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Developing Friendships That Last

How do teen girls make meaningful friendships? It starts with learning about the characteristics of a true friend, what to look for in a friendship and how to work through common friendship problems.

“I feel plain, unlikable and lonely,” despairs Lisa, a bright teenager from a loving home. “It seems nobody wants to be my friend — or at least my really good friend. What’s wrong with me?”

Like Lisa, many of us experience loneliness, some more than others. The truth is that all people, no matter what their age — even the most outgoing, wealthy and popular — experience loneliness at least occasionally. But sporadic feelings along this line are light years away from facing the rejection of peers on a day in, day out basis. That’s how Lisa feels. Nearly every day she wakes up to a world where it seems no one her age cares.

Perhaps you can relate to Lisa. You’ve been there. Or you are there. Or maybe it’s just that you’re lonely more often than you’d like to be. You’d like to have more friends. Or at least one or two very special friends you can count on.

Let me begin by saying it’s healthy and natural to want to be around people who care. After all, from the very beginning of time, God has said that it is not good for man to be alone (see Genesis 2:18). We’ve all heard the phrase “No man is an island.” It’s true. We all need others in our lives.

How do I make friends?

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, offers counsel in Proverbs 18:24 on the subject of friendship. He explains that if we want friends, we must be friendly and reach out to others. But reaching out involves risk. Perhaps you think, What if they don’t like me? What if they embarrass me in some way? Because we are often afraid of rejection, many of us are unwilling to reach out to others. We take a safer approach and wait for others to befriend us. But if we want friends, we’ve got to get beyond this. We must realize it is our responsibility to make friends. So just how do we go about it?

The Bible Says …

As a girl, I was very shy. I desperately wanted friends but did not know how to get them. My mother told me to reach out to others who were also timid and alone and start talking to them, just as Proverbs says. Reluctantly, I tried it. To my surprise, it worked. I started connecting with others who felt as I did. Because I was willing to take a risk, I went from feeling lonely to having some terrific friends.

If making great friends is your goal as well, consider these actions:

  • Be willing to take the initiative. If you see someone whom you would like to know, don’t wait for her to make the first move. Approach her and begin a conversation. Invite her over to your house or to church or a youth activity. Let her know in a nonaggressive, nonthreatening manner that you are interested in being friends.
  • Reach out to those who are lonely. When you see someone at school or at church sitting alone, go over and sit with her. Talk to her and get to know a little bit about her. And don’t let popularity determine whom you reach out to. You’ll often be surprised at the beautiful qualities hiding behind a shy or awkward appearance. When you break the ice by demonstrating that you love and care, you receive love and care in return.
  • Ask questions. People always like talking about themselves, so initiate your first conversation by asking this potential friend what she likes to do. Show interest. Find out if she plays sports. Ask about her favorite subject in school or about her family. Probing allows you to discover what you have in common. Showing an interest in others also allows them to respond by showing an interest in you. Be sure to ask questions that cannot be answered yes or no. For instance, don’t ask, “Do you have a dog?” Instead say, “So, tell me about your pets.” This gives your potential friend an opportunity to elaborate on the question, not end it awkwardly with a one-word answer. Even more important than asking the right questions is listening (and remembering) the answers. Of course, interrupting is a big turnoff to almost everybody.
  • Be friendly and smile. Be warm and friendly to others. Smile … a lot. We all enjoy being around someone whose face reflects happiness. So make sure you approach your potential friend(s) with warmth and body language that sends an “I care” message.
  • Be patient. Give friendship time to grow. Many times we scare away potential friends by sharing or expecting too much, too soon. Allow your friend time to get to know you, and give yourself time to know her before you share the deeper things of your life. Remember, when you give anyone some of your heart, you are giving that person a precious gift. Therefore, you want to present it to someone who will treasure it. That means you will want to know that your friend is trustworthy. But it takes time, so don’t rush the process.
  • Remember, not everyone will like you. None of us wants to be rejected. Yet, we must realize that sometimes when we reach out, people will decline our offer of friendship. That’s okay. Remember that friendship involves risk. And we can only have so many friends. If you have three or four intimate friends in a lifetime, you can consider yourself fortunate. For one thing, you only have a limited amount of time to invest in relationships. If you seek too many friends, you will shortchange yourself; you’ll find you do not have a real closeness with any of them. Intimacy takes time and investment. When you discover that your efforts at finding a true friend haven’t succeeded, don’t give up. Just begin the process all over again. It’s truly worth it when someone responds and a great friendship is formed!

What makes a true friendship?

“People with deep and lasting friendships may be introverts, extroverts, young, old, dull, intelligent, homely, good-looking, but the one characteristic they all have in common is openness.” Alan Loy McGinnis

When Val told her best friend, Marie, that she was interested in a guy named Travis, she made Marie promise not to tell anyone. “My lips are sealed,” Marie pledged. But as Val entered her homeroom the next day, a guy in the back row shouted, “Hey, Travis, your future wife just walked in the door.” After that, the teasing was nonstop. Of course, Val felt hurt and betrayed by someone she had called her “best friend.” And rather than apologize when confronted, Marie tried to turn the situation into Val’s problem. “What’s the matter, can’t take a little teasing?” Marie blurted.

All of us have experienced the pain of being stabbed in the back by someone we thought was a friend. Although Val forgave Marie, she also realized something important that day: what she thought was a close friendship had simply been wishful thinking. When Val faced the facts, she knew Marie only talked to her when none of her other friends were around. It was not real friendship. Val overlooked this treatment in the past. But she decided that from here on out she was going to find a true friend. In addition, she promised herself to be a true friend.

A true friend is someone who is …

  • trustworthy. You’ve got to be able to live up to your word and keep a confidence. Are you “using” someone as a friend until a better option comes along? A true friend would never do that. True friendship finds fulfillment in encouraging, supporting and building up the other person. If you’re in a friendship only for what you can get out of it, you’re in it for the wrong reason. A real friend is always faithful and looking to protect and seek what’s best for the other person.
  • loving. Part of genuine friendship is telling your friends what they mean to you. Be creative in looking for ways to express your feelings: hugs, notes, pats on the back. Or give small tokens of your appreciation. Treat your friend to a Coke at a local fast food restaurant. Send a letter to your friend’s parents thanking them for helping make your friend into the person she is. Depending on your age, personality and interests, you’ll find ways of expressing affection that are genuinely your style. However you do it, do it often. No one ever gets tired of hearing that she is loved, valued and appreciated. The important part is being consistent and making sure your thoughts are communicated and received.
  • open. Be honest with your friends. As you learn more about them and become more comfortable in your relationships, you will naturally share more about yourself. Go slowly at first. Friendship is a process. Do not share the most intimate details of your life until your friends have proven that they will love you and value what you share.
  • respectful. Respect means listening without interrupting. It means you don’t focus on your friends’ weaknesses but look at their strengths. It means avoiding a judgmental (condemning) and critical spirit. Instead, make sure the words that come out of your mouth are kind, uplifting and considerate. Your friends should walk away from you feeling they’ve been treated as the most important people in the world.
  • a servant. Selfishness is one of the biggest enemies of true friendship. Rather than asking what your friend can do for you, find what you can do for her. Make a deliberate effort to discover what your friend needs. A kind word? A helping hand? Encouragement? Comfort? One of the side benefits of serving your friends in this manner is that, more often than not, they will respond by returning the favor.
  • a speaker of truth. There may be a time when you need to lovingly confront a friend on her wrongdoing. Pointing out weaknesses can be difficult, but it’s a true act of love all the same. The Bible says that if you “rebuke a wise man, … he will love you” (Proverbs 9:8). As long as you’re speaking the truth in love (and trying not to be hurtful), these tricky times can prove to be building blocks in your relationship. If you ignore every wrongdoing and bottle up all the hurt inside, you will grow increasingly angry and probably wind up lashing out under pressure — something that almost always proves damaging to friendship.
  • a positive person. No one wants to be around a person who’s negative all the time — the person who sees the glass as half empty instead of half full. Look for the best in people and in situations. Then express those optimistic thoughts. When you hear someone else’s grumbling and complaining, try to turn those thoughts into positive ones.

What do I look for in friendships?

Friends since third grade, Jill and Laura do almost everything together. They play guitar and go shopping together, run on the same cross-country team and go to the same youth group. Unlike some so-called friendships, when they’re together, there’s no game-playing. They don’t wear masks or try to do or say things to impress each other. They just like being together, hanging out and enjoying each other’s company. It’s a safe environment.

In the Bible we see this type of friendship between Jonathan and David as well as Ruth and Naomi. And even in Jesus’ life: Although He had 12 disciples, His inner circle — His closest friends — were three in number: Peter, James and John. No doubt, they laughed and had fun together while they learned about God and trained for their mission. If even Jesus considers friendship of great value, how much more do the rest of us need close friends?

When it comes to developing friendships, it is important to look for certain traits. Not just any warm body will do. Look for these qualities:

  • Similar Values. When choosing your friends, it’s important that you value the same things. Sara and Lyn had been friends for years, but when they entered high school it became apparent that their values were very different. Lyn liked to spend her weekends drinking. Sara didn’t feel that drinking honored God and, therefore, did not enjoy partying. This eventually led to an end in their friendship, since their values led them to spend their time doing different things. A true friend should help strengthen your own biblical values. Proverbs 27:17 explains it this way: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” But the Word also warns that “bad company corrupts good character ” (1 Corinthians 15:33). We want to choose friends who will sharpen us, not corrupt us.
  • Common interests. Without common interests, you have little to talk about or spend time doing. Good friends enjoy the same type of activities — or at least are willing to participate in each other’s interests. Some friends enjoy staying busy — constantly on the go. Others enjoy quiet times at home writing poetry, painting or reading a book. Without similar interests or the willingness to stretch yourself to develop those similarities, you have little to share.
  • Likability. There are some people you just connect with immediately. You enjoy their humor, their style, their personality, etc. Sometimes you may find someone with similar interests and values but you don’t have a friendship-attraction to them. You’ll respond better and enjoy your friend more if the two of you mutually like one another.
  • Consistency over time. More than just initial attraction, true friendship will stand the test of time. You’ll want to observe your friend in many different situations and throughout all seasons. For instance, how does she handle hard times? How does she deal with anger, joy, sadness and jealousy? How does your friend deal with an overcast, cold and rainy day? How does she deal with your feelings? Is she a comfort and support? Is she loyal and faithful? As you see your friend handling life situations in a healthy way over a period of time, you will become increasingly drawn to her — reinforcing your initial thoughts that she could be a genuine friend. On the other hand, sometimes as we get to know people we find out they are not what they first appeared to be. We are wise to discover who they really are before calling them close friends. And as noted, this takes time. What’s more, we must always make sure that we are being the kind of friend we would want to have.

Working through the most common problems in friendships

Problem #1: My old friends are jealous of my new friends.

Many people feel insecure when a new person comes into a group. To help your old friends feel secure and less threatened by a new friend, reassure them that they are still important to you. Tell them that you still value their friendship. Be careful not to exclude either your new friend or your old friends. Assure them all that there is enough love to go around. As you do this, your “older” friends will feel more secure and be less likely to become jealous and more likely to be accepting of your new friends.

Problem #2: Another person “stole” my friend from me and now prefers this new friend to me. I feel very left out.

A true friend cannot be “stolen.” If your friend decides to spend some time with a new friend, excluding you, that can be very painful. It’s natural to feel left out. But if your friend is a true friend, she will not desert you for another person. Someone who leaves a friendship because she’s found another person she likes better is someone you’d be better off without in the long run. People who experience this kind of betrayal feel sorry for themselves and try to control and manipulate the lost friend to come back, only find that they ultimately lose respect in the eyes of their former friend. This type of groveling separates rather than attracts. For most, once the relationship reaches this stage, it is beyond repair. The wiser, more difficult choice is to let your friend go and begin developing other friendships that are lasting. Sometimes you may have to go through this cycle two or three times before you find that genuine and trustworthy friend you are looking for. But if you continue to pursue close friendships, you will find them.

Problem #3: Someone who’s been my friend since elementary school is drifting away.

It is not uncommon to feel that a friend is drifting away when you enter into a new stage of your life (like high school or college). When you go to a new school or get involved in a new activity, you are exposed to many new people as well. Maybe your classes are different from your old friend’s. Maybe you’ll find that your interests are changing. Do not take this drifting away personally. Rather, allow it to be a time for you to assess your plans, goals and interests, looking out for new people whom you’d like to befriend as well.

This doesn’t mean you should just call your friendship off. Instead, reach out to your longtime friend — and reach out to new ones as well. Do not back off just because someone seems to be drifting away. Continue to pursue the friendship. However, if after some time goes by, your friend does not respond by reaching back to you, then it is time to concentrate on those other relationships. Remember, it is up to you to have the friendships you desire.

Problem #4: My friend is jealous because we both like the same guy.

Jealousy and envy are always enemies of genuine friendship. If you’re in this situation, no doubt you feel torn. It is difficult when one of you connects with a person you are both interested in. If your friend allows that feeling to ruin the relationship by demanding that you stop liking the guy you are interested in or becomes angry and treats you poorly because of it, she is not a true friend. A real friend would have your best interest at heart. Just make sure, if the guy likes you, that you don’t flaunt the relationship in your friend’s face. Be careful.

If the shoe’s on the other foot and the guy takes an interest in your friend, don’t allow yourself to become jealous. Instead, support her, pray for her and seek her best as you always have. Yes, you will likely be disappointed, but if you are a true friend then you will be happy for her anyway. And don’t let any dating relationship ruin a friendship. There’s no reason to have to drop your old friend for a new guy. Continue to make your friend a priority by expressing your care and concern. Keep calling. Keep seeing. Keep the relationship alive. And keep in mind, in most situations young romances do not last … but your true friendships will — as long as you don’t do something foolish that puts a wedge between you.

Problem #5: My friend is getting into some bad stuff (drugs, immoral behavior, wrong crowd, alcohol) and has been avoiding me.

It is critical that you choose your friends wisely. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” We become like our friends whether we want to or not. Our friendships influence who we are and how we act. That is why it is important to choose committed Christians for our closest friends. We can (and should) have non-Christians as friends as well, but our most intimate friends should be in love with the Lord Jesus Christ. These friends should also have the same beliefs, convictions and lifestyle that we have. This way they can understand us and encourage us in the way we should walk. It is easy for a non-Christian to pull a Christian friend down. Not because she necessarily wants to, but because over time the believer will be tempted to excuse wrong behavior, let down her guard and embrace the unbelieving friend’s wrongdoings as well.

If your friend doesn’t share the same convictions and doesn’t have the Holy Spirit to convict and empower her, your Christian walk is in jeopardy if you remain close to her. If your friends are living in a way that doesn’t honor God, you shouldn’t treat them coldly or cruelly. But it is always better to let go of a friendship than to let that friendship pull you away from the Lord.

Problem #6: My friends and I do not like someone who “tags” along.

Many times someone who tags along does not have many friends. Because as Christians we are told to love others, we must love everyone — even the tagalongs. Though it’s tempting, we do not have the option to reject someone simply because she is not “cool” or fun to hang around. We are told to treat all people in a loving and kind way. As you follow the Lord on this, He will honor you for your obedience, making it easier to love someone who is hard to love.

Loving a person doesn’t necessarily mean making her a part of your closest circle of friends. What it does mean is that when you have the opportunity, you are to treat her with kindness. The line between the two can seem a bit fuzzy at times, but as you seek God’s best, He will direct your paths on what to say and how to act. If your other friends do not like the kindness you’re showing to this person, then they may not be the best friends for you to have anyway … or at the very least, they need a “refresher course” from you on what it means to be a loving and caring Christian.

Problem #7: I have a lot of friends but no “best friend.”

Most of us think it is critical to have a “best friend.” While there’s nothing wrong with this, ideally we should shoot for having three or four intimate friends. Not only does it help if one of our friends moves away, but a small group of close, intimate friends can be loads of fun.

Problem #8: My friend is nice to me when we are alone but mean to me when we are around others.

A true friend loves you consistently. If your friend is mean to you when others are around, you need to communicate to her that her actions are hurtful. If she listens and makes an effort to stop, then you indeed have a genuine friend. But if she refuses to stop and continues to treat you differently when you are with others, then she is not a true friend. Although it’s hard to do, you’ll need to start looking elsewhere for that special and true friend.

When it’s all said and done

Everyone has a need for close relationships. God created us as social, emotional beings: We thrive in healthy friendships and find great fulfillment there. Keep in mind that in all healthy relationships we should be asking, “What can I do to benefit and love my friend?” … not, “What can this person do for me?” Realizing that Jesus had close friends reminds us of God’s intentions for relationships — He designed friendship to be caring, loving and intimate. To have these type of friendships, we need to realize it is our responsibility to find and build healthy relationships. To do so, we must reach out to others and treat them the way we would desire to be treated by a friend — looking out for what is in their best interest.

Rather than trying to befriend the most popular people we know, we should target those individuals who are probably as lonely as we are. Think about it — when we do this and the person responds, then neither of us is lonely anymore. Don’t forget the power of prayer in finding the right friends. God will direct us as long as we’re faithful and obedient to Him.

We need to be willing to slowly share our hearts and allow our friends to do so as well. Everyone is fearful of rejection, but someone has to reach out first. We must be willing to take risks, realizing we really have nothing to lose . . . and a lot to gain. As we seek genuine friends and live the message of King Solomon — if we want friends we must be friendly — we will discover that this biblical principle really works. Just don’t give up!

All scripture quotations are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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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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