Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 48 – Bulldozers and Helicopters!

One of the most difficult transitions for parents, as our children grow into adolescents and young adults, is releasing some control. If we aren’t careful, our hovering and maneuvering can turn into some not-so-nice parenting practices -the Helicopter Parent and the Bulldozer Parent!

In this episode we talk about some ways to evaluate and avoid these dangerous temptations:

  • Allow for Failure. We have to leave some natural obstacles and difficulties for our children to learn from and should always ask what our child will gain from us not getting involved.
  • Teach them to Advocate for Themselves. It’s often easier to do it ourselves, but we have to guide them on how to initiate and navigate hard conversations.
  • See Difficulties in Life as Opportunities. It’s okay for our children to be a little uncomfortable or stressed. Make a culture of having good evaluations and conversations surrounding the challenges of life.

It will often take more effort for us to guide our adolescents and young adults through difficulties than for us to handle it ourselves…but the benefits can last a lifetime! Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 47 – Go Grow Yourself!

Discipleship can be an elusive concept to discuss. Simply put, discipleship is the process by which we grow closer to Jesus and being who He wants us to be. In this episode we look at why that is so important for us as individuals and parents.

Here are some of the big action areas we discussed for personal discipleship:

  • KNOWING. It’s that daily pursuit of knowing and experiencing who Jesus is better. That includes reading our Bible, prayer, listening to Him, learning to obey His commands, and being still.
  • SERVING. Jesus said people would know we are his followers by our love for one another. As individuals and families we need to be serving in our church and our community.
  • CONNECTING. God points out early on that it is not good for man (or woman) to be alone. We must be pursuing intentional relationships for the purpose of accountability and mutual learning.
  • GIVING. Jesus said where your treasure is, your heart is also. We must be planned givers to the ministries of God’s church. Share that plan with your kids and teach them to do the same.
  • SHARING. If what Jesus did for us on the Cross and at the Resurrection really is the best news ever, we should share that with others. Do that and do it with your family.

We hope this episode helps you take the next steps in your personal growth towards Jesus as well as gives you resources to lead your family to Him. Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 46 – Building Better Brains!

Tapping in to the experience and knowledge that books can provide is invaluable in moving ourselves towards our goals and our God. In this episode we talked about four categories of books you should consider reading:

  1. Spiritual Development. Obviously the place to start and the first book you should read is the Bible. We also should look to books by other Christians for practical examples of how to apply God’s Word. A few honorable mentions are Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life, C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, and David Platt’s Radical.
  2. Parenting Resources. Along with the numerous books we’ve already reviewed and recommended in prior episodes, we would suggest Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham and Visionary Parenting by Rob Rienow.
  3. Cultural Research. Great options to understand teenager’s mindset are Jean Twenge’s iGen, James Emery White’s Meet Generation Z, and David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock’s Faith For Exiles.
  4. Knowledge/Enjoyment. It’s also important to find things that relax, entertain, or develop you.

We ended our episode by talking about how to approach a reading plan:

  • Determine where you want to grow
  • Pick a starting place
  • Set a goal
  • Find someone to join you and hold you accountable.

We hope that you will find a great place to start reading and allow this habit to help you grow! Let’s keep pursuing being Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 45 – Watch Out!

This episode is timely and needed as we face an uncertain world with accelerated issues of anxiety and concern. As parents we need to be aware that our children have feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness that they need to deal with. In today’s episode we cover some common warning signs and discuss how to respond. You can also access further information at fulleryouthinstitute.org/anxiousworld.

With the help of a licensed professional counselor, we identified four common categories of warning signs:

  • What they say. We need to watch for repeated comments about stress, overwhelmedness, busy-ness, anxiety, depression. We should also watch for patterns of upset stomach, headaches, fatigue, insomnia. If there are sudden, dramatic changes in performance or personality. These signs should all trigger us to ask some questions and dig further.
  • Irregular responses. If we see habits of overreaction, fixation, refusal, extreme embarrassment or shyness, indecisiveness, these can be signs of deeper concern.
  • Extreme emotions. Perfectionism, outbursts, impatience, being “on edge” are also signs of potential underlying issues.
  • Unhealthy habits. Addictive or obsessive behaviors, delays in development, unhealthy coping skills.

If we see any of these or combinations of these, we don’t have to immediately panic, but we should take note and try to dig further. Here’s some ideas of how to respond:

  • Assess the level of seriousness and get the appropriate help.
  • Assure them that you will be with them through the process.
  • Ask them deeper questions on what they are feeling and what they need.
  • Support healthy habits.

In conclusion, we urge you as parents to evaluate these signs and have these conversations with your child. We also urge you to seek help if you think there are deeper issues going on. Reach out to a pastor, counselor, or a professional if you think you need further evaluation or advice. If you have serious concerns you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 44 – Unlocking KeyChain Leadership

Turning over keys to someone signifies a transfer of trust and responsibility. And there’s nothing more rewarding and terrifying that we do as parents. Today we discussed some of the practices and challenges of practicing keychain leadership with our children.

Here’s a few take aways:

  • We must invest, equip, involve, and then release.
  • We must be intentional about empowering and entrusting the next generation.
  • We need to evaluate where we are still maintaining too much control.
  • We need to invite our children into the discussion and the process.

Until next time, Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 43 – Will There Be a Test?

As we look at the concept of being self-evaluators and leading our children to do the same, there are several habits and practices we talked about building in to our lives:

  • Regular heart checks. We need to push beyond behavior and help young people evaluate their relational and spiritual development.
  • Evaluate wins and losses. Take the time to sit down and evaluate the ups and downs of life together.
  • State your boundaries and stick to them. Help your children learn to follow the agreed upon structure.
  • Help them craft their future and work backwards. This can include career but should also include relationships, spiritual life, character, emotional health, etc.

Remember to take courage, let them experience life, and then help them evaluate it. Until next time, Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 42 – Strong Mothers, Strong Sons Book Review with Mark’s Wife!

Mark and Shannon are always looking for good resources and researching new ideas as they raise their six children. In this episode Shannon joins Mark for a discussion about Dr. Meg Meeker’s book Strong Mothers, Strong Sons. You can also check out more info about Dr. Meeker on her website – meeker parenting.com.

Here are some of the concepts highlighted in today’s episode:

  1. It’s normal for boys to distance from their moms as they enter adolescence. Don’t take it personally.
  2. Mothers must be willing to accept him back in order to teach courage, acceptance, and forgiveness for the future.
  3. Mothers must look for meaningful tasks and connections with significant males in their son’s life.

We encourage you to check out some of Dr. Meeker’s resources. Until next week, Be Abnormal.

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 41 – What Teens Wished Their Parents Knew!

Too often teenagers don’t share things with their parents. Or parents don’t take time to listen to their teens. Or some combination of these issues. As a result, parents often don’t know the true heart issues of their children and children don’t feel understood by their parents. Today, we want to help bridge that gap.

Recently, we took a survey of some of the teenagers in our youth ministry, asking them what three things they wished their parents knew. The results were eye-opening. Here are the most common categories:

  • Mental health issues
  • Friends and Relationships
  • Being able to talk openly
  • Rules and Boundaries

Now, we don’t want this information to be discouraging, but rather seen as an opportunity for parents to respond healthily to these concerns. Here’s some thoughts on how to do that:

  • Connect with some resources. At Calvary Chapel we are currently taking our High School Ministry through Fuller Youth Institutes’ series Faith in an Anxious World. It is full of great parent resources as well. Check some of them out, particularly their Faith In An Anxious World Parent Podcast.
  • Give Language and Permission to share openly. We must be the initiators but also the listeners. Make sure to ask good questions and then truly listen to the responses you get.
  • Do Some Research. We need to be students of our students. We need to know the warning signs of significant issues. We need to know how to get help. If your child is expressing significant mental health issues or thoughts of self-harm, don’t wait to get them help. Find a good Christian counselor. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255, or call 911 if it is an immediate emergency.
  • Pray for and with your children. They need God’s guidance and presence even more than they need yours.

We hope that this episode leads you to hope and health and some great conversations with your children. Take advantage of this opportunity and ask some good questions about these issues. Seeking our children’s heart is not normal, so Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 40.5 – Have We Got a Resource For You!


While we are taking a break from new content this week, we encourage you to visit our website isthatnormal.org, where we’ve made a post highlighting past episodes and some of the great resources we have reviewed. So check out one of those books, listen to an episode you missed, lead your family to follow Christ, and – until next Tuesday when we’ll return to new content with a great interview episode – Be Abnormal!

Have We Got a Resource For You!

This week we are taking a break from our podcast but we will be back next week with a great interview episode. We have some other great episodes coming up in the future as well about communicating with your child and what they need to communicate to you!

Over the course of the last forty weeks, we have covered a lot of content. We encourage you to look back over our archive and check out some of the episodes you have missed. One of our greatest goals is to give practical resources for parents to lead their children and their families closer to Christ. To do that we have reviewed several books. Here’s some of those books and their corresponding episodes:

So this week, check out a book, listen to a podcast you missed, lead your family… and until next week, Be Abnormal!