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July 11, 2022

Episode 55: What Effect Does Media Have on Our Kids and Family with Nikole Thompson

In this episode, DJ talks with Nikole Thompson about how the media and social platforms are really having a negative effect on our kids. Listen in as they discuss how much screen time is appropriate, the violence, death, anger, pornography, sex and more that our kids are being exposed to at much earlier ages and how you as a parent can research, monitor and encourage healthier activities. Tune in as they discuss everything from appropriate music to appropriate movies or television programs and how you can make changes to be more aware and present… and set your child(ren) up to succeed.

Nikole Thompson is a speaker, writer, and ministry leader, alongside her husband, Anthony.  They are the directors of Celebrate Recovery at Covenant Community Church in Madisonville, KY, where they reside.  Having nine grown children, and 12 grandchildren, so far biblical marriage and parenting is not just something she speaks about, but something she lives.  Passionate about sharing the gospel, it was 6 years ago they stepped out in faith, and launched Prisoner2preacher - their very own nonprofit.  50 Shades of Truth is Nikole’s personal testimony of walking away from a rebellious lifestyle, and now chasing after God.


I am hosting a FREE 10-day challenge to find your calm, loving voice as you encourage your children to complete tasks and routines, and listen to you more quickly with less drama.  

There will be a total of 5 live events with new information and the chance to ask questions and share.  Let's find joy in parenting, together!

SIGN UP for our FREE 10 Day Challenge! This challenge is designed to help parents learn tools and techniques to stop being reactive and yelling at their kids to build enduring relationships with strong boundaries in peace and kindness.


• [13:41] Nikole shares how/why she began monitoring her children’s screen time and how consistency made it successful. 
• [18:26] Nikki shares how she feels our children are being influenced by the current culture.  
• [21:53] “That's what I'm hoping to share with your listeners that you have the authority in your home, you're the parent, you have to take it back for the sake of your child...”
• [27:56] “They have just taken all of the restraints off and unless you are extremely intentional about guarding what comes on your screen, like that song says it takes a moment to make a memory but a lifetime to forget it, It is so hard to forget it once you've seen it. 

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DJ Stutz  0:13  
We think you should know that Imperfect Heroes Podcast is a production of Little Hearts Academy USA. Perfect. You're listening to Episode 55 of Imperfect Heroes, Insights Into Parenting, the perfect podcast for imperfect parents looking to find joy in their experience of raising children in an imperfect world. I'm your host DJ Stutz, and Nikki Thompson is a living redemption story. She has a combined family with her and her husband of nine kids. And Nikki struggled with drug addiction and divorce. But her story is about finding faith and through that her marriage is restored, and she with her husband, are now working to help others rise from the darkness of drug addiction. And helping cons get their lives turned around to become contributing citizens and good parents. And Nikki has a women's ministry, where she's helping moms who have struggled with drug addiction, get back into the lives of their children, and make the decisions that are the best for their children, and the relationship that they have with those kids. It's an amazing program. But the funny thing is, that's not what we're talking about on this episode, we've got something a little different, there's so much to learn. So let's get started.

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I think we all know that too much screen time is not good for our kids. There's just way too much evidence. It's almost like someone who is surprised that smoking causes cancer, right? There's too much evidence out there for us not to know that but the question is how much is too much? So there's a scale it's called the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, who in the industry, we call that Eckers. But they say that a total of 10 minutes a day should be the limit for children under five. What think of that? And so as a preschool teacher or as a childcare actors will come in and they will see. Are you using a video to do a dance with the kids? Or are you just using the music? For teachers? That's a little hard. Because sometimes a child will come in and say, What do whales look like? Or what about vampire squids?

When we were studying oceans, my kids would only zoom in on the vampire squid. And so you want to find a video to show them, we were in Colorado, I didn't exactly have a place that I could take them, or that it was familiar to them. And besides, even if you were in California, you're not finding vampire squids, they are down in the mid Nizam. But if you're using a computer and showing them a video of that Eckers would count that as part of the 10 minutes per day that a child is allowed to see on the screen. That might be a little extreme. That was my opinion, in a world where technology and information is at the tip of your fingers. I always felt like it was a good idea to teach the kids that our phones and our computers can be used for way more than YouTube, and Tiktok. But then that leaves that question, though, where's the line, I don't know where that line is. And then there's another piece to this. There is so much that is damaging to our children. And sometimes there, it's subliminally done. And other times it's just straight out overtly messages that are anti family. And they subvert children's opinions and respect for parents. Well, while Nikki was going through her rebirth, she became very aware and sensitive about these messages that are in the things that our children are watching. And it doesn't have to be the show's think of the commercials that they're seeing. And the popups that show up. So part of her message for her ministry, as she's working with these moms, is to be on the lookout for these things. So let's go ahead and listen in. 

Hey, everyone, I am here with a new friend, Nikole Thompson. And she is an author. She is the mother of nine kiddos. She's done foster care, she's done a lot of things. And, and this is where we kind of connected, she has come to an understanding about how media and the social platforms are really having a negative effect on our kids. And I agree with that. And so I wanted her on so. So Nicole, why don't you give us a little intro and talk a little bit about your book.

Nikole Thompson  8:00  
Okay, my name is Nikki Thompson. I do have nine kids from a blended marriage. My husband and I, this December will have 24 years of being together. We were married for a few years, we divorced and separated and then got remarried. And while we were divorced and separated, unfortunately, I took a very wild ride. And so for about three and a half years. While I had my three kiddos I was in the drug and alcohol world. And praise God. 16 years ago, I got clean and sober. My husband showed up at my doorstep wanted to reconcile. And he had been just taking complete ownership of everything that went wrong in our first marriage, and wanted to put things back together. But basically, he was very adamant that we needed to change our people, places and things that what we had been doing the first time just simply was not going to be good enough. And so during our first marriage, we didn't drink, we didn't do drugs. We were pretty family friendly. We took the kids camping, we were members of the YMCA. I mean, we had eight kids, our oldest never lived with us, but we literally had eight kids in the home. So by most people's standards, they would have said that we had it going on. And within about three years of that marriage. God blessed us with a construction company and we started allowing some people that did really good work, but didn't have the same standard for a home life that we did in our front row. And so within a year of rubbing elbows with these construction workers, all of a sudden line anger, infidelity, which eventually lead to drug dealing, drug use, then and then like I said, my three and a half years of just being out there. And so fast forward say 16 years ago, he shows up. And basically it was a reprogramming of my mind from a very secular worldview, to a family friendly one. And I'm not jealous of what your parents are going through nowadays, because 16 years ago was a lot easier when there wasn't Instagram and there wasn't YouTube and there wasn't smartphones. And so when we first made the transition from a very secular worldview to family friendly, when I got clean and sober. And so that's what my book is about. It is about the past 25 years of my life, it's about my first marriage, sober, clean, how this little crack in the door all of a sudden allowed for a relapse, me being on drugs and alcohol, what that looked like parenting, because, you know, you think that you're a functioning addict, but you're really not your kids are getting the shaft. Yeah. And then what it looked like the past 16 years, me trying to make up for that, but not be their friend and be their parents. And I think that that's hard, because there's this guilt and shame cycle of, well, you wasted all these years, so you ought to just be their friend. But we're not called to be our kids friends, we're called to teach them hard lessons. So when we're no longer around, they're going to be able to make it without us. And so the past six years, five years since our youngest one launched, he's actually in the Air Force. He's 21. And he signed on, it's 17. And so he's been gone now a little over four years. And so for the past four or five years is we've been running a Celebrate Recovery at our church, foster parenting kids, working with parents working with the court system to help families get their kids back. The biggest part is teaching family boundaries. And these parents how to instill boundaries, because they noticed that when their kids are connected to these phones, or iPads, or watching TV for hours on end, they do not have kind loving attitudes, but they are very selfish and mean and be literally towards their parents. And so the book 50 shades a truth. The word truth is made up of lies. And what that signifies is the world we live in this media driven world is pushing things that are anti family. They're just anti family, anti authority. You know, video games are very demeaning towards our authority. And towards parents TV shows a lot of times so the dad is full. These shows show middle schoolers and grade schoolers dating already. Have we forgotten that their kids and they should just be kids. We don't have to over centralize everything. So that's what my book is about. And that's what we've spent the past four or five years doing is discipling parents on how to take back their families and let their kids be kids.

DJ Stutz  13:16  
And wow, that is such a hard task. But it is a necessary task. And yes, we really need to get our heads wrapped around. A lot of the parents that I work with in my coaching groups will say yeah, but they get so angry, or they get so mad. Like so what?

Nikole Thompson  13:41  
Exactly, right. Yeah, I looked back through my notes because I journaled a lot. And so of course, Freddy is our baby. He's the one I experienced this with the most. So my oldest are 25 and 24. And so when I got cleaned, they were 10, nine and five. Now my 10 year old not so much wasn't in real big into music and things like that. But my nine year old was, and I shared with you how I let him sing Eminem and Justin Timberlake and he knew all the words and I would let him say curse words and everything. He loved the whatever that show it scream and final destination. Like I let my nine year old fill his mind with fearful thoughts of death and violence and anger. And the thing is, you can't put all that into your heart and not expect it to come out. And so yes, that first summer was not easy, but I would say within 30 days of being consistent, and that meant I had to stay on top of it. I had to go check on them every 30 minutes, every hour every couple of hours and make sure which at that time our kids didn't have cell phones and Again, 16 years ago, there weren't tablets, there wasn't Wi Fi in the home. So I was very blessed. But with Freddy 678 years ago, when we did have touch phones and tablets and iPads, I can tell you that I have taken his phone as a 14 1516 year old young man on more than one occasion because I heard him singing lyrics that were not edifying at all. You are not going to degrade women and talk bad about women that is not helpful to our society. You are not going to talk about gang banging and fighting Kellen murdy, any of that, that is not helpful to our society, you are not going to talk about having sex. And all of these, I would take his phone. And I would say, Okay, what is it that you're listening to right now, that's not family friendly. And we've been to tons of concerts, there's plenty of good musicians, right, not just Christian ones. But good musicians that sing songs that tell stories that don't have to do with the deadening of our senses of who we're supposed to be a loving, kind, compassionate, empathetic people. And those traits don't come naturally. And so if you're not grooming those in your children, the world will groom them to be opposite trust. The world will groom your children to be sexual in the middle school to be very hateful and Mean Girls and Gossip Girls and look at the names of the shows on TV that are geared towards our teenagers. They're not kind you're loving. We're way past Little House on the Prairie. Oh,

DJ Stutz  16:43  
yeah. I mean, I can tell you this was, gosh, 20 years ago, when I was just getting started in teaching and I was doing a pre K. And we had our little Halloween party. Right. And it was, gosh, she was on that New Jersey Shore reality show. Okay. Anyway, one of the little girls came Dookie. Nuki. Something like that. Do you know, anyway, I don't totally dressed at four years old, almost five. And she was totally dressed like this. Yeah, actor. And I was just like, Oh, my goodness, that's not okay. Yeah, what happened to being a ghost or which or it was, but she was that. And so I see it starting very early on. There was a book I was reading. Oh, gosh, it's probably about five or six years ago now. But the author was talking about how we are sexualizing, even our very youngest children in the way we dress them. And exactly like you were saying, in the way that we let them see things. Even the children's shows portray parents, yeah, as the kids are solving problems by themselves, and not going to their parents for answers, that kind of thing. But he called it that we're making pasta tots. Wow, blurs that we're dressing them in that way. And I thought, wow, I never thought of that term. But it really resonated with me.

Nikole Thompson  18:26  
Wow, I will remember that word. That is a very good example of what the culture is doing. Absolutely. Absolutely. I wish I could think of the name of the dolls. I think they have something to do with monsters, but they like and here I sit with my pink and purple hair. So I realized how cool it is for the girls. But remember, you know, 20 years ago, a nine and 10 year olds still had baby dolls or Cabbage Patch Kids or Barbie dolls. We hadn't really transitioned into makeup and hair dye and earrings and jewelry. But really what has happened? Middle school is now bleeding into elementary because whenever those dolls are, they have they they dress very provocative. They're in little leather jackets and they're doing the things that 50 years ago it was college 30 years ago, it was high school. 15 years ago, it was middle school. Seven years ago, we moved to New Orleans. And I worked with the first grade teacher I told you about that and and I was her teacher's aide and trying to help these kids to just spell their name or write their name, which I do get parents working a double job to pay for tuition and different things like that. But the overall stats in Louisiana are staggering for or how low their education system is. And therefore, they offer free college to anyone willing to go. And they have been 10 years. If you go to consistent years, your junior and senior year, you get a free four year ride because they're trying to up the education of their people. So anyway, I'm at the roller skating rink with my knees. And you've got 50 Kids in the middle of the roller skating rink, and they're anywhere from age three up, and they all know how to do the stanky leg. Yeah, how does your kid know every single word to the stanky leg, but your kid can't spell his name. And that's where I think we're missing it. It used to be a little bit of TV at night before bed, play outside, do your schoolwork be active. And what we're finding the stats that I pushed out in my book, which was pre COVID was eight hours a day, the average kid 10 And up that gets a phone or a tablet. And that was pre COVID. And so now I don't even want to think about what the results are now. But I can't tell you how many times I see an eight year old or a six year old with a phone. I refuse to give my grandkids phones to watch TV. In the car as we drive. My dad used to make me guess he'd say, okay, the mileage says I'll reset it how many miles till we get to that water tower. And you like we would look off in the distance and guess how long till the barn? Or how long like that's what we did 30 years ago, 35 years ago, before we had phones to scroll with. And so for my grandkids, they don't get a Wi Fi password when they come to grandma's house. That's what I'm hoping to share with your listeners that you have the authority in your home, you're the parent, you have to take it back for the sake of your child, unless you want your child living with you until they're 35. And ultimately, that's truth. Like we've got to help them to become successful adults and launched and being addicted to a phone is not going to help them launch.

DJ Stutz  22:19  
That's exactly true. And I think so I have my daughter Rocky, she's got two little kids. And Sylvan is six and Ingrid is four. And there's an iPad, but she saves it for special certain times for when, like maybe they're at the doctor's office waiting. And there's other people. So she wants them to just tear everything apart. And so that's when they'll get it. They do get it on long trips. But it's not the cell phone. It's they have like the screen from the ceiling. Yeah, yep. And they choose the videos. And then the kids are young enough. They like the good video that they like. And they're actively involved. So when they come home from school, it's not do your homework right away. It's let's eat a snack if you need one. And then you go outside and play. And Rocky's lucky enough that she's able to be at home, she was working up until Ingrid was about a year old. And then she's like, now, this is this is too much of a sacrifice for my kids. So she is at home. So I think there is a balance that you can find that they get it at certain times for a certain amount of time for a certain purpose. And then you can move forward with that. I also so I have a couple of grandkids in Northern California. And my oldest grandson in that family is getting into his own thing with music. And he loves rap. But now he's gone to the Christian rap. And it's funny it's there hasn't lucre Lecrae look, click right there. Yeah. And so I was just texting him yesterday said, Oh, I just heard this song on my radio station by some dude named Lecrae. About background as a Do you know him? And he's like laughing you know? Yeah, I kind of know him. Right? I think to like asking your kids talking to them about what is it that song? Does that help a family? Does that help the way that you look at women or men? Yes. You know, and and having that conversation about what do you think this song is trying to say?

Nikole Thompson  24:43  
Exactly. Exactly. Because we're allowing them to sing it over themselves, and to say it and to chant it and to me, they're meditating on those lyrics. And so that's what's really important. We did tons and tons of Christian concerts, and my kids did Lecrae and tripleA. And everyone would say, Man, you sure know a lot of Christian rap or you listen to a lot of Christian rap. I think the lyrics behind it are so amazing. Because you have such a limited set of words, you're not using profanity, you're not degrading anyone you're not. You have less words yet to still shape and draw this picture. And there's one song it says the hook line is, it takes a moment to make a memory but a lifetime to forget it. And if we as parents realized how many of our kids are accidentally stumbling upon porn, I talked about in my book, like my husband and I, there's this show loss Ms. Ross. I'm not exactly sure how to pronounce it, but we really liked it. I want to say it was maybe early 1900s A guy gets out of prison, he steals from someone and gets thrown in jail, and somehow he gets out but anyway. Yeah, look, okay, perfect. I pronounced that horrible, don't. Oh, I typed that in, because we're gonna look for it one night. And so I type in L e. S on Netflix, and guess what pops on my screen? I don't know. Tons of girls. Le s, the initials, the beginning of the word lesbian. So there was 15 pictures of beautiful girls. You didn't see any nudity, but it was so much flesh. They were kissing. I don't know, any boy that wouldn't click on that. And that's Netflix. And nowadays, it's hard to tell many girls because of how it's being pushed that when it click on it as well. And right there you have it, folks, if you don't have parental settings on your Netflix, I was looking for that Liam Neeson and all of a sudden that and I wasn't it was on my big screen. Like I was embarrassed and ashamed. And like, Oh, my goodness, or even one time because we're so used to us, you know, 30 plus 40. Plus, we remember cable where they blurted everything out. Right, right. So my cousin had never seen the devil's advocate. And I said, oh, let's watch it. It's a great show, like really showing how we get tripped up in our own pride or money or whatever. Well, I had seen it on cable TV, where everything was blurbed out. Next thing I know there's full on elevator scenes. And I end is barest because I'm watching this with my cousin and her husband recommended it. And there's there's nudity and there's lots of it. But that wasn't what it was when I watched it as a child. And so they have just taken all of the restraints off. And unless you are extremely intentional about guarding what comes on your screen. Like that song says it takes a moment to make a memory but a lifetime to forget it. It is so hard to forget it once you've seen it.

DJ Stutz  28:15  
I was looking at some statistics now that the average age now for when little boys are exposed to pornography first exposed is eight years old right now. We're not that long ago, it was 16. Yep.

Nikole Thompson  28:32  
Yeah, that's what they're saying. Which we do lots of different foster parent training and warnings about everything. And so when you foster parent here in Kentucky, normally kids don't get cell phones, they don't get internet access. You super have to guard stuff. But I remember the very first time I opened YouTube in order to do some praise and worship music before church, after church, my sister came in, I just put YouTube on the TV because I didn't want it for them. My sister came in we were talking and I said girl it is it's really quiet in there. I need to go see. And as soon as I walked in the living room, my foster child was watching some like really violent, bloody fight, whatever. And he had the TV muted, so I couldn't hear it. And when we had to home school, I remember thinking, and I said it pridefully which was wrong, wrong of me. I remember thinking how can parents not know and do better and know what their kids are doing? Well, then COVID happens. We've got these two littles and my one I see him on the computer doing his homework, and he's got his headphones on. And then later when I do a search, he's deleted everything and I ended up being able to retrieve it. But he had been listening to a horrible graphic rap, but it was a program And that was running in the back. And I didn't know it, just so you know what I mean? Like his time was up the computer needed to go to his little brother. And so he hurried up and did some stuff. And I was like, I'm going to check his search history. And that's when I noticed he had deleted everything. And he was 1011. And it was just so naturally just pulling him back in pulling him back in. And so we've just got to do better. As parents, we have to be more intentional. And I

DJ Stutz  30:31  
think a lot of the things that we used to count on as the standard for being family friendly, being kid friendly, whatever. We can't trust even those anymore mean, Disney's gone off the rails. And Nick Jr. I don't know if you've watched a bunch of those. I mean, there's some great ones that are still out there. The Paw Patrol. I haven't found any issues there. The What is it the little Bubble Guppies, the mermaid app kids. Yeah, that's so far, I've seen, you know, pretty good things. But that doesn't mean that we're not continuing to check. Because, like I said, Disney used to be a safe place. Yes, and now it's not. And so you just want to stay on top of things, I guess. And be glad when you find something that is great for your little person and Daniel Tiger and those things. And then finding there are some Christian things that are out there for kids. But it's just taking the time to do the research, and watching with your kids.

Nikole Thompson  31:45  
Yes, that's key. That's key, watching what they're putting in. A lot of times my moms will say someone so is angry, or I am angry or what? And I'll ask them, I'll say What are you watching? Bible tells us faith comes by hearing hearing the Word of God. Well, how does the fruit of spirit come? How does love joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self control comp? Like how do we groom and cultivate those things within us. And so for us, we always did once a week, a true family friendly, true story, Hero victory movie. And some sort of overcome or it didn't always have to be Christian, many times that was, but there are so many of those. And you can find them all the way down for your five year old, it may be about a pet, or a dog, a dog, that's the hero or whatever the case is. But it's out there if you look for it. And when you like your kid, or you watch those movies with your son or daughter. I mean, I remember the first time we watched gifted hands with Dr. Ben Carson. That's when we implemented reading a book every week. His mother made them read two books every week. And so you were talking about playing outside and doing different things in our home when my husband got home and the kids laughed, but they love it now, they had to read for 30 minutes, and they had to exercise for 30 minutes. So it's either go outside and play or if it's snowy, go on the treadmill. Do some jumping jacks. I mean, you had to do something to stay physical. We slit wood, we stacked wood when we lived up by Chicago. But my kids have always been very athletic. They've always been hard workers. And they all love to read. Because knowledge is important. It helps our vocabulary, it helps our communication, it helps our schoolwork. And so I loved that movie, and then it just made sense to my kids when they saw Okay, so in order to achieve things, this is part of it. And when you give that you do your part, I'll do mine you read, then I give you my word, you get to play the game or you get something that you like, it is a reward system isn't that what going to work is you work you get a paycheck, it's a rewards. I mean, a lot of things in life are based on reward systems, not just true, not just you get it because you're entitled to it, but you have to do something to earn it. So I think instilling that in our children young is a wise wise gift.

DJ Stutz  34:18  
I totally agree. And I think to enabling children when you look at what's on the internet and on the socials and all of that, and it's people getting upset, he's going to get what he deserves you're gonna get what you deserve. And and then I'll see someone said, I only want what I deserve. And I'm thinking No, no, you don't really because God's Eyes

Nikole Thompson  34:48  
Yeah, we all deserve um, we all Exactly. I'm better than I used to be, but I still stink. And I tell my ladies that all the time I'm not wearing I used to be, but I still have a long ways to go like nice nasty comes up out of here, I can have judgmental eyes and a quick hot second, I can fall into binge watching Netflix and justify watching trash that I know is no good for me it's of no benefit. Because we're invested, we've started watching a series that didn't have sex, it didn't have violence, it didn't have all this stuff. And then by episode five or six, all of a sudden, it's like, I mean, just off the rails, and I justify watching it because I want to, I want to see what happens. So it's just as easy for me to struggle with things. What am I, and everyone laughs because like I said, we lead, Celebrate Recovery. But I can be a drill sergeant, I am a type A personality. And so a lot of times the law and my time and being a slave to the clock, and my minutes are precious. And it's because I need to get so much done and so much accomplished. But Jesus, every great story was him being interrupted. And so how approachable am I? How approachable do my kids feel like they can come up to me? Because mamas you set the tone for your home. And I was horrible at this. I'm sure there were many times where they felt like they were an inconvenience to me. And so I still have to work on softening my approach, not seeming like it's an imposition, looking at my clock, watch, looking at the clock, looking at the time letting people know that I am present with them when they're speaking to me. And parents, our kids pick up on those social cues as well. And I believe that we need to tell them, hey, I'm talking, it's time to put the phone down. Let's talk let's have a conversation. We need to teach our kids how to be respectful, because that's part of the problem that's going on in our schools. Part of the problem that's going on with adults, we have not taken the time to say not only should you respect me, but you should respect adults. And then if someone's giving you a reason not to respect then that's a separate conversation. But nine times out of 10 The adults are over you and placed in an authority position for a reason. And so how you talk as the child manner, you know, it matters. And so I know parents can do better. And I think that we're getting there slowly but surely I love the groups and the parenting podcasts. And like I said, I was really sucked into yours. And I passed it on to all my moms. No, because it was such a good stop. It really really was I loved it.

DJ Stutz  37:47  
Well, thank you. And we're trying to continue on with that tradition. But when you were talking about and it really kind of hit in my head, how it's very easy to get sucked in to the I'm so busy. I've got to get this stuff done. You're being a nuisance to me, whatever. But then comes the Scripture in the New Testament where Christ said, Let the little children come unto me. And even though he was like crazy, exhausted, he had been up for so long, he had been ministering to all of these people. And even his apostles were saying, yeah, he's tired. You gotta go. Right? Yeah, it's down. And don't let them come Let them come. Yeah, absolutely. And so I just kind of think back on that. I know, through not only just parenting my own kids, my grandkids, and then 20 years of students, little guys, I know that you may not say whatever. But a student picks up very quickly, when a teacher doesn't like them. Yeah, when a parent is too busy for them. Yeah, absolutely. I've even recommended with some of my groups, one of the skills that we use is, if it really is something that you need to get done. You can set a timer, that timer is for you more than the kids. But say I need a half an hour I need an I have to finish this up. Will you hold this timer for me? So when it goes off, you come get me and say mommy or daddy, the timer is off. It's time to play or whatever you know. And yeah, and that really works. Another thing is when you're really tired, and you really need to rest for a little bit. Stretch out on the couch with your kids by throw on the great adventures of Raggedy Ann or whatever, you know, the Paw Patrol, baby or whatever. And you can even oftentimes close your eyes a little bit, but your kids are around you. You're at least Relaxing, letting your body heal from whatever. And your kids still know that they are important to.

Nikole Thompson  40:09  
Yep. Because you're present with them. Yeah, because you're giving them that time. So several of our grandkids while parents and grandkids have stayed with us at different seasons as the girls were getting on their feet when my son and his wife first got married. And we used to joke because I have three grandchildren whom I just so happened to be picking up this afternoon. But the youngest she just she yearned for hugs, oh, she would run to you. And she would just always want hugs. And Freddie would say, oh, is your little love tank empty? Come here, and let me fill it. And we have to see that our kids, they have gauges emotionally of when they're going through hard seasons, and we have to be their safe place. We have to be connected to them. So Mother's Day, a couple of years ago, what I had done on my Facebook, I have one of my picture albums is nothing but great quotes. And on one of the site, Shutterfly, you got free pictures, you just had to pay for shipping. And so I think that we printed out over 1000 of these different quotes. And we printed them in pitcher size, and then put together little photo albums for all of our moms. We've got about 30 moms that have been in and out pretty steady, our towns pretty small. I mean, not super smart, I think we might be 15,000 or 20,000 people. But anyway. And the purpose of that is whip these up around your house and remind yourself, they were just different things that you could say to your kid when they came home from school, you know, the reminder that the three minutes when they get up the three minutes when they come in from school and the three minutes before they go to bed. Those are the most important times in a child's life, how you wake them up, helps set the tone for their day. And I must say a lot of my moms were shocked to hear that. They're like, I've never ever thought about that. And so then we put it in perspective, well, how do you like it, if someone's shaking, you say in Congress, or your spouse rubs your head, and says, Hey, we got to get up, it's time to start a new day. And so knowing that you are that thermometer to your home, you set the temperature. And it was my husband that taught me that I would sit in my room watching sermons. And because my first child who was already gone for college, got up on his own and did everything. And he kind of got his little brothers up, he was already gone. Well, the two younger brothers, I could never seem to get them motivated. And I just couldn't. But the thing is, each kid's not the same. My second kid, what it took to get him motivated was, you're not going to drive if you haven't been up for 45 minutes, fully awake, fully up. And so in order for him to be able to drive to school or drive to work, he had to get up early. And guess what he would do that. And so like finding those little ways to get through to your child, what's important to them, and then you kind of got to dangle it like a carrot in front of them. Or a Twinkie, you know, whatever it is that works. But yeah. And I think that my mom's I have seen so much growth in them because you can't obey what you don't know. If you don't know it. And your parents didn't teach it to you, then how do you break that cycle? Well, by listening to wise words like this,

DJ Stutz  43:39  
yeah, you can't change the whole picture at once. You just can't it doesn't work that way. And so even if you're working one thing at a time, that one thing isn't going to change overnight, either. So so my Shiloh he's this cute. He will he was this cute. Now he's all grown up. But he was probably about four years old carrying a plate from the counter over to the table to for dinner, and he dropped his plate. And he said, Oh, yeah, I'm like, Shiloh, you can't say things like that. That's not that's a bad word. That's not a good word. And he just looked at me straight in my face. And he said, Well, you say it. He's got me there. So yeah, that's when I really started on a quest of mine to try and not i What's good for me may not be what's right for everyone else, but you have decided I've got to be better. And so I wanted to quit cursing like all curse words. Even the very little and I never had any big ones. But it's taken me years and on rare occasions something will pop out I've got it down to maybe once in a month, something will pop out. But that's still not my goal. But look at how many years

Unknown Speaker  45:09  
I have. Absolutely, yeah.

DJ Stutz  45:12  
So anyway, I used to joke around because I really only had three words, and I was my mom will got asked me one time and I said, Mom, you can find that word in the Bible. I'm not going to feel too bad about it. But I guess usage comes into play quite a bit. But things like I'm just starting on July 25, this challenge on helping parents to think about and get on the path to quit yelling at their kids. Because that's something my grandma was a yeller. My mom was a yeller, I would yell at. It's just when was the last time you felt really close to someone who was screaming?

Nikole Thompson  45:58  
Oh, good point. Absolutely.

DJ Stutz  46:02  
Or I hear people say, my kids don't listen, unless I yell at them. Well, that's because you've taught them that you're not serious. Unless you're yelling. You have to change your thought process, and then give the children time to get used to this new to adjust adjustments. I remember this was probably about four, four or five years ago, I had a class and they were pretty wild. They were super low income, you know, English as a second language, a lot of them. And so I would just kind of get quieter and quieter. And then kids be like, what she's saying. And so they'd come closer. Well, one time the kids were just doing their thing, you know? And one of the little girls said, Guys, be quiet. She's whispering. That means she's really mad. That's good. Yeah, but then, and that's when it really hit me. Wow, I didn't realize the impact that can have on the kids. And they was getting the same message. That I'm really serious guys. You need to whatever. Yeah. And then if I was yelling, or if I was whispering, they did learn the difference. Absolutely. Yeah.

Nikole Thompson  47:32  
And self control is huge is so huge. I often talk about when Tony showed up at my doorstep. And I had, again been strung out on drugs. Freddie was there, Freddie was only five and Tony wanted to come in and talk and I, I was sure that he was going to tout his Bible at me hoity toity Christian, and I didn't want to hear a lecture. And Freddie was like, Please let him come in. Please let him come in. And so I did. And Freddie was on my nerves, and jumping up and down. So excited to see his dad. And I because I didn't have any money. I didn't have any drugs. I didn't have any alcohol. Again, this is my addiction stage. Before I knew it, a whole slang, slew of curse words came out towards my son flippity, blank, blank, blank, go into the other room. And now my five year old hangs his head down. Big old crocodile tears are in his eyes, and he's about to go into the other room and my husband said, Stop, Friday, come here. And he picks Friday up and he begins to pet him and rub him and run his fingers through his hair. And he was like, Freddy, mommy and daddy love you. And mommy and daddy want to hear what you have to say. But first, mommy and daddy have to talk. And so Mommy and Daddy needs you to be the obedient little boy that you are, go into the other room. And when mommy and daddy are done talking, we'll come get you. And so for me, I always quote Romans to for the kindness and goodness of God, you know, wounds man draws us into repentance. But truthfully, it was that self control of the fruit of the Spirit because that's a hard one. You know, anybody can say that they are walking in a calmness or a peace that passes all understanding. But when you and I mean me, yell at a little innocent child, causing him to break down and cry, and instead of being scolded for my behavior, my husband covers my sin by speaking words of life and love over Freddie. And then when he sends Freddie in the other room, he says, and this is what made me knew that he had really changed. He said, Nikki it is our job as parents to speak life over our children to call out the good because this world is going to kick them down over and over and over again. And we have to speak life. And Freddie is a good boy and Freddie is an obedient A boy. And so these are the things I want to show you. These are the things I want to teach you. But it all begins with Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Are you willing to change your people, your places and your things, and that's what I do. Like I, I instantly wanted what he had. And he was my life coach. Like he showed me how to transition from being a very angry addicted parents that let her kids do anything. And, and I'm very blessed. I got sober when they were young before they hit teenage years. And you know, my oldest, I know, you had said, one of yours has become a police officer. Yep, I've got pre med. He's got his bachelor's in kinesiology, his Master's in Public Science. And he's going on to med school, I've got one who's at a headform. And like, manager type over I mean, just hundreds of employees out in Kansas. And then I've got Freddy, who's in the Air Force over in Italy, like called me yesterday sending me the most beautiful pictures. But that would have been very different. Not only had I not gotten clean, but had I not changed what I was doing parenting wise, yeah, because you can be a dry drunk, you can be a dry drunk and be bitter and be angry and scream and yell at your kids. And guess what, it's not going to help them thrive. Right. And that's our job, we've got a call that good out of them.

DJ Stutz  51:39  
And you can set boundaries without being angry and yelling and demeaning, or whatever, you know what I mean? You absolutely being gentle, and kind doesn't mean no boundaries, or the kid gets to do whatever they want. But you can do that with kindness, and with love and acceptance, and I understand you're upset, we still don't kick the dog, or whatever it is. But then then we give them other things that they can do, instead of kicking the dog or destroying things, or whatever. So where can people find you?

Nikole Thompson  52:29  
Okay, 50 shades the truth. And so that's the number five zero shades of truth. I know you're not filming or anything, but I can send you the link. So it's dot com. So five, zero shades of That's my website. And then I mean, I'm on everything Facebook and Instagram. And my husband and I have our very own nonprofit, it's called prisoner to preacher. And he's an ordained pastor, and we speak at recovery houses, and he'll be going into the jails. COVID kind of threw everything off. We travel around and we speak at different churches and share our testimony and just want people to know that it is okay to change and rain in the horns, and that there is a great outcome on the other side of that. Because we're living proof God restored our marriage, we set boundaries for our kids. All of my kids moved out at 17. Because we were the parents that wouldn't let our kids drive in cars alone with girls, you know, we let them date. But we didn't i And it's funny. Maybe I was too much law. Looking back, I don't know. And what I always told my kids, here's a tip for you parents. You can tell your kids when they're grown, you hope and pray they do better. But as for right now you're going to have to answer to God for how you raise them while they were living in your home. And this is how you see best. This is how you see fit. And that's what we told our boys. And so they all moved out at seven. Like I said, but they've been fully functioning adults. I mean, they basically don't want to come back and live in our base. But yes, prisoner to preacher dot o RG it's a nonprofit. And then 50 shades, the and my books available on Amazon. And I just I love sharing what God's done. We don't have all the answers but together we can definitely learn from other people's mistakes of not what to continue to keep doing that is not that's not producing right results.

DJ Stutz  54:46  
Exactly. All right. Well, Nikki, I end every episode with the same question. How would you describe a successful parent?

Nikole Thompson  54:58  
Wow, you didn't give me a heads up on that one I know. I think for me it's loving my kids enough that I want them to be truly happy. More than I want myself to be happy. But I want that within the bounds of the Bible. Because I know that the parameters and the boundaries that God has given us, he is a Good Good Father, and He loves us. And so he has a great life plan designed for us. And so often I will tell my kids, if I ever see something that I know is contrary to the Word of God, I'll just say that's not God's best, I really wish that you would reconsider that. And so for me, it is for them to find happiness within the parameter of God's word, a relationship with Jesus. And so if I have exhibited that well for them, and taught them to have their own and not playing to mine, then that I've done a good job as a parent.

DJ Stutz  56:05  
Yeah, it's that independent faith, rather than Yeah, my faith is based on mom or dad.

Nikole Thompson  56:12  
Absolutely. Absolutely.

DJ Stutz  56:15  
Well, Nikki, I've love talking to you. I hope that we're connecting, and absolutely was some things to do in the future. But yeah, thank you so much for being part of our program today.

Nikole Thompson  56:31  
Absolutely. And like I said, I'm continuing to share with all my moms because I love it good stuff.

DJ Stutz  56:36  
Yeah. Everybody share?

Nikole Thompson  56:38  
Absolutely, absolutely.

DJ Stutz  56:41  
All right, we'll talk to you later. Nikki had so many things to share about the work that she does, and how she has come to the other side of darkness. We could have talked for hours. And actually, we have talked for hours, with a few conversations outside of doing these recordings. But I wonder if you took a day or two and actually tracked, the amount of time your kids are spending on screen? I wonder what you would find out? Is it more than you think is less than you think? Would you be surprised at the times that they're watching rather than being outside or other things. And then I'm wondering, if you watched a few programs, within without your kids just things that your kids enjoy watching what they watch when they're on screen, and you're trying to get dinner ready, or you're trying to just have them be quiet in the car, right? I get all of that I really, really do. So I would say maybe watch a few programs with your kids and without your kids. And just watch it with that eye on looking for those messages that may teach your children that the values of your family aren't reasonable or socially acceptable, or there are some that will flat out tell them that your family values are just wrong. And perhaps I don't know, I'm thinking about that. Maybe that will be my fault challenge.

I don't know, I'll have to think about that. But if you want to know more about Nikki and the work that she does, all of her information is in the show notes below. So I challenge you to look at that and click on this. And speaking of challenges, I know that as I was raising my kids, and I had a habit of raising my voice too much, and my mom raised her voice a lot. My grandma's raised her voice a lot. And it's a hard habit to overcome. And I'm wondering if you could stop and think about when was the last time that you really paid attention to someone who was yelling at you? Or were you just thinking how do I make them stop? Right? Were you inspired to draw closer to that person? Or did you feel comfortable with your relationship with that person? Or do you feel like your kids don't listen to you unless you're yelling at them? Or would you like to learn how to get them to listen, as you just talked to them? Well, July 25, that's in just two weeks, I am going to start with a 10 day challenge to help parents learn tools and techniques to stop yelling at their kids and build strong relationships with strong boundaries in peace and kindness. Now, we know that it's not going to totally go away in 10 days. And in fact, my opinion is it's never going to 100% go away because honestly, there are times that you need to yell. They're running into the street, right? They are gonna fall off they're not paying attention and they're going to fall off a hill or off of some playground equipment. So there are some times when you do need to raise your voice. And when it is rare, when they don't hear you raise your voice, often, you will find that it is way more effective. Well, these are some of the things that we're going to be talking about in the challenge. So during these 10 days, we're going to connect with five live events one every other day on a special Facebook group, just for you and the others who are looking to have this calm, loving home for everyone. We want it to be a calm, loving home for your kids. But we want you to feel that peace and lack of stress that comes when the volume comes down. And so if you're interested, you can just go to my website, and that's the and you can register for this free resource. And I'm going to put that link down in the show notes. And so you can actually just click on it there from the show notes. And we're going to just have so much fun, we're going to learn a ton. And we're going to feel better about ourselves as we get on a different track with our kids and with our relationships. And so I keep asking, but while you're down there, looking over those show notes and all of the nice juicy stuff we have down there. Go ahead and leave a rating and review and follow the podcast. When you take the time to give that podcast a five star review and a rating. It makes the podcast easier to find. And then we're able to help more families. 

And I also want you to remember to join me every Tuesday night from my Facebook Live event. So here's how it goes. The new podcast comes out on Mondays. And so that gives you all day Monday and all day Tuesday to listen to the podcast. And then come Tuesday night. And join us at the live to ask questions. Share your stories, and some of your thoughts about the episode. What did you like what you didn't like? What? What inspired you to have a question? What maybe did you not understand or get? So I'm no longer doing the lives on the little hearts Academy USA page on Facebook. So make sure you're going to the right page. The page that I'm doing these on now is on Facebook, and it's Imperfect Heroes podcast every Tuesday night 7pm Mountain Time. And next week, my guest is James Heppner, and we're going to be talking about how finding our own inner child helps us become better parents. So until next time, let's find joy in parenting.

Transcribed by

Nikole ThompsonProfile Photo

Nikole Thompson

Author / Ministry Leader

Nikole Thompson is a speaker, writer, and ministry leader, alongside her husband, Anthony. They are the directors of Celebrate Recovery at Covenant Community Church in Madisonville, KY, where they reside. Having nine grown children, and 12 grandchildren, so far biblical marriage and parenting is not just something she speaks about, but something she lives. Passionate about sharing the gospel, it was 6 years ago they stepped out in faith, and launched Prisoner2preacher - their very own nonprofit. 50 Shades of Truth is Nikole’s personal testimony of walking away from a rebellious lifestyle, and now chasing after God.
“50 Shades of Truth'' unveils the life that Nikki lived before… and after… God’s amazing deliverance and transformation from drugs and alcohol and all of the sinful bondages that result from that experience. Follow along in her new book and behold how merciful and gracious God chooses to be towards those of us who have found ourselves in the lowest places of deep darkness, far away from His wonderful light. Proving, once again, that the sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus Christ, was more than sufficient to save even the worst of sinners.