I remember just getting, like, really panicky, like, no, I have to figure this out right now because my son's going to come home from school in like two hours and I have to know what to say. When Holly's son was considering suicide, she called a focus on the family counselor. All those years I'd been listening to focus, I was thinking about how they were like that practical guide for me. That was sound advice I could get from them. I didn't really know where else to turn.
I'm Jim Daly. Working together, we can rescue hurting parents like Holly and give families hope. We need the truth that Focus on the Family brings into our minds and into our homes. We need that if we're going to raise up the next generation of believers to walk in obedience and to walk in the truth that God loves us.
Donate today at FocusOnTheFamily.com slash hope and your gift will be doubled. The glue for brokenness in all relationships is forgiveness. What is the reason the three of us are going to go to heaven? It's forgiveness for our sins, our faith in Jesus Christ. And likewise, forgiveness can heal the brokenness between husbands and wives, between parents and children.
The central aspect of our Christian faith is the good news of forgiveness. That's Dr. Randy Schrader and he joins us again today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller. Hi, John.
I'm so excited to have Randy back with us. The listeners, the viewers love the things that he talks about. And we got a great book that we're continuing to talk about. We have had previous broadcasts.
One thing, if you didn't hear those programs or any other Focus program, download the app for Focus on the Family and you can listen at your leisure, which is always good. But his book, Simple Habits for Effective Parenting, probably the most kind of straightforward basic things you can apply in your parenting. And that's one of the things I'm so concerned about, John, that we tend to overcomplicate it like it's some kind of calculus formula. And parenting is not that. And but again, Randy brings such wisdom with all his hours of experience as a counselor and talking to parents that have made mistakes and then getting them on a better track and getting really the child that they so desire.
A child that has deep character, follows God and treats people with loving kindness. That's what we want. Yeah.
Yeah. And Dr. Randy Schrader is passionate about equipping parents. He's a marriage and family counselor, a pastor and a former seminary professor of pastoral counseling. He's a father and a grandfather. And his experiences and insights, as you said, Jim, are wrapped up in a great book called Simple Habits for Effective Parenting. And the subtitle is Specific Skills and Tools that Achieve Extraordinary Results in Raising a Child. Contact the ministry today for your copy.
Our number is 800, the letter A in the word family, and the link is in the show notes. Randy, welcome. Well, it's great to be back a second day to help parents have specific practical wisdom that will make a huge positive difference in leading and guiding their child to be confident, responsible decision makers.
It's so good. And again, it's so straightforward. And oftentimes, we as parents, we just need that reminder of doing things that I think many parents, especially Christian parents, are kind of aware of in their heart. We just don't always apply them. Have you found that in your counseling?
Yes, sir. That can be. And it's not a matter of just motivation, desire. It's a matter of having that knowledge of what to say, how to say it, what to do, how to do it, and what not to do.
And so, yeah, Christian parents want to do what's best for their kids, and they just need that knowledge. Now, we do put some barricades, and we talked about those barricades last time. And if people miss that, like we said, get the download or get ahold of us.
We'll make sure you can get a link or get the smartphone app, et cetera. Let's move on. When it comes to discipline, that big question of discipline, applying rules and setting boundaries, kind of what standard discipline is. Parents tend to go into lecture mode. You touched on that last time.
It made me very uncomfortable, Randy. I don't know why we just do it. We just go into that lecture mode, and the kids hear wah, wah, wah, wah. So, A, I guess, why do we as parents do it? We think it's effective when the kids are tuning out. What's a more effective way to get the point across? Well, and parents do it because they love their sons and daughters dearly, and they want the best for their kids, and they truly believe all I need to do is give the very best lecture or discuss things to the nth degree. And then my child is going to absorb all that information, and they are just going to become capable, confident Christian individuals. And they'll absorb it with a smile on their face.
Well, they can. Because it's a great lecture. Yes, sir.
Yes, sir. But what often happens, what happened for the three of us when we received a lecture is after the first five seconds, I always suggest kids turn the volume off. Parents need to be brief and be silent. Use the skills we talked about in another parenting interview of will you please, either or, you decide, when you, then you, you know, grandma's law. But they just need to cut down on the words. Too much talking will cause parent deftness and actually not benefit their children. When you have a mom and dad in front of you in your counseling sessions, and they have, this is their core problem, do you give them a way to have a trigger so that they can catch themselves? I mean, how do you move from the lecture mode, which comes so naturally to us, to hearing it and go, whoa, whoa, I got to back up and ask the right question?
Yes, sir. And we talked about that yesterday. It's all about, often, asking how and what questions. But it's also thinking if they're going, when a parent is going to suggest advice, if they want to give advice, keep it in a paragraph. I kind of jokingly say, since I'm a pastor, don't be a pastor and speak in pages. No pages, paragraph.
One paragraph, you know, and then, and then ask a child a how and what question so that they can internalize that information. But yeah, parents need to be brief, be silent, and not go on and on. That's so good.
That's actually a good rule for all of life, but that's another issue. It is, it is. Let me speak to the try not to say no more than you say yes.
I love this quality. A good friend of mine encouraged me when my kids were really young to try to say yes more than no. And I think it was a really good attribute of my parenting style.
But speak to that idea. Why is it damaging to have no as the dominant response? Usually, if no is the dominant response, it goes back to a parent having that extreme style of being controlling. They think these rules are rigid.
They're not flexible. And parents need to have flexible rules. And it's, you know, we think of a mother bird kind of opening their wings and letting the little chick fly away. That's what parents are trying to do. So whenever possible, parents need to say yes to their children's request and identify is this a minor request or a major request. Because the goal of parenting is to help a child manage their own life from 18 to 100 as a godly adult. That's our goal as parents. And so parents, if a child has a curfew of 1130 and they've been very responsible getting home on time and they have something going on and they say, Mom and Dad, can I stay out till midnight tonight?
If they have a scheduled activity for the reason they want to stay out till midnight, Mom and Dad can say yes. Now, on the other hand, when Mom and Dad do need to say no when their child makes a request, what so often doesn't happen is parents do not say it nicely. You know, I told you no. They need to say no in a friendly way that comes across to their child that I really have your best interest at heart. I wish I could say yes, but I just need to say no because I have your best interest at heart. And right now, I just don't think that's a healthy activity for you to do.
Let me follow up there. So often parents can make everything a mountain, not a molehill. So everything's a mountain. And what you're saying is really critical. What are the core principles? It can't be everything is a core principle.
And if you have the habit of making every molehill into a mountain and something I've got to respond to forcefully, A, how do you reassess your criteria and then apply it? Well, and rules are there like lines on a road to guide a child. And so parents need to think that they're guiding.
They don't have concrete barriers on the road as we drive down the road. And parents, if they can be just a little flexible and ask, is this going to provide growth for my child toward adulthood? Because by the time a child's a senior in high school, they may need to be making all their own decisions under parental guidance. Because after high school, a youngster could get an apartment, could get a job, could go to college. And who's going to be making the decisions?
It's going to be them. And so parents need to think, Jim, how can we guide in that direction and saying yes to a child's request whenever possible can make that big difference. Another concept you have in the book, which is so funny, the story of Ms. Talker and the power of optimism and positive labels. And John, you know the story.
I mentioned a couple times on there. But I remember my mom's best friend at the time, I think I was five years old, and I could talk. And it's so funny I've ended up doing what I'm doing.
But she turned to me and she said, you have diarrhea of the mouth. And I remember for like three hours I tried to say nothing because I didn't want to over talk. You want to go against that negative label.
Yeah. When I read that, I was so connected with that. I mean, it was powerfully negative to me for a short period of time.
But I still remember it to this day, the impact it made on me. Like, be quiet. You talk too much. Well, and parents need to recognize, helpful or harmful, kids will live up to whatever labels a parent gives them or other people give them. And so labels are powerful. Words can make us healthy.
Words can make us unhealthy. And so when a parent says to a child, I appreciate your hard work. I appreciate your determination. I appreciate your terrific character. I appreciate your respect.
Those labels, a child will fulfill that reputation. And can I tell the story about Ms. Talker? Yeah, Ms. Talker.
Good to hear. I had a mom. Dad did not come to the first session. But mom brought her daughter and sat down with her daughter on the sofa. And the daughter did not say anything to me. I said hi to the daughter and tried to get her to answer a question she didn't. But mom sat on the sofa and immediately before almost I could say anything, mom said, Dr. Schroeder, our daughter is extremely shy.
She doesn't talk. And so I got with mom in private and I went over a number of these simple yet very effective words and actions that make a difference. And then I asked mom, I said, mom, whenever your daughter talks at home and will you please, will you please ask your husband also to tell your daughter, I appreciate your good talking. And I asked the little girl, she's sitting on the sofa with mom, before I met with mom privately, I said, ask her a few questions and she did answer them. And I said, you are a really good talker.
I appreciate how good you talk. May I call you Ms. Talker? When I look at you, I see Ms. Talker on your forehead.
And she smiled and said, yes, Dr. Schroeder. Well, every time I saw her, I never called her a name. When I would say mom and her and daughter were in the lobby, I'd say, mom and Ms. Talker, come on back to my office. And whenever I talked to her in the office, I just called her continually, Ms. Talker, Ms. Talker, Ms. Talker, Ms. Talker. And when she talked, well, I would tell her, I appreciate how good a talker you are.
Well, six months later, John and Jim, what did that little girl become? She was a talker. She learned to be a good talker. But that positive label that mom, dad, and the teacher gave her and grandparents made a huge difference. And so parents can never underestimate the power of words. Parents can never underestimate the power of labels. Randy, so often we hear this, and I want your response to it because you speak to it in the book. If you want your children to grow up healthy and have the character, the kind of loving, kind spirit that you hope that they have, then show them a good marriage. Do you believe in that?
And is it that simple? Well, it is so essential that, again, when people, mom and dad are married, that they be good role models with that marriage. And let kids absorb what a healthy relationship looks like. Now, that being said, we know the divorce rate's about 50%.
And sadly, I would say couples that are married, they're married out of commitment, which is good, but only about 75% of couples have successful, satisfying marriages. And yet, that is so important for raising a child. Because when a marriage is not healthy, then kids often get involved with playing one parent against the other. When a marriage is strong, now the loyalty conflict is not there. And mom and dad can work together for the benefit of their child. And that's why in my Simple Habits for Marital Happiness book, I look at all seven areas of making a marriage strong and successful. Only marriage book out there that looks at all seven areas of a marriage, from apologizing, forgiving, to how you have respectful discussions, and I could go on.
But yeah, you're right. Marriage is essential for parenting a child to help a child be healthy. And you mentioned that divorce rate, and it's a hard number to nail down, but the church is perhaps a little less than that, but not much. And in that context, especially for the Christian single parent, how do they express those things to their kids in an environment where they don't have a spouse for whatever reason? Maybe that person died or they did divorce. Well, and you're right, that can make it very difficult.
And often what I do when I see a divorce situation in counseling, I'll have mom and dad buy a Simple Habits for Effective Parenting book, and then I go through that so that mom and dad, even though they may not be married, are on the same page and using the same verbiage to influence their child's heart to be a confident, godly, responsible decision maker. Yeah, that is so, so important. You speak to the issue of having a servant's attitude.
That's wonderful. You expressly talk about how Jesus had that servant attitude. Describe that and why it's important and how we can help teach our kids to have a servant attitude.
Yes, sir. I'm glad you brought that up because, yeah, what does it say? Jesus came not to be served. What does the Bible say? Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. And likewise, it's so important for the three of us and every Christian to have a servant heart and want to serve and help others. And that can happen often with a parent's help. It's a child kind of working with a parent, whether it's, you know, if a neighbor's sick, helping take a meal over to the house, okay, making donations to a charity, making treats for the firefighters at the firehouse, writing a thank you note to police officers that are helping. Kids developing that servant heart gives them that compassion and humility that Jesus had in that servant-like spirit and I think another way to develop that servant heart is through prayer.
Whenever we know of a situation like the Ukraine war that's going on, you know, to pray for their safety and to pray that that conflict will end is very important in developing a servant heart, a compassionate heart, a humble heart, and a child. Randy, as we continue through the book, I'd love for you to react to something I heard a mom say one time and that was, a messy room is a sign of poor character. So we all know that we have to have some level of cleanliness and orderliness in our homes. So how do we help our kids do that and is it really a reflection of their character?
Well, I cringed on the inside when you made that comment by that mom because we don't want to give negative labels. That could be a little perfectionist. Yeah, a little perfectionist and negative label. But yeah, again, successful people in life have good time management skills and they are organized.
And I have no doubt, even though I don't know you personally, Jim and John, that you guys are great time managers and you're organized. And I think that likewise is what parents want to help their children with. So in time management, it could be bedtime routine. You know, helping a child establish what happens at bedtime. Packing the bag, which is also organization. But brushing teeth, have a good morning routine, have a homework routine. But when can they play after school?
When do they do homework? But so important. And again, we don't want to be perfectionistic. But it's a flexible time management. And the one thing I find interesting, when I have counseled numerous, thousands of adults that have anxiety and depression, often they are poor time managers and they are disorganized and they have a lot of clutter. And they have cluttered cars and cluttered homes. And one of the first, people need to do their way out of anxiety and depression.
One of the first things I suggest is to make sure that their home and car are decluttered. And that's also good role modeling. Again, example's not the best teacher, it's the only teacher. Good role modeling for the kids. And kids need to, maybe at night before they go to bed, organize their bedroom just a little. Not perfectly, but just get it organized.
Organize your papers for school. And that carries over into life to help a child feel confident and self-disciplined. That's a really good point. Just do something in the positive direction. It doesn't have to be perfect. Yes sir, yes sir.
And look for that. Let me talk about that idea of learning how to apologize, but also learning how to appreciate if we can put those together. I just remember with Trent, our oldest, and I'm not saying anything he hasn't approved, but he was really our strong-willed child. And there was one day, as a teenager, I remember it was so stark. He got up from the dinner table and he was going somewhere. And ten minutes later, we get a text from him to Gene saying, Mom, I just want to thank you for the great meal you cooked and always having a great meal for dinner.
I just so appreciate it. And we both looked at each other and said, who was that? It was terrific. It really was an amazing turning point.
It was, I mean, we could measure it. I didn't write the date down, but there was a certain day that we saw him mature. And it was so refreshing, and he's carried it forward and built upon it.
And I don't think he leaves the house now to head to his house that he doesn't send Gene a note saying, Thank you for what you've done tonight. And it's just so awesome. That is terrific. And it goes back to just kind of having a servant heart.
When we have gratitude for others and express appreciation to others, that makes a huge difference actually in our lives. Yeah, but also, don't give up. I want to encourage those parents with the 13-year-old, the 14-year-old, where you're saying it all the time.
And it seems to not be registering. I think our experience is not unique. I think you're going to find at a little later stage, all of that is going to pay back. And all of a sudden, that mature brain will click on. Well, and you're exactly right, Jim. And we want to give parents hope and encouragement that, yeah, if the youngster's struggling right now as a teenager, they can turn it around.
I saw a troubled teenager years and years ago that was, I was scared he was going to end up in federal prison. But I gave Mom all the ideas, the knowledge, specific practical wisdom in my book. And Mom and Dad started applying it. And a few years ago, and her son must be in his mid-30s now, she sent me a note and said, You told me to not give up and just use these ideas and they'll make a difference influencing my son's heart. And she said, My son now is a doctor, and not only a doctor, he's a surgeon.
Okay, Randy, let's, hey, get the book. That's the best pitch you could make. Well, and I've gotten many notes like that, you know, that it doesn't happen always 18 and under, but it happens later on that that influence on the heart made a huge difference. It's so important. Well, and apologizing and forgiving is essential. The glue for brokenness in all relationships is forgiveness.
What is the reason the three of us are going to go to heaven? It's forgiveness for our sins, our faith in Jesus Christ. And likewise, forgiveness can heal the brokenness between husbands and wives, between parents and children. The central aspect of our Christian faith is the good news of forgiveness. And so often, sadly, I'd say 98% of marriages, husbands and wives, 98% of parents do not know how to apologize and forgive. And I can touch on that briefly. In fact, my PhD doctoral dissertation was on the benefits of apologizing and forgiving, and I wrote 350 pages.
Wow. Now, I touch on that in the parenting book with about three or four pages. In my marriage book, it's about 20, but I condensed that down to the Reader's Digest version. And one of the things I discovered is that in my reading, my research, is that children as adults are more emotionally healthy when they had moms and dads, and it didn't happen very often, but when they had moms and dads who said, I'm sorry, I made a mistake, will you please forgive me? And the youngster could say, Mom, Dad, I forgive you.
Because they learn they don't have to be perfect. My mom and dad make mistakes, and I'm going to make mistakes, and I'm forgiven. So there's kind of three parts to the apologizing and forgiving process that can make a difference. The first is to say, I'm sorry, I hurt you, bye. And then, whatever words or behaviors.
And then the second part's the most important. That takes humility. To not just say, I'm sorry, but to ask, will you please forgive me, Mom and Dad? Or, child, will you please forgive me as a parent for making a mistake? And then the third part is not to say, that's okay, I'm over it, no problem, but to actually say, I forgive you.
Just truly unbelievable. And parents need to do that. If they have more than one child, your listeners, they need to do that with sibling relationships. You know, for 25 years, as you mentioned, I was a seminary professor of pastoral counseling. I taught premarital counseling, marriage counseling, family counseling, and a lot of our future pastors were in their 30s and 40s when they came back to prepare for the pastoral ministry, and so they had children. And so, of course, I went over this so they could counsel their parishioners one day, and they would go home and apply these ideas to their marriage and say, oh my goodness, this made a huge positive difference in our marriage. And they'd come back and say, Dr. Schroeder, I can't believe how the sibling relationships are improving.
Because what most parents do, they'll have, if one sibling hurts another, they'll have them just do the first part, and then it's flipping. Say you're sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Yeah, say you're sorry. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry. But when the child has to ask the other sibling, will you please forgive me, and then the other sibling says, I forgive you, I tell you, hundreds of seminarians said, I can't believe how that's helped relationships in our family and in my marriage. Randy, this has been so good, and there's so much more to cover, and I know we can't cover it all, but I think what you said a moment ago is so amazing, and I'm sure as a counselor you could not have said to that mom, I think your kid's headed to prison here. You kept that quiet to your heart.
Yes, that would have been a negative label. Yeah, encouraged her to apply the principles, and now he's a surgeon. I mean, for those parents that are panicking, I can't think of a better resource, and these applications are actually quite simple, Randy, and I appreciate that. It takes work as an author to hone these things down to something that people can apply. It's easy to give them complex ideas and thoughts, but to get it down to some simplicity, the three these and the three that's, really is a discipline that you've brought to this book. So thank you for that.
Thank you for being with us. Well, I appreciate your kind words, and to God alone be the glory, and I just pray that these ideas will help thousands and thousands of parents to help their kids grow up to be godly, responsible adults, and be with the three of us one day for eternal life in heaven with our loving God. Amen, and as I said last time, we have a great online tool, the Seven Traits of Effective Parenting Assessment. It's free and takes just a few minutes to complete.
It'll show you some areas that you're doing well in, and then some areas you may need to strengthen. We also have lots of other resources to help you. In fact, Dr. Randy's book, Simple Habits for Effective Parenting, is a great place to start, and you can get that directly through Focus on the Family, and when you do, the proceeds go right back into ministry, giving families hope each and every day.
Yeah, we'd love to hear from you. So many people reach out needing answers to some of life's toughest questions, and we count it a privilege to be able to be here to help. Well, you know, we've been through a few tough years culturally, and we want to continue to lead that charge for the family, but we need your help, especially here as we're heading toward the holidays and the end of the year. God can use your support to provide scripture-based resources and programs to save and strengthen families. And when you give a gift of any amount today, we'll send you a copy of Dr. Randy's book as our way of saying thank you for doing ministry through Focus on the Family. Your support is critical so that we can finish the year strong and plan to reach even more families in the coming year, and I'm eager to see how God will work through you and through Focus on the Family in 2023.
Yeah, so donate and get your copy of the book, Simple Habits for Effective Parenting, when you call 800, the letter A, and the word family, 800-232-6459, or you can go online where you can access that 7 Traits of Effective Parenting assessment as well, and all the details are in the show notes. Well, plan to be with us next time. We'll hear from Greg Steer, who grew up in a violent, dysfunctional family, wondering, where is God? You know, my whole family, even my grandparents, were really tough, and so I'm raised in this thinking, why is there so much violence? Why is there so much blood, and why do I not fit in? On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. Thank you.
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