Upcoming Live Interactive Advent Broadcast

The Messy Parenting Advent Broadcast

Make Jesus Christ the King of your family and unleash God’s power in your parenting.
We want to invite you to join us and others from the Messy Parenting movement to spend 4 weeks going deeper in our faith as couples and as parents.  If we don’t get the first things right, nothing else will matter. As parents we are constantly challenged, distracted, and pulled in many directions — we are in need of renewal. At  this time of year, it is chaotic and stressful – let’s make sure that we invest time in deepening the faith of our families.
Whether you have a dynamic faith life in your home or you don’t remember the last time you prayed together – we can all grow and experience the power of God.Join Mike and Alicia for a 4-part live interactive broadcast to make Jesus Christ the King of your family and unleash God’s power in your parenting.
Subscribe below to get the details and special link to the live and recorded videos.  The live broadcasts will be on Saturdays at 9pm EST and the recorded session will be release Sunday. If you are able to join the live broadcast there will be time set aside for questions and interaction. The first of the four in the series will be on the vigil of Christ the King, November 25, 2017 at 9pm EST.
This Advent broadcast series will only be up for the season of Advent so make sure you sign up today.  I hope you can join us! May God bless you and your family.


MP 079 : The Irreplaceable Role of Parents

“A child will have many friends and companions in their lives, but they will only ever have two parents.” ~Mike and Alicia

The role of parents in the lives of their children cannot be underestimated. Of course we have a natural role – we are to protect and provide for our offspring- but we sometimes forget that we have an irreplaceable role in the spiritual and emotional lives of our children as well. There are many messages from the world telling us otherwise, but we need to stand firm in the truth that we have a dignity and responsibility as parents. When your children are young you cannot be your child’s friend, or companion, or buddy. You need to be the authority figure, the protector, the image of God the Father to them. This is a daunting task, but God will give you the grace you need.

What is your “irreplaceable role”? How can you take your rightful place in the life of your child in a way that no one else can?

  • Protect them- Infants and toddlers need protecting, but so do teenagers. Looks different, but someone has to do it.
  • Provide for them- We realize we need to give food, clothing and shelter, but we also need to provide for kids emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
  • Form them- You are the first and best teacher of your child. Lean into that role and use the power of your relationship to speak to their heart.
  • Be a student of your child- Observe them. Learn their personality type. Find what motivates them. This is true at every age. We all want to be known and it gives a person security like nothing else to be “known” by their parents.
  • Invest in them- You could die tomorrow and in a few weeks you would be replaced at work, but your children would be changed forever by your loss. Your family is the greatest return on your investment. And they need you more than anyone else.
  • Sense of identity and belonging- Your child is a son or daughter of God and you are the one to confirm that identity on them. Create a family culture so your child knows that when the world beats them up, they will always know who they are and have a place in your home.
  • Sense of purpose- One of the highest and most important needs of man is a sense of purpose. Children need to know that God has a plan for their lives, that He has a mission specifically for them. Their life as a purpose, and you will be there to walk beside them and find that purpose together.

Join us for a 4 week Advent Series to make Jesus Christ the King of your home. Starting the weekend after Thanksgiving we will be sharing via interactive video about how to deepen the faith in your family. The four part live video series will be recorded and posted for later viewing by patrons and sponsors. Sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop and for more information on this series.


Aleteia: 4 Expert moms weigh in on how to say “no” less often to toddlers

By Elizabeth Pardi | Nov 06, 2017

With some creativity, you can come up with alternative ways to direct them toward safe, acceptable behavior.

A study once conducted at UCLA concluded that the average toddler is told “no” roughly 400 times a day. It seems excessive until you consider that parents tend to repeat the word two, three, or more times for emphasis when it comes to really naughty behavior or unattainable requests. It doesn’t take an additional study to determine that being subjected to that amount of negative speech probably isn’t doing our little ones any favors.

Sure, kids need direction and protection and it’s our job to guide and keep them safe. But simply using the word “no” left and right is, in reality, an ineffective way to accomplish these things. According to Parents.com, experts say that not only does this “desensitize a child to [the word’s] meaning” but it can also have a lasting, negative effect on their psychology, generating resentment and rebellion.

So, in an effort to discover alternative ways to direct my 2-year-old away from adverse behavior, I sought advice from four expert moms, including a prominent pediatrician and a mother of 10. Here’s what these insightful ladies had to say:Read More

MP 078 : Raising Resilient Kids

“Life is pain, your highness. And anyone who tells you differently is selling something.” – The Princess Bride

Children today are less able to deal with failure, rejection, and pain than ever before. As parents, we hate to see our children suffer, but how do we prepare them for real life? How do we help to make them strong, but flexible at the same time? In this podcast, we discuss how hard it is to see our precious children struggle, and we point out the pitfalls that parents can easily fall into. We also give three principles you can implement in your parenting to help form resilient kids.

Please take five minutes to complete the 2017 Listener Survey.

“Talking to Your Teenager” as featured in Franciscan Magazine

By Emily Stimpson Chapman PDF version

Stonehenge. Crop circles. The inner-life of your teenager. These are numbered among the great mysteries of the universe. But at least one doesn’t have to remain a mystery.

Recently, Franciscan Magazine spoke with Alicia (Doman ’94) Hernon, mother to 10 children, ages 22 to 5, and co-host (with her husband and Franciscan’s vice president of Strategic Relations, Michael ’94) of the popular podcast “Messy Parenting” (messyparenting.org). We asked how she successfully manages to keep the lines of communication open with her offspring once they enter the teen years. Here’s what we learned.

  1.  Take an afternoon nap.
    This advice Hernon received from her friend Kimberly Hahn years ago. And a decade of parenting teens has confirmed its wisdom. “Nighttime is when they want to talk,” Hernon says. “As soon as the little ones go to bed, the teens start appearing. They’ll want to watch television, play a game, or just chat. It’s important for parents to be ready for that.”
  2. Don’t lecture. Listen.
    When your teenager initiates a conversation, Hernon says to resist the temptation to use that conversation as a teaching time. Instead, ask questions. “Really seek to understand them,”  she says, “even if they’re saying things you disagree with. Everyone wants to be understood and known. If your teenagers are taking time to reveal themselves, don’t stifle it with lecturing.”
  3. Create an environment where they want to talk.
    Years ago, Hernon asked her aunt (a mother of seven grown children, mostly girls) her secret to keeping lines of communication open. The aunt’s response?
    “I do two things well: I shop, and I eat.” Hernon now does the same with her own girls. “It’s true,” she says. “Girls like to shop and eat. Doing those things with them loosens them up.”
    When it comes to boys, however, Hernon recommends hitting a trail instead of a mall.
    “They want to be moving,” she says. “They want to be moving,” she says. “When they’re active is when they’re most likely to talk. Even if they stay quiet, that’s OK. Sometimes it’s good to just be present to them. They need to know you want to be with them.”
  4.  Ask their opinion.
    Teenagers are known for their strong opinions. Parents should make that work in their favor, says Hernon.
    She explains, “Find their button. Find something they’re passionate about—politics, sports, popular culture—
    and ask them about it. Doing that is a way of honoring them and showing respect. It’s also a good way to shape them intellectually and work on critical thinking. When you do this, however, it’s important to remember
    that not everything is a moral issue. There are lots of things we can disagree on, and that’s OK.”
  5. Be vulnerable.
    The teen years are a time of transition. Parenting teens well, Hernon says, requires acknowledging that transition and preparing both your teens and yourself for the time when they no longer call your home their home. One way she recommends doing this is to start sharing more with them.
    “That may seem weird to parents who are parenting 10- or 12-year-olds,” she acknowledges. “But at age 14, 16,
    18, they’re in a time of transition, and your relationship with them needs to change. Lots of parents get tripped
    up when they treat their 18-year-old the same as their 14-year-old, or their 16-year-old the same as their 12-year old. Don’t dump on them. Don’t lean on them emotionally. But you can let them know you’re having a hard day or have a problem with work. If you want
    your teenager to be vulnerable with you, take that fi rst step and model it in an appropriate way.” ■



PDF version of Talking to Your Teenager


Article originally printed in Franciscan Magazine


MP 077 : Preparing to Launch

“You left just as you were becoming interesting.” ~ Professor Henry Jones to Indiana Jones

All throughout our children’s lives we are laying a foundation. A foundation upon which the rest of their lives will be built. How we relate to them, the consequences we provide, the teaching we give when they are teens (or even younger) will affect how we relate to them when they become adults. Parenting an adult child can be amazingly satisfying or heart-breaking depending on the decisions they make. In this podcast, we give 7 tips on how to parent your adult child and help them to launch into the world of adulthood.

Please take our listener survey

“Help me, help you.” – Jerry Maguire

No seriously, if you listen to the Messy Parenting podcast we really need to hear from you. Our mission is to serve you — we are friends helping friends in our marriage and family life.  We cannot do that with hearing from you. We would so appreciate hearing about you, your preferences, what you like and don’t like.  Additionally we really feel called to do more and need your thoughts on what would be of interest to you. So we have created our 2017 Messy Parenting Listener Survey.

Would you please take a few minutes to fill out our survey? This is the ‘help me, help you’ part. Why is this worth your time? Because you will be helping us create a better podcast and other resources that serve and hopefully enrich and encourage you.

Your input is important to us. The survey is easy to fill out, and the results are confidential. It’s just for us. And you can finish in seven minutes!

Take the survey now at:


MP 076 : Anger in Parenting

“Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one” ~ Benjamin Franklin

We thought we were really nice people before we had kids. Our children can sometimes trigger anger in us that we didn’t even realize was there and we can even surprise ourselves with its violence. To overcome unrighteous anger, we need to understand why we get angry (sometimes its not unjustified!) and make a plan for how we are going to deal with it. This can be a difficult issue for many people because it takes humility to admit when we are wrong, and vulnerability to deal with our own brokenness.

Additional Resources:

MP 075 : Godparenting

“For the grace of Baptism to unfold, the parents’ help is important. So too is the role of the godfather and godmother, who must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized on the road of Christian life.” CCC1255

Our world presents images of cartoon fairy godmothers and mob boss godfathers, but in actuality, being a godparent is a life-long commitment of spiritual significance. To be an effective godparent we need to be in relationship with our godchild as a Christian witness as we assist the parents in the faith formation of their child. In this episode we discuss how to choose a godparent, the importance of godparents in the life of the child, and how to be a godparent that actually makes an impact in the life of a young Catholic. Listen in to learn more about this important relationship.  This sponsored podcast is dedicated to Katie Stockermans.