As I shared recently, I am reading the new The Christian Parenting Handbook right now and I am loving it. The book was co-authored by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, the co-founders of the National Center for Biblical Parenting. This organization was formed after seeing the need for biblical, practical parenting resources. And this book fills a void for that need also!
I think that is probably what I love most about this book: the practical ideas. So many times as a parent I feel such a loss. I often find myself thinking, “I have absolutely no idea what to do!” Now, if I could just fit this book into my pocket and carry it with me everywhere I go. 🙂 Or I probably would not even need to put it in my pocket, I would just need to keep it out at all times.
The chapters in this book are each centered around one of the 50 heart based strategies for parents. So, the chapters are short, practical and span the different ages of our children. Some chapters touch on topics dealing with teenagers, some deal with topics concerning other ages.
One of my favorite chapters is actually the very first chapter: Consistency is Overrated. Immediately I loved this book. 🙂 As a mom, and a mom that struggles with depression, I have struggled greatly with consistency. On my worst days, it was all I could do to put food on the table for my kids to eat. Being consistent in discipline (and anything else) was out of the question. Not even on my radar. Having 3 children in 3 years meant that it was not physically possible for me to be consistent with each of them 100% of the time. Ok, even 75% of the time.
So, for years, I have waivered between feelings of guilt and failure when I hear others talk about how important it is to be consistent. Reading this first chapter was like a breath of fresh air and filled me with so much GRACE and HOPE. “Parents often feel discouraged because they can’t be consistent. They feel like failures. It’s time to rethink some of the underlying assumptions proposed in many parenting approaches. In fact, the reality is that consistency is overrated.” from the Christian Parenting Handbook.
This chapter mentions the heart factor behind consistency. So many of our kids misbehaviors are due to heart issues: lying, cheating, hitting, shoving, etc. The book is not suggesting that behavior modification is always a bad thing, but in matters of the heart (which are so many in parenting) it won’t give long term and lasting change. We have to dig deeper. We have to do something more (or different) than just be consistent. Focusing on the heart does take creativity, it may look different each and every time you deal with a child and their problem issue. We all learn best through life experiences, and this is no different for children.
“When consistency is unreasonable, don’t let a lack of it produce guilt. There are other principles that are more important. Embrace a heart-based approach to parenting and you’ll see lasting change in your children.” from the Christian Parenting Handbook.
Here are a few examples of more topics covered in this book:
- identifying character problems/traits to help address problems
- building motivation
- helping children gain responsibility
- help for whiners
- teaching spiritual truths creatively
More info & opportunities about the book: