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!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 40 – Do You Know What Time It Is?

Setting healthy boundaries for our teenagers and young adults is important and challenging. In this episode we share some of our experiences with curfews and give some thoughts on how to set them for your children.

While the concept of curfews is not a one-size-fits-all approach, there are some basic ideas that have helped us in this area:

  • Clear communication. Talk about your overall plan ahead of time. Make the boundaries clear. Set an expectation of how your children will ask you about going on an outing and setting a curfew.
  • Blanket rules with situational provisions. Setting a basic guideline for week nights and weekends with the provision that we can adjust either way situationally upon discussion.
  • Established consequences. Again, decide ahead of time and communicate what the consequence will be for a little late, a lot late, a breach of trust, etc.
  • Have an Umbrella of Grace both directions. Establish this is a work in progress as our children grow and mature. Have good conversations. Involve them in the decision making. And have the understanding that the parent reserves the right to say no.

Until next week – Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 39 – I <3 This Episode!

Our language is not static. It is constantly changing as forms of communication advance. Today’s young people are speaking and navigating an enormous digital communication landscape, and parents often get lost in the lingo.

Here’s a few points of awareness in this area for parents:

  • Young people have grown up in this environment; it’s their native tongue. This is not frivolous or a fad; it’s the future.
  • What you type has deep meaning. Things like ALL CAPS, exclamation points!!, and emojis and gifs all have significant meaning beyond just the words we type.
  • Young people are looking for connection. Whether its mindless streams of images or constant text messages, the basic need is to feel known, loved and accepted.

If you would like to do some further reading on these topics, we recommend Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch and Viral by Leonard Sweet.

Take some time this week to connect and communicate and maybe even learn some new language from a young person. Until next time – Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 38 – I’m Gonna Do What’s Called a Pro Gamer Move!

Video Games and all of the supporting things that go with them have grown to be a multi-billion dollar industry. With their marketing solidly pointed at today’s young people, we as parents need to know how to help them navigate this growing cultural phenomenon.

In today’s episode, we discuss how today’s video gaming culture has a unique set of challenges and benefits that need to be understood and addressed. Here are some of the major areas of discussion for parents:

  1. CONTENT. We need to be aware of the mature content found in many of today’s games, as well as the possibility of other gamers introducing content to the game. Make sure you know what the ratings and settings are for the games your children are playing. Also, review sites like common sense media and others now include information about the content found in games.
  2. DISRUPTION. Video games have been shown to be potentially addictive. We need to help our children have a healthy schedule and grow into the ability to self-regulate.
  3. ENGAGEMENT. We need to also be engaging our children in discussion about what they like about the games they play. Maybe we need to play some games with them. We also need to point out the skills that some of these games can develop, as well as help them research what real-life jobs could benefit from those skills.
  4. DEVELOPMENT. We must remember that we are trying to teach, guide, train, and model for our children to grow up to be adults. Use these discussions as a way to help them prioritize goals and make healthy choices.

In conclusion, do the hard work of helping your children navigate this enormous cultural issue. Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 37 – Biggest Parenting Fails

We could probably all list a few parenting moments we wished we could forget. But rather than ignore them, what is the healthiest way to respond? In this episode we talk about common “fail” traps and what to do when we fall into them.

First, common “biggest parenting fail” pitfalls:

  1. Demanding without Explaining. “Because I said so” is not good parenting.
  2. Controlling rather than Leading. Are you trying to get what you want or guide towards what is the best for everyone?
  3. Dismissing rather than Listening. Lots of issues cause us to not listen well – margin, pride, frustration. Taking time to listen can diffuse a situation and gain trust and compliance.
  4. Avoiding rather than Addressing. We must remember our goal of training and leading our family to better spiritual health. Sometimes that takes hard conversations and tense moments. Be courageous; it’s worth it!

When we do fall in to one of these traps, we need to admit it, correct it, evaluate how to not do it in the future, and look for the opportunities to make this fail a win. (We cover some of these ideas more fully in Episode 15) Those corrective conversations can be a great place to remind of what our family goals are and the value of forgiveness. Take some time this week to do those evaluations and have those conversations. Until next time, Be Abnormal!