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The 4 Habits of Raising Joy-Filled Kids

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
September 11, 2021 1:45 am

The 4 Habits of Raising Joy-Filled Kids

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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September 11, 2021 1:45 am

Kids these days are dealing with stress and anxiety that comes at them daily. If you’ve ever wondered how you as a parent can restore their joy, don’t miss this edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. Dr, Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey (CORE see) reveal research that will help your family. Learn the four habits of raising joy-filled kids today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.          

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How do you raise children to live joyful lives? Just taking the time to really connect with our children.

Give them your attention and just watch what happens. We just think that everybody would be better off with more joy. We think that if we can get this started at our family level, it could change a lot of things. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today, is joy building the secret to raising mature, healthy children? Marcus Warner and Chris Corsey want to have a word with every parent. They've written a practical and encouraging resource titled The Four Habits of Raising Joy-Filled Kids, a simple model for developing your child's maturity at every level.

You can find out more about it at But Gary, before we get started with the topic on this parenting resource that is different than anything I think we've ever featured, I want to start with the date on the calendar today, September 11th. It's the 20th anniversary of 9-11. What's going through your heart today about this difficult event in history?

Well, Chris, first of all, I remember as many, many people do where I was on that day. I work on a church staff, and our staff was at retreat. We had just started the retreat. It was the first morning of the retreat. Whenever we saw what we saw and heard on television, our pastor said, guys, I think we need to go home, and we need to call a prayer meeting at our church tonight.

So that's what we did. We drove home and just gave up our retreat planning session and called a prayer meeting that night. We had over 800 people who came out for prayer meeting that night praying for our country.

The other thing I remember is that the leaders in Washington stood on the steps and prayed and sang God Bless America. And here's the other thing I think, Chris, you know, today we still have as much turmoil or maybe more than we had even back then 20 years ago. I hope that God's people, especially today, will reach out in prayer that God will bring healing to our nation. And I would certainly encourage our leaders in Washington to do the same because we are very divided in our country. And rather than finding unity, we're fighting each other.

And that's never the way to build a nation. So that's my thoughts. Those are my prayers for today. You know, I think of the children who lost parents on that day, and now they are 20 years older and looking back.

And so there's a lot of pain, a lot of hurt. And as parents, we really want to give our kids, you know, healing in the middle of the turmoil and the stress. I remember our children coming home from school saying, Dad, we don't know what happened. The school, different schools decided not to let the kids know, you know, about the specifics and whether that was a good idea or a bad idea.

It was just what happened. And so they were getting the information and trying to process all of it. And so as we deal with this topic today and think about that issue of maturity, that's what we want for our kids. Let me introduce our guests. Dr. Marcus Warner is president of Deeper Walk International, a former pastor, college professor. He's written on everything from how to study the Bible to dealing with spiritual warfare to emotional healing. His heart is to equip people with practical tools for dealing with the root issues that keep them stuck. His co-author on the resource we're featuring today, Reverend Chris Corsi, president of Thrive Today, a nonprofit ministry focusing on training leaders and communities in skills that make relationships work. Chris is an ordained minister, pastoral counselor and author.

You can find out more about them and the book, our resource today, The 4 Habits of Raising Joy-Filled Kids at Well, Dr. Warner and Chris, welcome back to Building Relationships. Yeah, it's a delight to be with you again.

Yes, thank you. We're glad to be here. Well, Dr. Warner, I recall having a conversation with you about another book that dealt with joy-filled marriages. And there's a correlation between the two, right? Joy-filled marriages, joy-filled children. Yeah, absolutely.

It's hard to raise joy-filled children if you don't have a joy-filled marriage. So those two things are definitely related. And almost as soon as we wrote that last book, people started asking us for a parenting follow-up.

And so we're delighted to be able to do that. Yeah. In that book, you talked about how 15 minutes a day can make a huge difference in a marriage. Is it the same in raising children?

Or does it take longer than 15 minutes a day? Well, parenting is definitely a full-time job. But it is funny what 15 minutes, knowing that you're going to have at least 15 minutes of joy with your kid every day, does make a difference too.

So I don't want to minimize that, but absolutely full-time job. Marcus and I just really hope that, you know what, we want parents to have the lens that a little bit of joy goes a long way. And so just being able to weave a thread of joy through the interactions and the conversations with our kids will go a long way.

Yeah. Well, Chris, let's define what you mean by joy. Is it different from simply raising happy children? You know, joy means, as far as your brain's concerned, we're glad to be together. So joy is relational in nature when someone's face lights up to see us. We hear it in their voice tone.

We see it in their body language. Happiness is more circumstantial. So while we certainly want our children to have happiness, what's important is relational joy is what gets us through the good times as well as the bad times. So I like how Marcus says it, that joy is relational happiness. And that means we're glad to be together. And, you know what, when big emotions arise, we learn how to get back to joy from our upsets.

Yeah. Earlier, Chris mentioned that this resource is different than other parenting books. What sets this apart from all other resources out there?

Marcus, what would you say? Well, it's got a unique model to it. And that is that it brings the latest neuroscience and attachment theory to bear and then creates a simple model for people. And so we've had a lot of initial feedback from readers saying, I've never read a book like this before. This is really going to be a breakthrough for parenting. So we've been encouraged by that initial reaction.

Yeah. And Marcus and I really wanted to give parents some very practical tools, the language, and even a lens, because you know what, let's face it, parenting has its challenges day in and day out. And we really hope that this book would not only provide a language of, you know, what does it look like to even build joy at the different life stages, but there's also activities, what we call habit builders in the book. So parents can actually put the material into practice as they're reading it.

And I think parents are looking for that, you know. So what are the problems that you see that you're addressing in this book, Four Habits of Raising a Joy-filled Children? Well, I would say in a nutshell that our country is having a maturity crisis, right? In your opening comments on reflecting on 9-11, you know, one of the things we see is that we have a very divided country in which people are not able to remain relational and act like themselves and handle problems like adults.

And so in another book, I call that sandbox leadership, when you're not able to play well together. And the idea here is that the family was designed by God to create joy, joyful community. As you know, when God first created the world, He wanted a family for Himself. And it wasn't just so He'd have people to tell Him how wonderful He was. He wanted to share joy with those people. And that's why He said, I've come so that your joy may be complete and that my joy may be complete. That the fundamental purpose of a family is to experience joy together. And we're thinking, what a revolution it would create in our culture if our families began to see themselves and catch the vision that our core function here is to make joy the foundation of what we do as a family. And we now know that from brain science, that the human brain runs best on the fuel of joy. And so Marcus and I wanted to kind of cast this vision for parents to see that, look, God designed the brain to run on joy.

And if we don't build joy in our families and our communities, what happens is we're highly motivated for what we would call pseudo joys, which are those artificial replacements. And so when you've got the fuel of joy present, the good news is the byproduct of joy will be maturity. And so we really wanted to provide a lens for parents to just have some essentials to develop maturity in their kiddos. Well, I'm excited about jumping into this topic. And I think that those who are listeners, especially those who are parents, are going to stay tuned for the rest of this program.

Looking forward to it. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Our featured resource is The Four Habits of Raising Joy-Filled Kids, a simple model for developing your child's maturity at every level. Find out more about it at our website, The president of Deeper Walk International, Dr. Marcus Warner, is with us as well as the president of Thrive Today, Chris Corsi.

Again, you can find out more about them and our featured resource at Well, Marcus and Chris, a lot of couples begin their parenting journey thinking it's going to be easy. I remember I had that idea. When it gets difficult, they often feel that they're doing something wrong. You know, what did we do wrong? What are we doing wrong? Marcus, why is parenting so hard?

That's a great question. And I think there's a lot of reasons for it. And one of them is that a lot of us didn't have really good models growing up.

And so because of that, we lack skills. I know when I started parenting, I felt a little bit like a pilot who was put behind a cockpit with all these dials. And I'm like, I don't know how to fly this thing. I don't know if I should really be parenting. And because I didn't feel equipped, I didn't feel like I had all the skills that I needed to do this.

And it was a little bit overwhelming. And so I find people tend to react to that by either over parenting or under parenting. They avoid it or they dive in and they micromanage everything. And so that kind of model is one of the issues. I think another one too, is a lot of us bring a lot of brokenness into the parenting process that we are not yet healed from ourselves. And it leaks into our parenting in ways that we're not quite sure what to do with. And so there's a lot of things that go into just our lack of preparation, if you will, that makes this harder than we think it's going to be. So, Chris, were you prepared to be a parent?

You know what? I felt like I had one foot in the water and one foot on the beach when I became a father. There was so much joy and excitement to look at my newborn son. And I can remember taking him home that day from the hospital.

And the realization hit me pretty quickly. Like, wow, I'm responsible for another human being here. And there was some stress over that. But yet, I thankfully had other people in my life that had traveled that way before. So being able to have support, have people who've been there and done that before, really went a long way.

Yeah. I think all of us are appreciative as we look back for those individuals who are there to offer advice when we ask for it. And typically gave us really good advice. So, Chris, what are some common fears that parents will have to overcome because we hadn't faced this before and now we've got this child?

That's exactly right. And I think every loving parent is afraid that they're going to fail and they're afraid they're going to somehow mess up their children. And along the way, we start to fear basically being out of control where maybe our child's crying or child's need is present and we don't quite know what to do. And so there's that tension of trying to meet our child's needs while we don't fully even know what we're doing because this is a new pathway for us. And I think there's a fear that somehow we're going to be blamed for our child's mistakes. And at the end of the day, we want to do a great job. We love our children. But the fear is this is so important to me.

I'm afraid I'm going to somehow mess this up. And that's what can cause us to over-parent or to under-parent. And so, you know, really it's learning to find that sweet spot in our parenting so that we build joy with our children and we learn satisfaction as they age. Yeah, I think that idea of self-blaming follows on as the child grows up because in my counseling office, when let's say a teenage child or even a young adult child has made really, really poor decisions that are detrimental to their lives and the parents sit in my office and say, what did we do wrong?

You know, it's taking the blame upon themselves for that. And no question about it, parents do influence the children in a very positive way or a negative way. So Marcus, let's jump into this joy-filled idea here. What does it mean to raise joy-filled mature children? And what's the connection between joy and maturity?

Yeah, that's right at the heart of the book. And that is the connection is emotional capacity. And that is mature kids have the capacity to deal with the ups and downs of life and not get overwhelmed by them.

So what we want is for our kids to see life as an adventure. And they're only going to see life as an adventure if they aren't afraid of all the emotions they're going to feel. And so what happens with every emotion that I can't handle, I instinctively begin to avoid things that are going to make me feel that emotion. So if I can't handle shame, I begin to avoid anything that causes me shame. If I can't avoid angry people, then I avoid anything that's going to put me in the presence of angry people. And after a while, my life begins to shrink and I just avoid more and more things in life. And I'm now living a fear-based life instead of a joy-based life. And so as parents, what we want is we don't want our kids to be stuck in a fear-based living.

We want them to have that joy foundation for life that says, you know what? I can handle the tough stuff. I can do hard things.

I can face hard emotions and I can recover. And so what we want to do is try to help parents understand how do you raise those kinds of kids? What are the skills that these kids need to learn? And that's what we're focusing on here. So Chris, you mentioned brain science earlier. How does brain science inform the solutions that you're offering? Yeah, so we now know developmentally that the brain has seasons where you can grow certain skills really well and certain seasons where it's harder to grow a certain skill.

So Marcus and I say, you know what? Joy is a learned skill, a habit that we need throughout our lifespan. And the first year of life, for example, is all about joy. And so when we know that, it helps us understand why the terrible twos happen because that second and third year of life is when children start to learn how to get back to joy from negative emotions. So that's usually when anger becomes rage.

And as parents, we just kind of want to pull our hair out because we don't quite know what to do in those moments when these big emotions happen. And so brain science also tells us that we need rest. So while joy is a high energy emotion, rest is that low energy time to really recharge. And so we know that children need this rhythm of joy and rest. And so what Marcus and I have been able to do in the book is really help to kind of tease out what are some of those skills or those needs that happen at each stage of life. And when you know those seasons, you can really focus on some of those skills that will grow and blossom and really prepare our children for adulthood.

Yeah. If I could jump in here too, I think that the model of brain science that we're operating off of understands that there's a relational circuitry in our brain and that if it is on, you get, I'm more creative, I'm a better problem solver, I'm more intuitive, I'm more connected, I'm more engaged. But then when that relational circuitry gets shut down, I can literally turn into a different parent altogether. It's like sometimes, that's why kids can walk around on eggshells around me because they don't know which parent they're going to get. And Chris actually wrote an excellent book on this called The Joy Switch that's just talking about what happening in our brain when our relational circuitry is on versus when our relational circuitry is off. And so part of what we're doing is trying to help parents know how do I be a whole-brained parent instead of a half-brained parent? And how do I raise whole-brained kids instead of half-brained kids? Those terms I think parents can identify with. I identify Gary as a host or co-host, a half-brained co-host.

I don't know if you all know it, but Chris and Andrea have nine children, so they've had a lot of experience in this area. Yes. Marcus, you say that you have a simple model. What is that model? Kind of give us the overview of that.

Certainly. The model is A, B, C, D. So we just call it, this is the A, B, C, D's of parenting. And you can associate A and B with the right side of your brain and C and D with the left side of your brain.

So A is for attunement. And it's the idea that we need to be reading the body language and facial expressions of our children and meet them in those emotions before we do anything else. Too often as parents, too often as parents, we lead with problems instead of attuning with emotions first. The other problem we do have with this is sometimes we expect our kids to attune to us rather than us attuning to them. And so when that happens, I expect my kid to read me and say, can't you see how upset I am? Can't you see I'm already frazzled?

Leave me alone. And we're putting the burden on them to be able to read us instead of taking that burden on ourselves. So we need to be able to read them well, attune to their needs, meet them in those needs. And before we go to the next step, the B comes right after that. And that is once we meet them in those emotions, we want to help them bounce back from them. So we're going to help them build bounce, which is both about just giving them joyful experiences and joy workouts, and then also helping them learn how to recover back to joy from upsetting emotion. So that's the A and the B.

Then on the left side of the brain, more task oriented is correcting with care and developing disciplines relationally. And this is that sometimes we have to correct our kids, right? It can't all be happy all the time. They do things that are wrong. And we need to let them know that if they stay on that path, it's not going to end well. But we want to correct them always with a positive vision and with a sense of having done the A and the B first.

One of the challenges that comes with that is that, again, we often lead with correction and then try to attune and build bounce afterwards. I just want to point out here, we're not saying that you have to explain why to a kid before you correct them. You want to correct them and maybe end with the why, right?

It's okay to explain why you're doing this, but you don't want to have to prove your case before you correct a child or you're setting yourself up for arguments for the rest of your life. And then the last one, D, is the idea that skills bring freedom. So we want highly skilled kids so that they have the most freedom possible in life. That means we want to be relationally connected to them as they're learning skills like playing the piano and gardening and reading and all the different skills that give them more capacity to enjoy life and to experience things with freedom.

So ABCD is the simple model and it's anchored directly in the right and left side of the brain. Okay, well, I'm still back on A. I'm trying to get the attuned thing, but that makes an awful lot of sense with what you said, Marcus, about fear, that if you are fear-based in your parenting and all the permutations that what that means, you can't be attuned to your child. You can't read, you know, Gary talks about his son bringing him this music and rather than shutting him down, actually asking him, okay, well, what about that song makes, you know, strikes a chord in your heart. Tell me more about that. When you're attuned, you ask things like that. Tell me more about that. But when you're based in fear, you more directly say you shouldn't be listening to that because it has this word in it. And that, you know, melody is no that kind of thing.

What do you say to that, Marcus? Yeah, that's exactly the problem. So the way God designed our brain information flows from the right to the left. And that means that God meant for us to start with attunement, to go to building bounds and then go to the correction and the developing disciplines. There's a time to lead with a problem and it's called a crisis. So the issue here is that if I am constantly leading with the problem, I'm turning everything into a crisis. And that what that does is it just breeds fear. So kids are constantly afraid of the next crisis that, you know, is going to come.

And a crisis is simply defined as something that has overwhelmed mom or dad. And so what we wanted to do instead is say before I jump into that and before I jump into the problems, I want to take the time to read where my child is at, meet them there, whether it's good or bad, and then go from there. So the story you told about Gary is right on the money there because he took the time to connect with his child and what this meant to him and how it made him feel before going in any kind of correction. And that's the way the brain is designed to operate.

That's the flow it's designed to follow. I think there are parents who are listening to us who are hearing these things for the first time because often, just by nature, we operate on the moment. And if the child's done something that's negative, then we jump into that failing to deal with that tuning to where they are emotionally and what's going on in their life. So yeah, I mean, this is going to be helpful.

I want to just go back on this last one you mentioned and that is developing disciplines relationally or skills. It was very interesting and I've shared this before on the program, but I was talking to a group of professional football players and their spouses and we were sitting around the table and one of the guys said, one of the guys said, here's our problem. We've been thinking about this. What are we going to do when we're too old to play football? Because that's all we know how to do. That's all we've ever done. Since we were little kids, we played football and we don't know how to do anything else. You don't have any other skills. And the other guys chimed in around the table and said, yeah, that's right.

We don't. And one of them said, well, I'm teaching my son right now how to mow grass. Well, that's going to be an asset to him, you know. So that is really important, is it not, to teach them skills that are going to help them in their relationships. Well, it's also, I'm going to start Chris, but it's also going to help build a bond, right? You know, it does build a bond. My wife frequently tells my mother, hey, thank you for teaching Chris to do the dishes because as a normal habit after a meal, I go to the sink and I do the dishes.

It's not something I really even think about. It's just part of what we do. So when we learn these, you know, these important habits and skills, we will carry them with us the rest of our lives.

Yeah. I was with my daughter and her husband and our two grandchildren last week on a week of vacation and just was reminded again, our granddaughter, who's now, who's just finished college, she's an excellent cook. I mean, she can cook anything. She can bake anything. And I'm thinking, man, whoever marries this gal is going to get a big deal here. That's going to be an asset.

That's a skill that's going to serve her well wherever she goes. Our program is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. You can find us online at There you can take an easy assessment of your love language and see our featured resource today. It's a book by our guests, Dr. Marcus Warner and Chris Coersey titled The 4 Habits of Raising Joy-Filled Kids, a simple model for developing your child's maturity at every level.

Just go to Chris, I want to ask you a question about what we've talked about thus far. And I see in my own parenting, I used to define being a good parent as being in control and being able to control my kids' behavior. So success or failure was all about, do they act well in this setting? You know, are they out of control or are they in control? And so it was less about them and their behavior and more about me being able to do what I thought they ought to do, you know, corral them, herd them. And that I see as a big problem, even in the church, that we only look at the outward appearance rather than what's going on inside. Talk about that.

Yeah. You know, that's what I really like about this book. A lot of parenting books really focus on behavior modification. How do I, you know, how do we guide our children to do what we really want them to be able to do?

What I like about this book is it really focuses on character formation. So Marcus and I make the point that, look, when you build joy with your children and actually help them to learn some of these important relational skills, for one, they learn how to be the best version of themselves as God created them to be. And so they learn an anchor when the hard stuff in life happens and the storms come. They learn how to roll with that, how to continue to stay relational, even under hardship.

And so, you know, it's understandable. We certainly want our children to behave well and to make us proud. But now we can focus on how do we empower our children to be the best versions of themselves and to learn how to suffer well when things go wrong.

And this is a foundation that they will build a relational house on for the rest of their lives. I'm assuming that some of our listeners are parents of infants and some of elementary age children and high school students and maybe even young adults. So Marcus, what are some of the key differences between parenting at these different stages of the process?

Yeah, there can be some enormous differences. For example, in the infant stage, you don't really discipline your child. You know, the goal there is not so much controlling behavior.

It is really all about building joy and bouncing back from upsetting emotions. Literally, an infant's brain turns into a different personality with every emotion that they feel. And so one of the jobs of a parent is every time that we attune to them in their upsetting emotions and help them bounce back from that, we are training their brain to stay the same person regardless of how they feel.

That's huge just in and of itself because if I don't, I can still be 60 years old and turning into a different person whenever I feel anger or whenever I feel fear because I just never learned how to... My brain just never really mastered that skill of how do I stay myself. So that's big in infancy. Also, another key thing that happens before about age four, infants really can't understand negative commands. So their brain just isn't advanced enough.

And so if you think how many times we tell little kids two and three years old, stop it, don't. Like if we say don't hit your sister, right? What their brain hears is blah, blah, blah, hit your sister. Their brain isn't able to know what you mean by that. So the best that they can do is read you and they're attuning to you and reading your body language and saying, I don't think they actually want me to hit my sister, but it's what they said. So now they're fighting between what they understood your words to be and what they're understanding your body language to be. And so some kids do learn to read their parents really well. And so it feels like, oh yeah, my kids understand negative commands, but they really don't. And if you want to understand just how hard that is for a little kid, stop and think about all the mental gymnastics you have to do to use a positive command instead of a negative one.

Now it's like, instead of don't touch that stove, it's hot. What do you say? You've got to say something like, put your hands down by your side and walk over towards me, right? Give them something positive to do because their brain can process that quickly. And we can go on.

I mean, and we do this in the book. We talk about what are some of the things that have changed between infancy and childhood physically in the brain? What are some of the things that have changed between childhood and the adult years? Because let's face it, at puberty, there's an enormous brain change that Chris can describe. If you want to take the time to go into that, do you want to tell them what happens to the brain at puberty, Chris?

Yeah. Puberty is an exciting time for young adults, but it's also extremely daunting. And as parents, it can be very scary because during puberty, there's so many hormonal changes going on. It makes it really hard for the teenage brain to quiet. And so what you have are teenagers who just don't stop because it's hard to stop. And so another thing that happens is there's a house cleaning process that happens at puberty where the skills or the habits that you don't really use very often, basically the brain just starts to clip those places and says, you know what, I don't use this.

Let's get rid of it because the brain is an energy conservation machine. And the things and the skills and the habits you do use, the brain says, hey, let's put some more bandwidth behind these because I'm using these skills. And so where this plays out is if it's hard for me to return to joy from big feelings before puberty, it's going to be especially hard after puberty. So ideally, we want to plant these seeds early in life so that by the time that house cleaning happens at puberty, my children already have some practice and some ability to use these skills. Now, the good news is even after puberty, we can still learn these skills. We can we can grow new habits. But what happens is it's going to take a little more climbing.

It's going to take a little bit harder work in order to instill those habits. So puberty is a is a very important time on many levels for families. And there are many parents who say to themselves, I don't know what to do during this stage.

So I think this is going to be very, very helpful to them. You know, Marcus, when you were talking about the infant doesn't understand negative terms. I was reminded me I was in the airport this Saturday. And there was a father and mother and the father had this little what looks to me about less than two years old. And little kid was just crying. And I don't know what had happened. And the father said, I said, stop it.

I said, stop it. And little kid just cried louder and louder and louder. Finally, he picked up that little kid and put him up on his chest and his little head laying on his shoulder. And the kid just stopped crying.

Just, you know. Yeah, that's a perfect illustration of the point, right? And that is that we he had his brain, his brain science backwards. And this happens a lot in the terrible twos, especially that if we will attune to our kids and help them bounce back from their emotions, they will correct their emotions.

They will correct their behavior on their own. When we re-flip that around, we create a bigger problem sometimes than it needs to be. Let's talk about another topic and that is technology. How is technology changing parenting today? Marcus, you want to start with that?

Yeah, sure. The technology is changing parents, first of all. And that is that most parents today have grown up as part of the technology generation. So their brains have not, are not as well practiced in relationships and relational skills as some former generations. Because technology is a non-relational experience.

And so it creates a different kind of bond and it's actually a form of avoidance most of the time. And so now we've got parents who've been affected by it. And then we, they tend to use technology to babysit their kids.

And so what will happen is instead of kids growing up with just a ton of, of a relational connection, they grew up with a ton of screen time. Just think about, you know, you've been to third world countries, like, you know, you've been to Central America, places like this, and people in just great poverty with a lot of suffering who are actually very joyful. You're like, how is that possible? Why, why are they so joyful? And the answer is because they don't do anything alone. I mean, they're always, it's me and my people going through all of this. So they have relational joy, even when they're missing the happiness of other things in their life. And they know that if I'm going through a big emotion, I'm not going through that alone.

I'm with people. So technology tends to interfere with that process of forming those relational bonds that our kids need. And if we're constantly pushing them towards technology when they're little to buy us some time in our babysitting, you know, then they just grow up thinking that that's normal. That becomes their default setting now to, okay, when I'm having an upset emotion, I'll just go numb myself with technology. Yeah.

And Marcus is, is right. You know, what's happening is phones, especially rewire our brain and how this shows up with children as well as parents is it's harder to turn off. And so in studies on, on phone use, they found even students who are taking tests with their phones turned off, students are still thinking about their phones, even though their phones turned off, it's put away, even while trying to focus on a test, they still think about their phones. So it really does go a long way to put the phones down and get some of that face to face connection to that will go a long way for building joy. How do parents do that, Chris? Because a lot of parents I think are saying, I don't know how to do this. I mean, they're on screens and, and I gave them, you know, phones when they were little.

And how do you, how do you back up from that? Yeah. You know what, what helps is even to provide a context with children. Why do we want to do this? You know, what we're learning now is joy happens face to face. So we're going to have phone free time every evening as a family.

And here's some of the benefits. Here's some of the things, you know, we still make it fun. We still make it meaningful, but we do have to understand turning the phone off. People actually have withdrawal symptoms if they've, you know, they've bonded with their phones in a sense. So let's, you know, let's affirm, this is a big deal, but let's find other ways to make connection meaningful and engaging and fun. Building the a new habit can be stronger than focusing on breaking the old habit. And so part of what you were doing in weaning them off of the technology is making sure that there are technology free times where they are building relationship. And a lot of times, once people find the satisfaction and joy of relational bonding, they don't crave the technology as much. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Our guests are Dr. Marcus Warner of Deeper Walk International and Chris Corsey of Thrive Today. We're talking about the four habits of raising joy-filled kids, a simple model for developing your child's maturity at every level.

It's our featured resource at Marcus, in our conversation on marriage the last time you were with us, we dealt with pornography. How can parents help their kids deal with the pervasive nature of porn today? Yeah, it is a really powerful force in our culture today. And pornography is unique in that it seeks you out.

And so there's a couple of things to this. One of them is the very process of building emotionally mature kids minimizes the likelihood that they're going to become addicted to porn. At the same time, having conversations with them earlier and earlier in life about helping them think through what's good, what's bad, helping them think through these things. Because what we're finding is that the first exposure to porn is starting to come as early as preschool for some kids. And it's becoming a habit by the time they're 11 years old.

So they aren't even to puberty yet for a lot of these kids before it's become habitual. Because of that, I have to be preemptive in bringing it up and not just casting it as negatively, don't do this, don't do this, don't do this, but giving them a concept of what is the proper role of all of this? Why is it so important to leave it alone? And part of this is that we want you to have a joy-filled life. We want you to raise a joy-filled family.

This isn't going to get you there, right? But yeah, it's a complicated thing. Yeah. Well, let's go back to the whole marriage relationship again. What does a healthy marriage relationship do for a child? So, you know, one of the things I heard Chris's kids say to he and his wife Jen is, why do you and mommy spend so much time smiling at each other?

And I'm like, you know, that's a pretty good question. You know, it's like, if that's happening, you know, you're doing something right. And what happens is that just the environment around the child has an enormous impact on their development. If I am in a house that is characterized by joy, I kind of absorb that, pick that up, my brain reads that, it absorbs that. If I'm in a high anger, high anxiety family, where mom and dad are constantly anxious about something, they're constantly angry about something, even if it's not at me, my brain picks that up and begins to assume that that's what's normal and that's what I should be looking for in life. So instead of looking for what there is to enjoy in life, my brain learns to look for what there is to fear.

That's right. And our marriages provide examples of how relationships can work and in the good times, but also how do we recover from the bad times? I can think of the time my wife Jen and I were having a disagreement and notice my son sitting there kind of listening in. So we paused our conversation and just checked in with our son and said, hey, you know, how are you doing here?

Mommy and daddy are working out this, you know, this problem. And we basically said, you know, you don't have to fix us. We're okay. We still love each other.

We're willing to stay connected while we work this out. So even hardship provides an opportunity to really demonstrate this. This is the kind of people we can be where we hold on to love and we still affirm each other, even while we disagree or we work through problems. And it became a very meaningful, a meaningful demonstration for our son, even more than we intended. It was a great return to joy moment for them. You know, if the child says, why are you and dad always arguing with each other? That would be a wake up call, right?

Yes, that's right. Well, let's get personal. Marcus, how has learning about joy and brain and the brain impacted your own parenting? When did you first start thinking about this and how has it impacted your own life? So I first came across the brain science about 10 years into my marriage when I found the materials of Dr. Jim Wilder. And he had just unpacked a lot of this.

And Chris and I both owe a tremendous debt to him in terms of launching us in this understanding of the brain. And what happened then was I began to realize that I was very fear-based in most of the things that I did. And it showed up in my life in terms of avoidance. And that is, I would avoid anything to do with parenting that I wasn't completely comfortable with. And so I began to realize, you know what, this needs to become a focus.

It needs to become a priority. So my daughter was about 9 or 10 when I kind of had that revelation. My son was a newborn infant. And we were just, began to, and as we became intentional about this idea that joy is important to our marriage and joy is important to our kids, we became intentional about the idea that we want to make sure that we have joyful experiences where we're all together on a regular basis. Like every day, you know, we don't want this day to go by without everybody feeling like they did something that made them feel bonded and joyful together. So we were at a rental car place one time, and I was getting a car to go speak. And my whole family happened to be with me.

And I remember my, my grown daughter was chatting away with my wife, like best friends. And my teenage son at the time jumped on my back and gave me a big bear hug. And we all started laughing.

And the guy behind the counter looked at us with disbelief. And he's like, will you adopt me? He said, it's been a long time since I've seen a happy family, right? And so this is the power of joy.

Yeah. Chris, you want to share from your own experience? Yeah, you know what I'm, I have to say joy, just having the language of joy, something that I wouldn't have had from my own upbringing, I wouldn't have understood what joy even meant. And so thankfully now my wife and I can be proactive at, you know, doing the kinds of things that produce joyful moments, having the language, learning how to get back to joy when things go wrong. I think one of the biggest takeaways is just learning how to stay relational with my children, even when things are difficult, even during big emotions, being able to stay present, still glad to be with my children, even when they're mad at me, maybe for not, you know, letting them have a cookie before dinner or whatever it is. Just having the lens and the language for joy has really changed my life and changed my family. Well, Marcus and Chris, why don't you just take a moment as we close the program and share with our listeners what you hope will happen if they read this book.

Marcus, you go first. Certainly. Well, in a nutshell, we want to start a joy revolution, right? We just think that everybody would be better off with more joy.

Nobody goes to therapy because they just have too much joy in their life. And how much better would our families be if everybody knew that my family is a place of joy? How much would it change our culture? How much would it change our churches? We think that if we can get this started in our family level, it can change a lot of things.

Yes. And, you know, I think my takeaway would be to just encourage parents. You know, parenting is hard, but one of the best gifts that you can give your children would be your attention. As Marcus said, your joy is what happens when you share your attention. So just taking the time to protect time, to really connect with our children, convey our joy, show them and tell them that we're glad to be with them, give them your attention and just watch what happens.

Watch the good things grow when you do that. Well, I want to thank both of you for being with us today. And I know that our listeners have heard this and I know they're trying to digest it.

And I would just really encourage our listeners to get this book and work through it, you know, just a chapter by chapter and discuss it with your husband and wife and make some changes that you realize need to be made. So again, thanks for your investment, not only with us today, but in putting this tool together. Well, it's an honor to be here. Thank you.

Marcus Warner and Chris Corsi with us today. And again, the title of the featured resource, The Four Habits of Raising Joy-Filled Kids, a simple model for developing your child's maturity at every level. You can find out more at

Again, go to And next week, how to make the best decisions when life is hard and doubt is rising. Nicky Koziarz will join us in one week. Our thanks to Janice Todd and Steve Wick for their work today. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry at Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-21 15:13:28 / 2023-08-21 15:32:00 / 19

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