“The family is where children discover how to be human.”
- Archbishop Charles Chaput
Over and over again people ask us how to help their kids get along with each other. We usually respond that of course their kids don’t get along - because they are kids! That is what you are doing as a parent. You are the ones teaching them how to live at peace with other human beings in the world and they are practicing what you teach them in your home! This is the training ground for their lives. But that doesn’t mean that parents do nothing. There are important lessons that parents need to teach their children at home so they can learn key social skills and have great relationships with their siblings not just while they are under your roof, but for the rest of their lives. Listen to this re-release of our 2016 podcast on this subject.
Be open to giving your children as many siblings as possible.
Don’t always intervene. Let your children alone to work things out on their own.
Help them value differences between different personalities by learning to appreciate each other.
Teach them how to forgive and repair relationships when they are broken.
How can we structure our home routine to foster better relationships between our children?
Do we intervene too much in sibling conflicts? Not enough?
Have we taught our children how to ask for forgiveness? If not, how can we do this?
Boundaries are not meant to keep people out, but to set a clear understanding of what is acceptable and what is not within our relationships
No one should have the right to “push our buttons”. We need to be free in our relationships even when people are unhealthy.
Boundaries are good things to keep our families peaceful.
You can’t replace your family - for good or for bad, they belong to you and you belong to them.
One of the Ten Commandments is to honor your father and mother. This is God’s idea, not ours and it needs to be taken very seriously
How can we honor our father and mother appropriately?
How would we want our children to treat us someday?
What are good boundaries for our holiday visits with family?
Great article from Catholic Psych - https://www.catholicpsych.com/blog/a-catholic-approach-to-dealing-with-difficult-relationships
Forgiveness- Shalom series https://www.shalomworld.org/episode/forgiveness-in-the-family-susan-and-urby-potvin
“The idea that the family is a democracy and that children and parents have the same responsibility within the home completely ignores the developmental needs of the child ” - Mike and Alicia
A child’s temper tantrums are frustrating to parents, but we should recognize that they are often a result of a child’s deficit in communication, understanding, and emotional control. Children simply have immature responses to situations of conflict. Knowing this may help, but parents also need strategies to get through these tricky, volatile, and potentially embarrassing situations. In this podcast, we get practical and give parents the Four D’s of temper tantrums. Determine, diffuse, distract, and - when all else fails - Done. In a world that says parents and children are equal, parents have no rights, and honor is a thing of the past, we would like to push back and challenge parents to instead embrace the sacred calling to form their children with love and wisdom. Listen in and start a conversation with us and your spouse.
When do our children have meltdowns? Why?
What are some strategies to proactively avoid tantrums?
How can we be more effective in responding to our children's tantrums?
“You are called to have great hearts here, counter-cultural and brave. You can build something better, freer, more generous, and nobler, beginning in your own home.” - Bishop Thomas Olmstead, Complete My Joy 59
Man and woman coming together to build a home is a natural experience that has happened over and over again since the creation of the world, but we need to keep learning about what marriage is for and how to nourish this essential communion. In this interview with Mike and Sharon Phelan we discuss how marriage can be transformational in the lives of men and women and a path to the true flourishing of the individual. The problems are coming from a culture that is lying to us and pointing us in all different directions. We discuss the concept of “submission” and “headship” as well as NFP - the good, the bad and the ugly. Join in this conversation and find wisdom from this Catholic couple.
Marriage is like ballroom dancing - without a leader, there is no dance.
Men need a mission! And that mission should be to enable their wives to be a mother who is strong, beautiful and free.
NFP unpacks the mystery of a woman’s body to her husband (and sometimes to herself!)
Following the Church’s teaching on marital sexuality changes us! Even if we don’t fully understand or agree, acting in a virtuous way promotes virtue.
How is does our marriage “dance” look right now? How can we do this better?
Are we in “awe” of our ability to bring children into the world? How does this effect our marital relations?
How can we learn more about the Church’s teaching on marriage and family?
Complete My Joy - apostolic exhortation written by Bishop Thomas Olmstead
The Mission of the Family video series https://www.kofc.org/un/en/campaigns/into-the-breach.html
“An important element in forming Christian maturity in teens is creating a ‘Yes’ culture in the home, where a child can take risks, try new things, and find out more about who they are all while under your guidance.” - Mike and Alicia
With the advent of the sexual revolution in the 60s and 70s and the subsequent increase in teen sexual activity, the response of the Christian community in the 80s and 90s was to make dating among conservative Christian teens verboten. Among many good Catholic families, there is still a wide range of opinions on when kids should start dating, even among other families that we really respect. We have allowed our older teens to date and in this podcast we explain why. Like most of what we do, we have not guided our kids perfectly every time, but we have done it intentionally and we have learned some things over the years that we can share with you. Listen in to this podcast on mentoring kids during this essential time of development.
Not all dating is the same - there are different levels.
We need to prepare our children for healthy relationships and this includes giving them dating guidance. How you do that is up to you, but it needs to be done.
Create a YES culture in your home. Freedom and responsibility go together
Casual dating is for teens, serious dating is when you are ready for marriage - in college and beyond. Don’t confuse them.
Have we created a yes culture in our home?
What was our dating experience like? What would we like our children to imitate from our experience? Avoid?
What are our “rules for dating” for our children?
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” - CS Lewis
Life can be hard. Sometimes, in response to difficulties, instead of turning to the Lord in our pain, we self-medicate which can lead to addictions of one kind or another which only leads to more pain in the long run. In this podcast, we hear the story of Ched and Nanette Salasek, Catholic parents of six children who have a story that every couple needs to hear. Even if you haven’t struggled with addiction, you can learn from the lessons that they share about the healing grace of the sacrament of marriage, the role of the Blessed Mother in their family, and surrendering everything to the Lord. Listen in to this inspiring and hopeful conversation.
The only path to freedom is through individual surrender. No one can do it for us.
The role of a spouse in helping an addict is one of support and prayer and constant surrender.
God doesn’t want just our external actions - He wants our hearts!
Are there areas of our life that we have not surrendered to God?
Do we have addictions in our life that are ruling us? Are there areas that are out of control?
How has God used our failings to draw us closer to Himself?
Dare to Surrender Book - https://amzn.to/3QqlAOA
“With careful planning, honest communication, and the right help and care around you, your different tomorrow can be meaningful and extraordinary.”― John Delony
Let’s be honest, family life is full of stress! Sometimes there are big stresses like the loss of a job, a new colicky baby in the house, overwhelming responsibilities, or marriage issues. But even the little stresses can add up! Moody teens, worries over a child’s academic performance, or even a messy house can lead parents to feel like “I just can’t take it.” What is a parent to do? In this episode we take an honest look at anxiety in parenting and help parents to put it all in perspective. The bottom line is, the longer we do this family thing, the more we realize that the problems never go away, but we simply see them differently now than we did before. Listen in as we share our perspective to give every parent encouragement and hope for your future as we learn to put it all in God’s hands.
Take back your life
Don’t get trapped in the weeds - lift your head up!
Do the little things well - Atomic Habits
Every Yes needs to be protected by 1,000 No’s. Prioritize your life
When have I recently felt stressed? Has it become overwhelming?
Where do I need perspective and help from my spouse?
What are essential elements for our simple life plan to bring order?
FBM download - Messyfamilyproject.org/guides
Survey - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XW98NMH
John Deloney book - https://amzn.to/48T8LUb
“The point is that neuroses don’t have to ruin a marriage. If you can accommodate each other’s “crazy” side and handle it with caring, affection, and respect, your marriage can thrive.” ― John M. Gottman
Many people are good at functioning in their marriage, getting along, caring for kids, paying the bills… but are they really thriving? How can we get more out of the most important relationship we have - the one we have with our spouse? In this podcast, we look at the book, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, and explain how to use these ideas to make your marriage grow. Though the expression of these ideas are new to us, the truth contained in them is not. We have found that we have done many of these things in our marriage over the years! Listen in for some great relationship advice for anyone who wants to move from a marriage that is surviving to thriving.
Review 7 principles
How can we Honor each other
Start a Gratitude challenge
When is our Daily connection and weekly date night
Do the Family Board Meeting
"Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love” - Jesus to St. Margaret Mary
How can we love like Jesus? What is His love like? Answering these questions is the role of devotions in the Catholic world. They help us learn more about God and how He relates to us. The Sacred Heart of Jesus teaches us to love as God loves and this is a lesson that all families need to embrace fully. In this podcast, we interview Emily Jaminet of the Sacred Heart Enthronement network and author of the new book Holy Habits of the Sacred Heart. Our conversation explains how both of our families have been impacted by this devotion and how it has given us a way to proclaim Christ as King, and also to have a place to go as a safe refuge in times of trial. As we pray to the Heart of Jesus, He can change our hearts to make us more like Himself! When we learn about how He loves, we can imitate that love which is a path of holiness itself. Learn more about this devotion, what the Nine First Fridays are, how Jesus blesses families with the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart and why the Enthronement is a means of evangelization and transformation.
This devotion gives “spiritual stability”, focus, and a way to understand the love of Jesus in a concrete, defined way. It prevents us from making Jesus into our own image, but instead reveals to us how He truly loves.
Jesus wants a relationship of love with each one of us and He wants to transform our hearts to be like His. A great way to reconcile with children or those with whom we have conflict is to say, “I am allowing Jesus to change my heart”.
Forgiveness means that we are coming up against “cancel culture” which says that once someone does something wrong they are cut out of one’s life. By following the Heart of Jesus we learn practice forgiveness in our home and communities.
The devotion of Nine First Fridays and the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the home give families concrete ways to understand and come closer to the Heart of Jesus.
How can we increase our devotion to the Sacred Heart?
Emily mentioned that giving up control and trusting in Jesus is a first step to being docile to Jesus. What does that mean to us?
How can we practice forgiveness in our home? Is there anyone in our lives that we need to forgive?
We need to take a sacramental view of ordinary life - Mike and Alicia Hernon
We often say that family culture is the secret weapon of Catholic families. Why is this? Because the culture within your home is more powerful than any written word. It communicates expectations, beliefs, and values to everyone in the family. In this podcast, we tackle some questions that listeners have sent into us about the culture within their homes. We answer questions like “what do I do about kids always fighting?”, “how do I take care of individual kids in a big family?”, “how do we handle birthdays?”, and “Help! I feel like I’m drowning!” (which isn’t exactly a question, but it is a common email we get!). In all of these situations, the issue comes back again and again to the culture you are fostering within your home. When you see all that you do in light of that, all the other issues will fall into place. Listen in and learn about this powerful tool that every parent should develop.
Listener Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XW98NMH
Christ is present in a special way when a couple prays together. They not only renew their yes to God, but also achieve a deeper union with each other, which springs solely from the union of hearts and couples in the sacrament of marriage. - Fr. Henri Caffarel
How can couples move their marriage from surviving to thriving, or from good to great? By making couple prayer a normal part of our marriage. Christian marriage is a supernatural endeavor, so that means that it is really not possible to have a successful marriage without Jesus! Prayer between spouses isn’t just something you do, it is a gift from the two of you to Christ Himself. It is acknowledging that Christ is the “glue” that keeps you together. In this podcast we talk about how to incorporate prayer into your marriage, why it is so important, and how prayer can help you forge a deeper unity than you have ever had before. Much of this conversation is discussing the writings of Fr. Henri Caffarel, founder of Teams of Our Lady.
Listener Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XW98NMH
The indissolubility of marriage…should not be viewed as a ‘yoke’ imposed on humanity, but as a ‘gift’ granted to those who are joined in marriage… God’s indulgent love always accompanies our human journey; through grace, it heals and transforms hardened hearts, leading them back to the beginning through the way of the cross. - Pope Francis
The marriage sacrament is meant to heal and transform us into who God wants us to be! But sometimes that journey is not what we would expect. In this interview, David and Margaret Bereit share their story of marriage and David’s conversion - the two are completely intertwined! Listen in as we talk about how they walked together in freedom though they were in different places, how they loved each other and their children in the midst of their different faiths, and how David came to join the Church and what that meant for them both. There is some great advice in this interview for those in mixed marriages and for anyone who wants to know how to deeply love friends and family who are in a different place than yourself.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. - Proverbs 31:30
Back by popular demand, this is another interview that we did with Michele Doman, Alicia’s mom and mother of 10 grown children, grandmother to over 55, and great grandmother to more than 7! In the last interview, we talked about Michele’s life as a young wife and mother. In this conversation, we talk more about being a parent of a large family and how she was able to do that successfully over the last 50+ years of marriage. Listen in and get some wisdom on discipline, relationships with teens, and managing a large household. You will hear that the struggles are real, but so are the joys and blessings of marriage and family life.
Watch here: https://youtu.be/Zd_I6cwvcRM
Of course your children don’t get along. They don’t know how to get along! That’s kind of what you are doing as parents, teaching them what they don’t know - Mike and Alicia
All of us struggle to live in a community. That is the human condition - we need other people but we also find it hard to live with them! This is true for children, but also for adults. In this episode, we answer some questions that our listeners had about what to do when your kids fight with your friends' kids, how to handle dividing up household responsibilities with your spouse, and what to do with adult children who are living at home. It's hard for kids to learn, but it’s also hard for parents to know how to teach in a way that can be received. Listen into this conversation and take some time to discuss these important topics with your spouse.
“Healing is an essential dimension of Christinaity. It expresses the entire content of our redemption.” ~ Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth
Some of us think of healing as being “for other people”, those with trauma, abuse, or mental illness. But that is not the way that Dr. Bob Schuchts sees healing. As you will hear, he believes that healing is part of the story of every Christian because we all have been damaged by our own fallen nature and we all live in a broken world! There is an anointing in our Church right now for healing ministries like this and we believe healing is essential for every parent so they can be who God is calling them to be in the lives of their children. We have been personally blessed by Dr. Bob’s teaching and ministry through the John Paul II Healing Institute and we are very excited to share this interview with him. Listen in to this conversation about why we need healing, how to be healed, and the role that Christ wants to play in each of our journeys.
"Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God did not create man in isolation, He created man to live in community with others. This is the best path for the full development of the human person! Men need other men to push them, support them, love them, and let them know they have what it takes. In this touching interview, Mike talks to John Doman, Alicia's dad, about his experience as a young Marine in Viet Nam and the events that set the course of his life. They cover John’s marriage to Michele, his wife of 50 yrs, his struggle with PTSD after the war, and how the brothers God gave him throughout his life saved him again and again - physically and spiritually. Listen to this very important conversation about the importance of relationships and how God can use them to show us His love over and over again.
Family Board Meeting - LIVE! : messyfamilyproject.org/course/family-board-meeting-live/
Watch here: https://youtu.be/FIT6s7szDlU
"This is a book about love; more exactly, it is about the love that knows no end, the love our hearts yearn for. The love that consumes, that reverberates, that heightens—it is a love that costs everything—yet offers everything. - Theresa and Peter Martin, The Rule
When the young priest Fr. Karol Wojtyla was living in Poland, he wrote a “rule” for married couples, similar to the protocols that religious orders follow for their way of life. His suggestions were born out of his deep friendships with young married couples who he observed and who helped him see what married couples need to do to find true life within the married vocation. We heard about this book and were immediately intrigued, so we invited Theresa and Peter Martin to share with us more about their book, how it came to be, and about The Rule itself. In this podcast, we talk about the challenges of married life and how the Church can help us live a life of grace, the role of children in this quest of holiness, and what a life of prayer looks like in the home. Most importantly, we talk about community and how essential it is for families to support each other in their common life. Listen in and see how you can join in this movement of married couples living the Rule outlined by St. John Paul II.
Watch here: https://youtu.be/QT9SqsDCxR8
“When an army retreats on the battlefield, it doesn’t mean that they are giving up. It can mean that they are taking time to reassess and regroup so they can come back stronger. This is the essence of a Family Retreat.” ~ Mike Hernon
The concept of a family retreat is something that we have developed over the years for our own family. It grew out of our desire to regroup and reconnect with our kids outside of the daily chaos in our home. To do this, we have taken our children to vacation homes, retreat houses, and occasionally to a hotel, to take some time for family fun, team building activities, teaching and prayer. We don’t use a set program, but we do have the same principles that we use over and over. In this podcast, we share these principles with you so you can develop your own retreat for your family. If you would like more than what is just offered on this podcast - check out our Family Retreat Guide found on our website! Even if you don’t do a retreat this year, listen in so you can talk about it with your spouse and develop a strategic “retreat” for your family.
Family Retreat Guide: messyfamilyproject.org/guides/
Watch the episode here: https://youtu.be/A5pQ-qaJ9vY
We love hanging out with Chris and Natalie but in this interview, we found out something else we have in common. Both of us had honeymoons that were epic fails! Is the last time you got away, your honeymoon? Hear from all four of us as we talk about the first time that we got away as a married couple without our children and why we think it’s so important. Parents have a lot resting on their shoulders. Work, the busyness of family life and the strains of our world need to be relieved by taking time to get away from ordinary life to be reminded of who we are and our first priorities. Getting away has a price but the return is unbelievable! Listen in as we chat with Chris and Natalie Stefanick about the first time that they got away, some crazy failures on our honeymoon and how you can make the most of the time when you go away.
More infomation at catholiccouplesgetaway.com
“Christian marriage is the school of love, where despite the limits of our own love, we can discover Christ’s presence and power to teach us to love one another with the Love that never fails” - Peter and Debbie Herbeck
When we offer date nights, we try to pick topics that are fun for couples but also useful and thought-provoking. That's why we are so excited to share with you this interview we did on our June Date Night with Peter and Debbie Herbeck. They have been in ministry together most of their adult lives and are the authors of a book that expresses much of what we believe and teach on marriage: Lessons from the School of Love: Cultivating a Christ-centered Marriage.
Listen in to this conversation and hear from this wise and authentic couple. When Peter and Debbie married, they had the challenge of coming from two different faith backgrounds, two different family dynamics, plus the challenge of two very different personalities! You will hear how they tackled forgiveness, learned to be vulnerable, how they handled the differing roles of father and mother, and most of all, how they helped their children encounter Christ. You will love listening in to this conversation!
Lessons from the School of Love: Cultivating a Christ-centered Marriage: https://stpaulcenter.com/product/lessons-from-the-school-of-love-cultivating-a-christ-centered-marriage/
Join us for future Date Nights by getting on our mailing list here: messyfamilyproject.org
“Teaching is an essential part of our faith that reminds us that following Jesus Christ transforms every part of our lives, from our attitude toward money, to the choices we make at the doctor’s office, to the way we build our families.” ~ Nancy Bandzuch
Parents are charged by God to be good stewards of their children and caring for children includes forming them in the faith and teaching them! This is especially important in our culture where there is widespread confusion about some of the most essential issues, in addition to issues where Catholics can disagree. Nancy Bandzuch has taken on this challenge to help parents discuss these issues with their children clearly in the book Catholic Social Teaching for Youth available through her ministry Catholic Sprouts. In this interview, we talk about why this task of the formation of children is so important, how to use this book for a variety of ages, and what is covered. Listen in to be empowered to embrace the task of forming your children in the truth.
Watch here: https://youtu.be/zse3JrTzNuU
“Words of affirmation are simply true statements affirming the worth of another person” ~Gary Chapman
Parents need to take time to consider how they are intentionally calling out the good in the lives of their children because it is within the family that people have their identity - who they are - confirmed and then affirmed over the years. This is just as essential to children as food, clothing, or education! One of the ways we have instilled affirmation in our family culture is the practice of “honoring”. We usually do honorings on someone’s birthday or times of transition like graduations. Listen to this podcast to find out how to start this practice in your home, why it is important, and the effect it can have on your family.
For more information on this and other topics visit: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/
Watch here: https://youtu.be/tHK1vP_SOXE
“Mothers are the strongest antidote to the spread of self-centred individualism… It is they who testify to the beauty of life”. - Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia
The life of a mother is hidden and powerful at the same time, but the message of our culture is that you only matter if you have a strong resume, evidence of your worth, and an education to back it up. This is simply not the way God sees the vocation of motherhood! In this interview with Christine Hanus, author of the book Everyday Heroism we discuss the reality that the “hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” even when we don’t feel like it. This conversation is full of tears, laughter, and real stories about real moms who deal with the ups and downs of raising children. We hope that this podcast inspires all moms to be the best person they can be for their kids, but also for themselves. Embracing motherhood means embracing personal growth and holiness on a whole new level.
Buy Christine’s book here: https://amzn.to/3J5kcwN
Getaway - Early bird ends 6/30 - catholiccouplesgetaway.com
New and Improved Website - Check it out! - messyfamilyproject.org
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. ” – Mark Twain
All families need to play together. Why? Because this is how you lay the foundation for your child’s belief in God, his self-esteem, and this is how you communicate to him, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you love him. In this podcast, we dive deeply into the importance of doing an intentional Family Fun Day and give some practical tips on how to do it so everyone wins. This month’s Play and Pray Challenge is a great excuse to think about how you can grow closer as a family through play and fun!
Play and Pray challenge - www.messyfamilyproject.org/challenge
Getaway - Early bird ends 6/30 - catholiccouplesgetaway.com
MFP 091: King of the Home - https://messyfamilyproject.org/mfp-91-king-of-the-home/
MFP 205: Nine First Fridays to Change the World - https://messyfamilyproject.org/mfp-205-nine-first-fridays-to-change-the-world/
“Do a date night! It’s cheaper than marriage counseling.”
This is an oldie but goodie podcast for you. We released this one way back in 2015 when we were just starting out but the content in it is something that even we need to be reminded of! When we have gotten into “slumps” in our marriage when we don’t feel like we are connecting, working together, or in sync with each other, that is when we need to take a look at our date nights. Are we spending intentional time together? Are we having fun together? Are we making room in our lives for our spouse? Listen in to this podcast where you will get some inspiration to not just get out of the house, but to also make your time together effective and impactful for your relationship.
Play and Pray challenge - www.messyfamilyproject.org/challenge
Website - www.messyfamilyproject.org
Date Night Herbecks - 6/15 - www.messyfamilyproject.org/programs/date-nights/
Getaway - Early bird 6/30 - catholiccouplesgetaway.com
Watch episode here: https://youtu.be/r6NACXjUaVs