Posted by: Louise | February 12, 2010

My favourite parenting books

Since Mark and I started out on the journey of parenting I’ve had more joy than I could have ever imagined. There have also been times when I have been stretched further than ever before in terms of patience and on more than one occasions I’ve questioned my ability to do this job well.

When I first got pregnant I got a few books and read online all that I could about this little life and how to look after it. When they were newborns I read about what was the best age to start solid food, information on how to encourage their development, researched the best toys….. When Ewan turned two I realized that the pregnancy and infant stage were in many ways the easy parts. Now in front of me I had a living breathing life that had very clear ideas and a strong will. Again I turned to books to find out what might be the best way to tackle this little bundle of exuberant energy.

After reading about 10 parenting books, mainly written by mainstream Christian authors I have two that stand out as being most useful and challenging for me. They both challenged me to look to the Bible for answers for parenting instead of popular opinions or techniques. Over two posts I’m going to review both of them. The first is Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp.

The main thing that I took away from the book was my need to address my child’s heart and not just his behaviour. Our actions and reactions show what condition our heart is in.

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

For example I could say to Ewan “Please don’t touch the cookies on the counter, we are keeping them for when your friends arrive” and then as soon as I turn my back Ewan is munching merrily his way through a cookie. I could discipline him for eating the cookie, but the heart issue is his disobedience and unwillingness to submit to my God given authority over him. I need to help him see the condition of his heart that resulted in the disobedient behavior

Dr Tripp also encourages his readers to asses “what is my goal or motivation as I train and discipline my kids?” He highlights the pitfalls of some common goals, for example, so the parent can look good, or so you child will be saved, or have a high self-esteem, or a good education….. He says that

“Teaching your children to live for the glory of God must be your overarching objective. You must teach your children that for them, as for all mankind, life is found in knowing and serving the true and living God. The only worthy goal for life is to glorify God and enjoy him forever”pg 56

It was useful for me to assess, what my goals and motivation are.

A third and very useful theme was looking at how to discipline. He warned against common methods of Pop Psychology, Behaviour Modification, Emotionalism, Punitive Correction and Erratic Eclecticism. Instead of these things he states that

“A Biblical approach to children involves two elements that you weave together. One element is rich, full communication. The other is the rod”pg71

Here is one of his examples of full communication:.

” Most parents have had this sort of conversation with their children:

Mom: Why did you hit your sister?

Junior: (pausing and staring at the floor) I don’t know.

Mom: (exasperated) What do you mean, “I don’t know”

Junior: I don’t know

…….. The “Why did you…” line of questioning never works with children (and rarely with adults). Here are some more productive questions;

1) “What were you feeling when you hit your sister?”

2) “What did your sister do to make you mad?”

3) “Help me understand how hitting her seemed to make things better”

4) ‘What was the problem with what she was doing to you” (you need not deny the fact your child was sinned against. Perhaps he was sinned against. Let him tell you about it.)

5) “In what other ways could you have responded?”

6) “How to you think your response reflected trust or lack of trust in God’s ability to care for and protect you?” pg 77-78

There are in total three chapters on communication and a very helpful chapter on the “When, why and how of spanking”.

This book is an excellent resource and I believe it helped me to think more Biblically about my role as a mother and my responsibility. I would recommend it highly to any parent wanting a Biblical review of parenting.

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Responses

  1. One of my favorites too! Can’t wait to find out what the other one is…

  2. […] Parenting book- Number 2 Ages a go I wrote here about one of my favourite parenting books – Shepherding a Child’s Heart. I have one […]


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