Providing Trauma Informed Care for Children Who Have Experienced Harm or Loss
All children in foster care and children who have been adopted have experienced trauma. It is traumatic to be separated from your biological family, whether as an infant or a teenager. As a result, caregivers should be trauma informed when engaging with foster care or adoption.
Trauma informed care often looks different than traditional parenting strategies. For children who have experienced harm, traditional parenting may not work effectively. Instead, trauma informed caregivers can implement knowledge and practices to help the children in their home grow, develop, and heal.
As caregivers become trauma informed, they should remain flexible and open-minded. While there are several practical ways for a caregiver to approach trauma, there is no “quick fix.” The behaviors presented by children with trauma may be challenging. Caregivers who feel overwhelmed are encouraged to seek resources to help them and the children in their home.
Trauma informed care looks at the many needs of a child, including their heart’s needs, their mind’s needs, and their body’s needs. These three pillars are also known as connection, felt safety, and regulation. A system that works to meet all three of these needs can be considered trauma informed.
You may have heard the term “trauma informed care” going around. Many organizations, school systems, and other entities are beginning to describe themselves as “trauma informed.” But what does it mean?
A great definition comes from clinical psychologist Dr. Howard Bath. He describes a trauma informed environment as one comprised of three pillars: connection, felt safety, and regulation.
One way to think about trauma informed care is to look at the heart, mind, and body. An environment can be considered trauma informed if it is meeting the heart’s needs, the mind’s needs, and the body’s needs.
The first pillar, connection, is about the heart. Humans have an innate need to connect. A trauma informed system promotes connection with trust and safety. In a school, this may look like a teacher and a student connecting. Or, in a home, this could look like a parent and child communicating.
The second pillar, felt safety, is about the mind. Each person has a belief system about what it means to “be safe.” It might include locking the door at night, living in a safe neighborhood, or having access to resources. But a child’s belief system about safety may look very different if they have experienced trauma or hurt. Although a child may objectively “be safe,” they might not feel safe. A trauma informed environment helps a child’s mind come to know that they not only are safe but can feel safe. It is an environment in which the child their voice will be honored.
The third pillar, regulation, is about the body. Regulation describes the ability to regulate emotions and energy. If a child needs help regulating, a trauma informed system is prepared to offer solutions. Trauma informed caregivers help a child regulate the energy and emotions in their body.
All children deserve the chance to know who they are authentically. While trauma informed care equips caregivers and authority figures to help children with their behavior, it actually extends much further. The goal of trauma informed care is for children to heal, use their voice, and know who they are in Christ.
When a child has experienced trauma, they may struggle to self-regulate. Trauma informed caregivers can provide tools and systems to help children regulate and thus become their most authentic selves.
There are two main reasons why a child may have trouble regulating: their environment or their biology.
Some children experience environments in which their needs are not met. Perhaps they did not feel safe, could not connect with others, or had difficulty regulating. If a child has been deprived of these important elements, it becomes vital for a trauma informed caregiver to provide them. Other children are born with a biological system that has difficulty regulating. They may be hardwired in a way that requires additional help to regulate. One example of this is fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), which is condition that can affect the brain and body of people who were exposed to alcohol in the womb.
Ultimately, trauma informed care is the way in which to help children heal and come to know their authenticity.
Adverse behavior is a signal, but it often catches caregivers by surprise. By becoming trauma informed, caregivers can begin to recognize behavior for what it is: a signal that a child has unmet needs. Then, trauma informed caregivers can enact plans to help address the child’s needs.
Caregivers, teachers, and other authority figures may often see children display challenging behaviors. For children who have experienced harm or loss, behaviors signal that there is an unmet need or that they need a loving adult to enact a plan to help them. To put this in perspective, consider some physical examples in which a loving caregiver must take action to help meet a child’s need.
First, imagine that a child has broken his arm. There will undoubtedly be adjustments that his caretaker makes to accommodate him. They may help the child cut up his food or write down his homework answers. When the child needs to bathe, a caregiver will wrap up the cast to protect it from getting wet. If the child is in pain, a caregiver may offer medication. The cast is a visual reminder for the caregiver to enact a plan.
Now, consider that a caregiver is throwing a birthday party, and one of the guests uses a wheelchair. The caregiver will make adjustments in their home to ensure the birthday party is a success for everyone who attends. They may adjust the games or prepare their home to be accessible because they want to honor the guests. In this example, the wheelchair is a visual reminder to make adjustments to meet the needs of a child.
Finally, think about how a caregiver reacts to a child with a 103° fever. All caregivers have a plan for when a child becomes ill, whether it includes monitoring the sickness, providing medication, or going to the hospital. The fever is a tangible reminder that the caregiver must provide resources to help the child heal.
For each of these physical examples, visual signals, such as a cast, a wheelchair, or a fever, prompt a caregiver to modify their approach to best serve a child. For children who have experienced trauma, it may seem like there is no reminder of their needs; however, this is not the case. Behavior is the primary signal that a child who has experienced trauma needs help getting their needs met.
Some children’s behaviors will be active and outwardly. They may yell, push, or be rough. Other children have quiet behaviors. They may be withdrawn or not engage with others. It is equally important to address the quiet behaviors as it is the loud behaviors, especially since quiet behaviors are often overlooked.
When a child begins to exhibit behaviors, it is important for caregivers not to take them personally. Take the behaviors as a signal. Then, decide what must be done to help the child. A caregiver’s plan to help a child regulate will depend on the situation and the child.
If a child is exhibiting a lot of behaviors, it may be helpful for the caregiver to identify what is causing the behavior. Below are four common explanations for a child exhibiting behaviors.
Physical Body: Similar to adults, children will exhibit behaviors if they are experiencing hunger, dehydration, or exhaustion. It is helpful for caregivers to consider whether food, water, or sleep would help meet the needs of a child.
Core Belief System: Many children who have experienced abuse, neglect, or loss have a core belief that they are unworthy. Oftentimes, how a child has been treated in the past or the fact that they are in foster care or have been adopted reinforces this belief. If something causes the child to feel unworthy or rejected (such as being told “no”), these feelings may resurface in the form of adverse behavior.
The most important thing for caregivers to understand about both foster care and adoption is that they are grounded in loss. The child who is in foster care or who has been adopted knows firsthand that it is possible to lose a caregiver. This is a burden not many other children carry.
But for children who are in foster care or who have been adopted, one of their top fears is losing a caregiver they love. Often, a child knows that they must get close to a caregiver in order to have their needs met. But the fear of losing them makes this a challenge.
Consider the tension of this fear and need. Trauma informed caregivers should be prepared for the behavioral signals they may receive from a child. They should understand the potential causes of adverse behavior. And they should be ready to enact a plan to meet the needs of a child when they see the signals.
Foster and adoptive families face unique challenges. Behaviors such as lying, stealing, or throwing tantrums can be daunting. Helping a child transition between activities or go to sleep can feel overwhelming. In this section, caregivers can learn trauma informed strategies for handling transitions, lying, tantrums, sleep, and stealing.
Trauma informed caregivers must understand that transitions can be challenging for children who have experienced harm or loss. To them, transitions can feel like a separation. It is also a moment in which their coping mechanisms may be disrupted or cease altogether. Whether a child is struggling with life transitions—such as going from the school year into summer—or daily transitions, there is a four-step strategy that can lead to success: attention, mention, distract, and act.
Caregivers should get front and center so they can lovingly address the transition. As a caregiver begins to assist their child, they should ensure they remain regulated themselves to provide the best care.
Caregivers should explain what the next steps of the transitions will be. If a child struggles with transitions, it is essential to get buy-in from the child. For example, a caregiver can say what is going to happen and ask the child if they will be able to follow through on the transition when the time comes. If a child acknowledges the upcoming transition and gives buy-in, the transition is more likely to succeed.
This is perhaps the most important part of the strategy. When a caregiver initiates a transition, they should distract the child by talking about a neutral subject that forms a connection. The conversation could be about anything, such as the child’s favorite toy or what they are going to eat for dinner. This distraction helps a child let go of their current activity and connect with their safe, loving caregiver, who will move them to the next activity.
As the caregiver moves the child to the next activity, they should remain connected to the child through conversation. Once the child has successfully transitioned to the new activity or task, the caregiver is free to move on to other things.
All parents and caregivers want their children to speak and act with honesty. It can be challenging to know how to address frequent lying. Whether a child is prone to telling direct lies or tall tales, caregivers can take a few key steps to help curb the habit. It is important to understand the reasons why a child may feel the need to lie in the first place. Then, loving caregivers can help the child work on the underlying issue.
All children experiment with lying. In fact, lying is a developmental stage. If a child’s lying is addressed during the developmental stage, they will stop doing it as they age. For children who have experienced harm or loss, lying is often a symptom of an underlying issue. Lying may have been a fear-based behavior or a survival behavior. For example, a child might once have had to lie to protect themselves or their family. The only way to help children stop lying is to help them feel safe to tell the truth.
A fundamental mistake that many parents make when they know their child struggles with lying is asking direct questions, such as, “Did you eat the cookie?” When shifting a child’s behavior away from lying, it is imperative not to set them up to lie. Instead, caregivers should state what they know to be true. If they see crumbs on a child’s face, they can simply say, “I see you ate the cookie. This is how we are going to address the issue.” Once a caregiver has stated what they know to be true and addressed how they will handle it, they can move on.
For a child who tells tall tales, it is important they understand that they are not fooling their caregiver. The caregiver should approach this issue by naming the tall tale for what it is. For example, if a child says they saw a lion in the backyard, their caregiver can respond, “That is the most creative story. You have a great imagination. What happened next?” This proves to the child that their caregiver knows the story is fiction. Then, the caregiver is free to entertain the story. This allows a moment of connection, which may have been what the child was seeking all along.
When a child throws a tantrum or has a “meltdown,” their brain goes into fight, flight, or freeze mode. This can be especially scary or challenging to a caregiver who does not know how to respond. Often, caregivers become dysregulated themselves. While it’s not possible to avoid all tantrums, caregivers should do their best to help a child stay regulated. All the while, caregivers should address the underlying issues and help the child know who they are in Christ.
Children who have experienced extreme trauma or loss have a core belief that they are not good enough. Their life experiences reinforce feelings of shame or worthlessness. When a child with this belief system is told “no,” it taps into that shame. To them, it means, “No, because you are not valuable.” This stimulates fight, flight, or freeze.
Although not always possible, caregivers of children who have experienced trauma should try to avoid situations in which the child may go into fight, flight, or freeze. This means saying “yes” whenever possible and frequently using uplifting language that praises the child’s character.
If a child is entering fight, flight, or freeze mode, a soothing item or action may help mitigate the tantrum. Caregivers should try to offer one soothing thing, such as a drink of water or the child’s favorite blanket. However, if this one thing does not help the child soothe, the caregiver should not try to offer other items. Often, caregivers become overwhelmed and try to provide several things to help the child calm down. This typically has the opposite effect.
When a child is in true fight, flight, or freeze, their brain is offline. They may not accept any soothing items. At this point, it is crucial for caregivers to take a step back, calm themselves, and wait. A caregiver should stay nearby and let the child know they are willing to talk when the child needs. Sometimes, a child or teen will go to another room or their bedroom. In these cases, the caregiver should give the child space but let them know they will be available when the child is ready to talk.
As a child’s tantrum begins to subside, caregivers should look for signs of “the shift.” For example, the child may take a deep breath, reach for a toy, or glance at the caregiver’s face. If the child or teen is behind a closed door, there may not be an obvious shift, but after a while, a caregiver may learn how long the child needs to calm down. After that point, the caregiver can enter the room.
Once the child or teen has calmed down, the caregiver should start a conversation unrelated to the tantrum. It is vital to remember that when a child or teen emerges from fight, flight, or freeze, the primary feeling they will experience is shame. They may have said or done something during the tantrum that they regret. The most important thing for a caregiver is to connect with the child and show them that they are still loved despite what has happened.
Once a caregiver has connected with the child, they can decide how they want to proceed. In many cases, the caregiver may say, “I know it’s hard when you can’t get what you want.” In other scenarios, the caregiver may consider changing their initial decision or coming to a compromise. It’s also possible that a caregiver desires an apology from the child for something they may have said or done. It is important to gauge how much shame the child feels. Then, the caregiver can determine the best time to help the child repair any damage they may have done.
Evenings can be challenging for caregivers. Everyone is exhausted, so both the caregiver and child are entering this time with limited capacity. But there are actions the caregiver can take to help children who have difficulty with sleep. Having a consistent and calming routine sets the child up for success. Then, caregivers can ensure their child feels supported and safe through check-ins as the child taps into their body’s natural ability to fall asleep.
There are three main reasons a child who has experienced trauma may have trouble sleeping.
First, children who have experienced significant harm often have a biological system that is constantly on high alert. This is a biological response to something that has happened in the past.
Second, nighttime is a separation from a safe and loving caregiver. Without a caregiver’s presence, negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions may arise in a child.
Third, a child may have experienced harm at nighttime. As a result, nighttime or darkness may be a trigger.
While a caregiver implements strategies to help a child sleep, they should also help the child work towards healing for the things which have led to difficulty sleeping.
Bedtime routines should begin at least one hour before bedtime. If a child goes to bed early, this might mean beginning the bedtime routine immediately after dinner. The routine should be filled with calm and soothing activities, such as bath time, brushing teeth, and bedtime stories. Consider other calming elements such as dim lighting.
Humans are hardwired for sleep. However, it can be difficult for children who have experienced trauma to tap into that natural state. Caregivers need to help the child learn to self-soothe and calm down naturally. To do this, caregivers can provide check-ins at specific intervals. They may tell the child, “I’m going to go brush my teeth. I’ll be back to check on you after that.” This tells the child that the separation is only temporary. Then, the caregiver should return and check in on the child.
Caregivers can repeat this process, telling the child that they will return to check on them after a set amount of time. Each separation allows the child to tap into their body’s natural ability to fall asleep. The duration between check-ins may be longer or shorter depending on the child’s difficulty with sleep. These check-ins should continue until the child falls asleep.
By creating calming nighttime routines, addressing the underlying issues, and remaining supportive of the child, caregivers will see greater success in helping children go to sleep.
Stealing is alarming for many caregivers. There are lots of reasons why a child might steal. Some children steal so that they can make friends or get attention. Other children have been trained to steal because their family once depended on it. Caregivers should feel empowered to ask their child why they are stealing. Then, once a caregiver knows the underlying reason, they can begin to address the issue with their child.
There are many reasons a child may take items that do not belong to them.
Additional reasons a child may steal include poor impulse control, boredom, or wanting to feel special by having things that do not belong to them.
As long as a child feels safe to tell the truth, they will tell their caregiver why they are stealing. The caregiver can then think of solutions to address the issue. For example, if a child is stealing things so they can make friends, a caregiver might consider buying small items for the child to give away so that they are no longer tempted to steal.
The solution may need to be more hands-on in other instances, such as a child who steals out of habit. In this situation, a caregiver may talk with their child before entering a store. They may say, “I know this has been an issue in the past. I would appreciate it if you did not take anything from the store. If you need, I can ask you before we leave the store whether you took anything.” With this support, a child will stop stealing.
Children who have experienced harm or trauma have a high need for power and control. This can be a huge challenge for caregivers who know they must be the strong, loving adult in charge. Having a child in the home who always wants to get their way can shock caregivers. Here are the reasons behind the need for power and control and strategies to address it.
Children who have experienced trauma may crave power and control for many reasons. This behavior can catch caregivers off guard, especially if the caregiver does not understand why this happens. There are six main reasons a child in foster care or a child who has been adopted will exhibit a need for power and control.
If a child who has experienced trauma begins to feel pain, pressure, or dysregulation, they may seek something to soothe their system. Sometimes, this coping mechanism takes the form of a toy, snack, or activity. There are many scenarios in which a caregiver may provide a valid reason for why the child cannot have that thing. However, from the child’s perspective, their caregiver is now standing between them and their coping mechanism. Therefore, when the caregiver refuses, the child may go to extreme lengths to get what they want, exhibiting a high need for power and control. It is important for caregivers to recognize that this is a survival mechanism.
Children who have experienced neglect or harm at the hands of an adult may be hesitant to trust any adult. For this reason, it can be challenging for the child to establish trust with a future caregiver, even if that caregiver is safe and loving. Instead, the child will rely on themself and constantly seek power and control.
Some children intentionally seek power and control to upset a caregiver. The child may exercise power and control by refusing to budge on an issue or accept the caregiver’s response. If the child can successfully make their caregiver feel frustrated or upset, they feel like they are in control.
Some children seek power and control when they feel they cannot meet expectations. A common example is homework. If a child fears that they are unable to complete a task to the level that a caregiver expects, they may refuse to try. This may seem like an issue of power and control, but the actual underlying issue is a fear of failure.
There is no more “out of control” feeling than being removed from all you have ever known, even if it was unsafe. Children in foster care move from one culture to another. The new culture is unfamiliar, making it feel out of their control. Even adults will take small steps to feel more in control when things feel overwhelming or chaotic. In the same way, children who have experienced trauma will seek to have power and control.
To address this issue, caregivers need to identify why a child feels the need to be in control. Once a caregiver understands the reason, they can begin to offer solutions.
For example, if a child craves power because the world feels out of control, the caregiver can help the child feel in control through simple, reasonable ways. The caregiver might give the child control over which stuffed animal they sleep with at night. The caregiver may offer a variety of snacks that the child can choose from. They may let the child decide whether they will brush their teeth in five minutes or ten minutes. These small choices provide opportunities for the child to feel more in control.
If a child craves power and control because they do not trust adults, every action a caregiver takes must convey trust. The caregiver must always be honest. If they make a mistake, they should work to repair the relationship.
If a caregiver believes a child is mad at them, they simply must ask. A conversation about why a child wants to get back at their caregiver can help resolve the issue. This provides an opportunity for the caregiver and child to repair their relationship.
Children deserve the opportunity to be children. They should not feel the need to be in control all the time. That is why caregivers should work to help a child let go of their desire for power and control by addressing the root issue.
As caregivers work to help a child let go of their need for power and control, one thing will always work against them: their own desire for power and control. This creates a power struggle. Caregivers should avoid approaching children from a place of power and control. Instead, caregivers should be strong, loving, and in charge, which is a different and more effective approach than trying to control a child, their behavior, or their identity.
When a child exhibits a need for power and control, it may affect their caregiver on a more personal level if they have unresolved hurt from their past. In these situations, the child’s actions trigger the caregiver to seek power and control for themselves. The best solution is for caregivers to work on healing their own hurt or trauma. Then, they are much less likely to engage in the power struggle with a child.
When caregivers know who they are in Christ, they can let go of control with greater ease. However, a caregiver with low self-worth may feel that they need power and control to feel okay. This issue may be connected to unresolved hurt. The solution is for caregivers to shift their perspective and learn about their worth in Christ. This makes them less likely to engage with a high need for power and control.
Traditional parenting strategies will not work for a child who does not have trust. However, caregivers often want to employ the same parenting strategies they observed and experienced while growing up, especially if they think, “My parents did this, and I turned out alright.” While working on building trust with a child, caregivers should also be open-minded about how their parenting strategies are working. If particular strategies do not work, a caregiver should be willing to try new methods.
If both a caregiver and a child have a high need for power and control, there will be constant power struggles within the home. Caregivers can avoid the abuse of power by taking on the heart of a servant with their children. While caregivers should always remain strong, loving, and in charge, they can reduce their craving for power and control by knowing that their worth lies in Christ.
Parenting a child who has experienced any kind of trauma comes with its own unique set of challenges. It is vital for foster and adoptive parents to have a support system that understands those challenges and is equipped to help. For those reasons, knowing how to talk with others about trauma informed care is necessary.
If someone has not yet started their foster care or adoption journey, the best first step they can take is to talk with friends and family about their decision. Support is crucial for foster and adoptive families. Communicating interest in fostering or adopting can give others the time they may need to research or educate themselves.
Talking with others about the journey also helps a potential caregiver see who may be most likely to give support. During these conversations, prospective foster or adoptive parents can see who has fears or hesitations and who will be all-in. In this preparatory stage, a prospective foster/adoptive parent can gauge where they will likely find the most support in the future.
Prospective parents should also talk with any children in the home about the decision to foster or adopt.
If a caregiver has already begun their foster or adoption journey, they need to be proactive about talking with others about their needs. One of the best ways to receive support as a current foster or adoptive parent is to ask for what you need. Whether it’s respite care, clothing, diapers, a night out, gift cards, or just time to sit and talk with someone, caregivers should feel empowered to use their words and ask for what they need.
In a two-parent household, it is also essential for caregivers to communicate with each other. While extended family and friends are a great source of support, a spouse may be the most readily available person to help. Caregivers should communicate when they need a break or if they need specific help from the other caregiver in the home. This can help avoid feelings of burnout.
Trauma informed caregivers often receive pushback from others who believe they should implement traditional parenting techniques. Most foster and adoptive parents know that conventional parenting strategies will not work for the children in their home. It can be frustrating to receive this feedback from someone who does not understand trauma. And while it would be great to educate everyone and convince them to change their minds, this will not always happen.
Instead, the best response a trauma informed parent can give when someone offers parenting advice that will not work is to say, “If only that would work!” Then, the foster or adoptive parent can ask a question to encourage dialogue: “I’ve been learning a lot about trauma informed care. Would you be interested in knowing more about that?” This may lead to an opportunity for a trauma informed caregiver to educate the other person on the unique challenges of caring for children who have experienced harm or loss.
Most foster or adoptive families will talk with children already in the home about the decision to welcome a new child. This is precisely what they should do. Furthermore, caregivers should continue to monitor the well-being of the whole family system once a new child arrives. They will be investing extra energy into caring for the new child, and children already in the home will notice.
Caregivers must be intentional about continuing to meet the needs of children already in the home. Children already in the home should feel empowered to share frustrations or voice their feelings without a caregiver becoming defensive. It is also vital that the caregivers connect with every child in the home each day. It can be as simple as making eye contact with a child and telling them they are loved. This helps the child feel valued and seen despite any disruptions or challenges that may be happening in the home.
Additionally, caregivers should be mindful of how much they ask of children already in the home. Welcoming a new child into the family is life-changing, but children already in the home should be able to continue living somewhat how they used to. Caregivers should monitor how much they ask children already in the home to help. If children are expected to do too much to help care for the new child, it may lead to resentment.
Communicating with teachers and school administration is necessary to help ensure a child’s educational needs are met. Caregivers should pursue a formal process if a child has special behavioral or learning needs. This may include developing an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Another way to help a child succeed in school is to communicate with their teacher proactively. Caregivers can support teachers by writing down what behaviors typically occur at home and what solutions work best. It may be helpful for a caregiver to include specific ideas for how to help the child succeed. For example, a caregiver might tell a teacher that the child will learn best if they are sitting in the front of the classroom. This may be helpful for Sunday school teachers, as well. Sharing strategies for success will equip a teacher to best educate the child in their classroom.
Each foster care and adoption journey comes with its own challenges. But caregivers do not have to do it alone. The list of articles, videos, and additional resources below are designed to help foster and adoptive families successfully care for children from hard places.
Learn more about trauma and trauma informed care by reading these articles:
Read the stories of real foster and adoptive families:
Looking for more to read? Click here for more foster care and adoption articles.
Find information and encouragement in the following videos:
Looking for more to watch? Click here for more foster care and adoption videos.
Referrals to websites not produced by Focus on the Family are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily constitute an endorsement of their content (including what you might find through their links).
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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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Men, Real Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.
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.
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!
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,
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.
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.
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 Sex, Choosing 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Reality, Tactics, 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.
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.
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.
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 Sex, Choosing 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 Book, Have a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.
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.
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
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.
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.