is some of the advice that you have for the married couple to make sure that they are doing the things they need to do, so when the transition comes and their house is quiet and the chores are done and the kids are done, that they still have an intact marriage? Michele: Well, and I think that is a great point because there are a lot of marriages breaking up right after their kids move out, which is always a shock to me, because I think you’ve weathered all those circumstances and the hard years together. Why would you want to split after the bulk really is done? But I also understand people end up as roommates. And you know, for my husband and I, we’re both Type A, real independent people who get real involved in our own work and ministry. So we work at staying close. It doesn’t come easy for us. And we just have to find activities and things we like to do together so we can bond during those quiet moments, you know? Jim: You talk about investing in people. What ‚Ķ what did you mean by that? Michele: Well, you know, you invest in your kids, but you can’t not invest in your marriage. I mean, you were a couple before you had kids and I always like to remind myself that before my kids were even born, I was married to this man and chose to spend my life with him. I certainly owe him and should want to put him first and make our relationship primary. However, it doesn’t always work that way, because you get sidetracked with your kid who’s sick or busy or troubled. And you know, there ‚Ķ it’s okay to have seasons where the kids are the focus, but it just can’t stay that way forever. You gotta regroup. You gotta keep coming back and again, it has to be intentional. John: Michele, do you and your husband ever have um ‚Ķ let’s call them “disagreements” about the adult kids, about either boundaries or directions or interventions and ‚Ķ or maybe a lack thereof? Michele: Oh, yeah, we really did and I will tell you, if you have a child who is in trouble, it takes a tremendous toll on a marriage, because we would look at the ‚Ķ the situation with Corinne and we both had very different ways of wanting to handle it. And we had blow-out fights at times over it, where we had to really cool down, walk away and not even address it for a few days because we were so passionate about trying to save our daughter, but didn’t look that way on paper. I looked like he wanted it one way and I wanted to do another and those two ways weren’t gonna meet. Jim: You talked about those hard times. Where is your daughter at today? ‘Cause we need to close that part of the story. Michele: She’s doing very well. In fact, everything she learned from going off and going to strip clubs and ‚Ķ and you know, and drinking and driving and just using people for what they could give her, she has turned around and she’s part of a ministry called Covered in Toledo, where they go in and minister to all the women who work at strip clubs. So, she’s turned the darkest part of her life into a saving ministry of all these young women. And they’re getting women out of this industry, loving them, setting them on the paths of the Lord. And she’s a completely different person. She is absolutely renewed, but what she would want me to tell everybody is, it wasn’t just one step of faith that did that. It was a thousand right choices after five thousand poor choices— Jim: Ah. Michele: –that got her back on track. And I think we forget. You don’t get 50 pounds overweight in a day. You get there in a year of poor choices. And it’s the same thing when you’re sinning and sinning and sinning. It took day after day after day of saying, “Yes, Lord; yes, Lord, yes, Lord” and no to the flesh, no to the flesh, no to the flesh, before you become healthy again. Jim: Ah, Michele, you have said it well. Again, your subtitle says it all, Empty Nest, What’s Next? Parenting Adult Children Without Losing Your Mind. And I can only imagine you and Jim during those dark years. I don’t know if it took years or months for your daughter to turn around, but that had to be a very challenging moment. I appreciate your vulnerability to share that kind of a story with all of us and the listeners. Um ‚Ķ I am sure there are people listening that need help, John and we are here for you. We have those caring counselors who can help you uh ‚Ķ you know, think through the moment that you’re in, put a resource or two in your hands and I hope you will call us. John: And our number is 800-A-FAMILY; 800-232-6459 and we also have resources and helps, including Michele Howe’s book, Empty Nest, What’s Next? at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. Jim: And there will be people who can’t afford to reimburse us for the cost of that. So, if you’re in a place where you can support the work of Focus on the Family to help a couple get through those dark moments in their parenting, in their marriage, we would appreciate that support. Um ‚Ķ that is how it works here. We’re donor funded and Michele, let me again say thank you so much for writing Empty Nest, What’s Next? and for being hope to those folks. What the Lord has done through your family and through your relationship with your daughter and your other kids is a testimony to the power of Christ in our lives. Thanks for bein’ here. Michele: Well, thank you for letting me share our story. It’s been an honor. Closing: John: And we hope you were encouraged by the conversation today and that you’ll help us rescue and strengthen many more families with your gift today. Donate online at www.focusonthefamily.com/radioor when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. And if you’re able to donate a gift of any amount today, allow us to say thank you by sending a complimentary copy of Michelle’s book. Now coming up next time on “Focus on the Family,” one woman’s powerful story of re-examining her past in order to walk more closely with Jesus. Excerpt: Lisa Harper: In light of Jesus, how can we not risk everything to share the Gospel? And that book um ‚Ķ it was so timely for me, because God was freeing me from stuff that had held me captive for decades. I ‚Ķ I started really delving into the book of Acts and I was like, my goodness. There’s actually a template for freedom. End of Excerpt John: That’s Bible teacher Lisa Harper and you’ll hear more of her story next time on “Focus on the Family,” as we once again, help you and your family thrive.

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Empty Nest, What's Next?

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Rediscovering Faith in a Culture of Chaos

Dr. Os Guinness shares deep insights into the current chaos in the United States in what is a cultural revolution. He inspires believers to be agents of justice and compassion, offering solutions for the restoration of true freedom, which leads to peace and order in society.

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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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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!

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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.

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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