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Developing the 7 Traits of Effective Parenting

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Joyful mom and dad hugging their laughing young daughter as they lie together on a bed

Thank you for taking the Focus on the Family 7 Traits of Effective Parenting Assessment. This free resource is available to help you continue to grow and develop as a parent. Once you use this outstanding tool, consider next steps for the areas where you scored high or low:

Areas for growth in adaptability Areas of strength in adaptability

Areas for growth in boundaries and limits Areas of strength in boundaries and limits

Areas for growth in grace and forgiveness Areas of strength in grace and forgiveness

Areas for growth in gratitude Areas of strength in gratitude

Areas for growth in intentionality Areas of strength in intentionality

Areas for growth in love Areas of strength in love

Areas for growth in respect Areas of strength in respect

Areas for growth in adaptability

If you scored low on adaptability you may have difficulty adjusting to change, handling stress, responding to failure and imperfection, and/or having “unexpecteds.‚” You may even find it tough to go on a vacation. Imagine what it would be like if you were able to handle whatever life brings your way . What would this be like for you and your family? Does this sound impossible?

Think about Abraham Lincoln for a moment. Lincoln’s road to the White House included failures, several defeats and a nervous breakdown. And yet his adaptability, among other traits, allowed him to stay the course, put an end to slavery, and preserve the Union. He is regarded by many as our greatest president.

We may not walk paths as grueling as the one Abraham Lincoln trod, but as parents we have to constantly be adapting—adapting to different personalities, failures, conflict and unexpected illness and loss. We have to adapt to the ages and stages of our children as well as the onslaught of activities, demands, and technology. It is a constant wrestling match. But we can persevere and be successful.

According to a recent study conducted by the American Psychological Association, Millennials and Gen Xers report the highest stress levels out of the four generational groups (Milennials, Gen Xers, Boomers, and Matures). Both Millennials and Gen Xers report a lot of work-related stress, often resulting in anger. Were these groups able to cultivate greater adaptability, many of the stresses that plague them—both in and away from the workplace—would be more easily managed and have a lower impact on their lives.

The great news for parents is that our brains are designed to change when we have kids. Moms’ brains begin to change during pregnancy, and dads’ brains are altered as they spend more time with their kids. These changes represent just one of the ways we are designed to adapt.

Our brains and bodies are incredibly adaptive, but we can still sometimes be overtaken by stress. Stress, over time, can take a toll on our brains and bodies, and we end up becoming reactive instead of responsive. In other words, stress robs us of our patience and emotional self-control.

If saying “no‚” is difficult for you and your pace of life is constantly draining you, you will not adapt well and will most likely burn out. For parents to be effective, self-care is crucial. Likewise, one of the great lessons your kids should learn from you is how to handle adversity, pain, stress, disappointment and uncomfortable feelings through an unrelenting trust in God.

Considering your assessment, a low score in adaptability most likely means that stress tends to control you. A great way to increase your level of adaptability is to

  • Line up your will with God’s will. Pray for God to make His will clear in your life, and that He would help align your heart and desires with His. This is the ultimate level of, and route to, adaptability. This type of wisdom is an essential component to healthy adaptability.
  • Set small goals and celebrate along the way. Accomplishing small goals can lead to a string of successes energizing you toward larger ones. For example, if you are not particularly tech-savvy you can set goals to learn more about technology. You can then adapt and implement proper parenting techniques and use your newfound understanding to set appropriate limits on your children’s technology use.
  • Learn to be flexible and creative. Families love it when inflexible and traditional-type personalities work on being a little more accommodating and imaginative. Find ways to let others be in control. Allow things (and people) to be imperfect. Put your focus on relationships rather than tasks.
  • Pause to see the bigger picture and learn to see situations from multiple perspectives. Ask yourself if there are other ways to look your circumstances.
  • Manage your “barrel.‚” Pretend you have a barrel with a spigot, and draw it on a piece of paper. The demands on you are what come out of the spigot. Write those out. Demands could include attention and time your kids want from you, demands at work, from church, and so on. The more that comes out of the spigot, the emptier your barrel becomes. If you don’t refill your barrel you’ll eventually run dry. Ways to refill could include exercise, quiet time, walks, sleep, reading, watching movies—whatever recharges you. List those things that energize you and pursue them. Work diligently to refill your barrel regularly.
  • Let go. The more you hold on to something with an outstretched arm, the heavier the object becomes. Even a light object held this way for a long time begins to feel like a huge burden. The same principle applies to unforgiveness and resentment. Some people create unnecessary stress by holding on to grudges and bitterness over past wrongdoings from others.
  • Don’t let emotions occupy the driver’s seat. Emotions influence the way you think and can result in poor decision-making. Slow down enough to think rather than simply ride your emotions. Strive to have an optimistic perspective.

Adaptability is not easy, but it’s necessary. Your growth in this area will help you lower your stress level and make it much more pleasant for your family to be with you in times of challenge or change. It requires wisdom and energy, but will be well worth it. You and your family will both benefit.

Areas of strength in adaptability

Congratulations! Scoring high on adaptability means you are able to handle what life throws your way. You are flexible, which helps you see situations from multiple perspectives. This can help keep you from getting stuck in a negative frame of mind. You are resilient, bouncing back from hardships more readily than most others. You are able to lead your family through difficulty, adversity, and stress. You are also able to teach your kids how to gain a more accurate perspective when times get difficult. Adaptability is an essential ingredient in relationships.

While parenting undoubtedly has its stresses, you are willing to face life, and you do not avoid stress. Instead, you see it as an opportunity to grow and learn. You help provide your family with a balanced outlook when life gets complicated or out of control.

Your family benefits from your ability to find creative solutions to problems and new ways to approach difficult circumstances. You are the emotional “Swiss Army knife‚” in your home, versatile and equipped to assist others in times of trouble.

You are able to adjust your plans in response to whatever your family is facing. However, adaptability relies on all of the other six traits in order for it to work best.

You can share your strength in adaptability by

  • Being an example for your kids of how to effectively manage stress. Teach them healthy ways to reenergize and take care of themselves as they encounter stress and adversity in life.
  • Teaching ways to let things go. Show them how they can move toward grace, forgiveness and optimism even when their brain wants to go toward anger, unforgiveness, and negativity. Love, grace, and respect are essential traits that should be emphasized as you teach adaptability.
  • Modeling and teaching how to handle different personalities, opinions and ideas. Each family has different personalities, and family members may have widely varying opinions and ideas. This is where love and respect have to be present in order for adaptability to yield its greatest benefits.
  • Demonstrating a positive attitude toward unexpected changes or circumstances. Each day truly has enough worries of its own, as Scripture reminds us. Counter the worries by purposely focusing on the positives.
  • Modeling and teaching how to pause and maintain an appropriate perspective when life is chaotic or stressful. Read Philippians 4:8 with your family, and talk about what is right and good in your situation. Again, this is an opportunity to emphasize gratitude and positivity in tough times.

Modeling and teaching adaptability can help your family become more resilient. Be intentional about imparting these skills to your kids and they will thank you some day.

Areas for growth in boundaries and limits

Scoring low on boundaries could mean that you are exhausted, disorganized or a conflict avoider, or you may simply have a more playful and aloof personality. There may be various other reasons why you scored low, but the fact is your family and society need your growth in this area.

Boundaries take a lot of energy, time, focus, relationship, balance and communication. It is not easy to face conflict and uncomfortable emotions when kids don’t like your boundaries or when people don’t like your “no.‚”

In a study from the University College London, researchers discovered that we tend to pursue the path of least resistance. We tend to select the option that requires the least amount of effort, which draws attention to two specific needs: the need for intentionality and the need for focused attention. Intentionality requires planning and energy and helps with setting, defining and reinforcing boundaries. Focus requires disciplined attention and is important in establishing and pursuing goals.

You probably already know this, but other people’s love and approval are for them to give, when and how they want to. Yet some of us try to gain love and approval by easing up on limits and not setting proper boundaries. Likewise, other people’s happiness (including that of your kids) is up to them. It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to make our children happy by letting boundaries lapse. That is an exhausting, never ending road and a losing proposition. The truth is, we can never make someone a happy person—not our children, not spouse, not anyone.

We all desire approval and love, but it’s important that we get them in healthy ways. If we seek love and approval by setting weak (or no) boundaries, we end up hurting ourselves and others. When we set good boundaries, though, they actually provide freedom. In the Psalms, David shows his love of God’s commandments and rules. He says they keep him safe. These are good, healthy boundaries that provide the freedom to become the best he could be. Those same boundaries allow us the freedom to become our best selves.

When we lack boundaries with others, many times it means we lack appropriate boundaries for ourselves. For example, many parents struggle with boundaries on themselves when it comes to technology, and it can be very difficult for, say, a dad to impose limits on his son’s video game, computer, or smartphone use when he is unwilling to curb his own use of these technologies. Consistently model limits on yourself with technology, food, media, time, or anything else about which your child may ask “Why do you get to partake in that and I don’t?‚” This will help improve your relationship with your children greatly. Ask yourself what limits you should place on your phone or computer use. What about eating junk food or time spent playing video games or watching TV? By the way, do your children see you setting proper limits between work time and family time?

A lack of boundaries can result in exhaustion, confusion, frustration, and a loss of respect. But it takes energy and effort to institute proper limits, and even then you may still face opposition. Jesus led a life of balance yet still faced persecution, tiredness, betrayal, and suffering. He held strong to His boundaries even when it made other people unhappy. This is seen clearly in His dealings with the Pharisees and other antagonists. Jesus was not concerned about making people happy. He was concerned about their souls and their relationship with God.

You can work on boundaries by

  • Resting enough so that you have sufficient energy to set and hold limits. One of the purposes of sleep is to prepare our brains for the next day. In addition to mental renewal there is physical repair that happens as well. Make sure you make time to stop and recharge so you will have enough energy to set boundaries on yourself and your children. Limit-setting takes a lot of mental and physical energy.
  • Learning to be friendly with the word “no.‚” “No‚” can provide breathing room and respect. It is ok to say “no‚” to others when you need to. It doesn’t make you a bad person, friend, spouse or parent. When you say “yes‚” to something, you have to say “no‚” to something or someone else. If you say “yes‚” to another task at work, being out with friends, or another project around the house you are saying “no‚” to time with your spouse or kids, or to time you might otherwise use to recharge. It is important to keep your focus on balance as a parent, spouse, employee, friend, and servant of Christ.
  • Establishing rules and consistently reinforcing them. Our homes have fences around them that show the boundaries of our land. They don’t move depending on how people feel. The boundaries are there and people learn to respect them. In the same parents need to set clear limits and enforce them consistently. In a study out of Pennsylvania State University, researchers discovered that it is important to teach children about good moral decision-making with respect to the Internet at an early age (intentionality) so that they are able to more easily understand and follow limits on technology. These children who experienced limits were also more willing and skilled at placing limits on themselves. The researchers also found that younger teens were more compliant.
  • Learning from other people you respect who are able to provide boundaries with love and respect. Watch what people with good boundaries tend to do. They fill their emotional tank in order to most effectively and genuinely engage with others. Learn from these people and don’t be afraid to take notes. Pay attention to what disciplines and/or skills you are missing that can make it difficult to follow through on setting and enforcing boundaries.
  • Establishing what is most valuable to you. What is it that you make time for? What do you spend your money on? Where do you give most of your energy? Rearrange your priorities so that what is truly valuable in your life is treated that way.

Your family will love the results of you working on this trait. It will have long lasting impacts on you and your family. In fact, it will increase both your level of self-confidence as a parent and the level of trust your spouse and children have in you.

Areas of strength in boundaries and limits

Congratulations! This means you are friends with the word “no.‚” Your goal is not your children’s happiness as much as their growth. You are willing to go through the difficulty of training your kids to respect boundaries and limits. This takes consistency and intentionality.

Two traits that are crucial for the long-term success of boundaries are love and respect. Keep in mind that if you are low on either or both of these traits it could lead to resentment, rebellion, and big-time confrontation in your home. If you scored low on either of those, make sure you work really hard on them before you start establishing and enforcing more boundaries.

If you’re providing your family with the wonderful trifecta of love, respect, and boundaries, you are a gem to your family! Even if there is conflict, your kids will gain security in your home. They will learn to love, respect, admire, and thank you someday. You are truly providing a great foundation for your kids to learn about what it means to be an adult.

Some people hold to the misconception that boundaries only serve to suppress our freedom and squelch creativity, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, we were created to thrive within certain boundaries—obeying God, living with His truth in our hearts and minds, and by listening to Him to gain much needed wisdom. Psalm 119 provides a wonderful example of the benefits of loving God’s commandments and living within their boundaries.

There are many things in our lives that we need to set limits on—relationships, the words we use, the way we use our time, the media we consume, and our use of technology.

Technology use among children continues to rise, and the average age of individuals who use digital technology on a daily basis continues to skew younger. Technology demands boundaries and limits. This can take a lot of energy and effort on your part as a parent, but fortunately you have the required skills.

Because there are many demands on time, your ability to say “no‚” is important to your sanity and to your family’s. There are so many good things to get involved with; you can help your family choose the “great‚” things to pursue.

You also, most likely, help your family set clear limits on what media is consumed. This is important because of the impact of media on our children’s minds and souls. Media influence belief systems; beliefs influence thoughts; thoughts and emotions influence one another resulting in actions. In other words, media has the potential of influencing our children’s beliefs and actions. While there may be some conflict with your children over media boundaries, just realize that you are investing your energy and time in a very important area of your children’s lives. (Plugged In can be a great support to you in this area. This online resource helps sift through the culture’s never-ending barrage of media to provide you the best information possible as you develop boundaries for entertainment in your home.)

Since you scored high in boundaries, you are able to help your family by

  • Modeling consistency of rules, limits, boundaries, and expectations. Your children learn that your “no‚” is “no‚” and your “yes‚” is “yes.‚” This makes it less likely for your children to attempt manipulation if they don’t appreciate a certain boundary you establish. Your consistency helps them learn to respect boundaries. It is interesting to watch coaches and players argue with referees. You’ll almost never see an official change a call because a coach or player whines or complains about it. The call remains the call and everyone moves on. In the same way, your consistency helps your children not get stuck on the call.
  • Teaching your kids responsibility. You can teach them that the words “no‚” and “yes‚” help set important boundaries in life. They’ll learn how to tell if they have energy, time and resources to do certain things. They will also gain trust and respect from others by being able to say “no‚” when they need to. A lot is learned about people by what they say “yes‚” to. Help your children become mindful about the sorts of things they agree to.
  • Modeling and teaching respect for rules, limits and boundaries. This will help your children more effectively navigate friendships, dating, marriage, work, parenting, and society.
  • Teaching what is right and wrong. Don’t be afraid to have conversations about the reasoning for various boundaries. This helps define the purpose of the boundary, and it allows your children to feel heard as they try to adjust to a boundary that they may not like or want.
  • Guarding your family time. This is important. It is very easy to get busy and scattered. Family time is essential. Your family needs not just quality time but quantity time, and your ability to set strong boundaries helps safeguard this precious commodity.

Boundaries are vital, even if we don’t always like them. In that sense, it’s a good thing that emotions don’t always run society because it would be constant chaos, fluctuation, and conflict. Thankfully, you are not controlled by emotions as you set necessary boundaries with wisdom, love and respect. Your family and society will thank you.

Areas for growth in grace and forgiveness

It’s exciting to work on such a transformative trait as grace and forgiveness! This process will change the lenses of how you see people and the world around you.

Bob, a middle-aged man, used to see me for counseling. He told me he hated his dad, couldn’t forgive him for what he’d done. Bob had come to see me because he frequently yelled at his family, slammed doors at home, screamed at drivers, was short with co-workers and was struggling to maintain his second marriage. Bob couldn’t put to rest memories of his father’s absence, screaming, yelling, hitting, and eventual abandonment of his home. He was a wounded man and was readily wounding others around him. Bob told me he feared becoming his dad, even though it was clear that is exactly what was happening.

In parenting, the trait of grace and forgiveness is essential for the love of God to shine into your kids’ lives. It gives your family the ability to repair relationship when your imperfections clash. Research shows that choosing forgiveness helps our brains grow in empathy and in our ability to see the positive side of a situation.

In the context of parenting, developing this trait will help you understand that kids misbehavior or mistakes is not a personal attack. Children are still growing. They need patient and understanding guidance and forgiveness.

Grace also frees us from our past, allowing us to live in the present. The following are some ways you can begin working on grace and forgiveness in your life:

  • Make a list of events or individuals you have difficulty forgiving. You can put this list in your wallet, purse, Bible or any other place you will look. Ask yourself: Why do you have difficulty forgiving these people? What is your benefit by bitterly remembering these events? What is the benefit if you do forgive?
  • Make a list of past moments that you can’t seem to let go of. Next, try to hold a cup filled with water for 5 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes and 10 minutes. Did you notice that the longer you hold the glass, the heavier it gets even though it is the same weight? Likewise, remembering the pain and anger inflicted by others gets so much heavier the longer we hold on to it. You will be free emotionally “lift‚” your family if you are able to free yourself from the burdens of the past. Picture yourself physically letting go of each past event. What does it feel like to make this list of burdens shrink?
  • Learn to see imperfections in your family as opportunities. Everyone makes mistakes, and when we see these moments as chances for love, learning and growth, we develop skills in patience and grace.
  • Continually ask yourself, “Is there another way to look at this?‚” This helps train your train in forgiveness, in the ability to see the same event from multiple angles. For example, if your daughters says, “I hate you‚”, it likely means something completely different. Perhaps she hates the fact that she can’t have what she wants. It is not personal. She is still learning how to handle his emotions. Once everyone has calmed down, rephrase her words to teach her how to more respectfully communicate frustrations.
  • Look at the bigger picture. Grace is really God’s territory. He has freely forgiven us, giving us the ability to forgive others. Since we have received this forgiveness, why are we often unable to extend forgiveness ourselves? Our brains seem to get stuck on the negatives. We can’t let it go! Challenge yourself to look past the negatives to the positives of a relationship, especially with your children. You’re helping to create an adult. What an amazing opportunity! Find a place to calm your emotions, so that you can see far enough to find grace. Grace and forgiveness will help you develop humility and foster love in your home. It is worth the hard work!

Areas of strength in grace and forgiveness

Scoring high on grace and forgiveness is a true blessing to your family. They have a peacemaker in leadership, one who provides a healthy example of God’s ministry of reconciliation. You are helping your family learn how to handle differences, conflict and even possible betrayals. Grace and forgiveness is an antidote to anger, frustration and disappointment that you’ll often face in family life.

Grace inspires compassion when others hurt us. It brings calmness to stress. Jesus provided us with a powerful example when, while in excruciating pain and humiliation, He yelled out, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.‚”

Grace helps your children know that they can make mistakes while still continue growing in their identity in Christ. Here are five ways you can help your family through grace and forgiveness:

  • Teach your family ways to learn from mistakes, to see them as opportunities to grow. My 11-year-old daughter was acting up recently and spilled frozen peas all over the kitchen floor. We all stopped for a moment and looked at her. She seemed paralyzed, waiting to see what was going to happen next. We could tell she felt bad. My wife said, “the dogs are going to be very happy.‚” My daughter laughed and watched as the dogs ate every green pea on the floor.
  • Model ways to let go of grudges. It is easy to hang on to events where we’ve felt wronged. It takes a strong person to apologize,

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There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

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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!

Play Video

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

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

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

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

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

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

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

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 2

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

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

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

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

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

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

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

To be an effective parent, you must be a leader in your child’s life, guiding with a gentle hand and setting a solid example. Dr. Randy Schroeder provides the insight you need to be a leader-parent. As he explores the foundational Rs—relationship, routines, responsibilities, and rules—you’ll better understand the role you play in your child’s life. You’ll learn great phrases to employ such as “Either/Or/You Decide” and “When You/Then You”. While there is no perfect parent, this nuts-and-bolts material will equip you to lead your child in a loving, confident manner.

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

Dr. Randy Schroeder

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

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

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

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

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

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

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

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

Defending Your Marriage

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

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

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

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

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

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

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

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

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

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

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

Mr. Greg Koukl

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

Tactics front cover

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

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

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

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

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

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

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

Mrs. Wendy Speake

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

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

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

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

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

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

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

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

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

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

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

Dr. Lee Warren

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

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

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

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

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

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

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

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

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

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

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

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

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

Mrs. Meg Meeker

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

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

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

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

Play Video

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!