5 Great Parenting Resources That Will Change Your Family

Parenting. This isn’t an easy job, friends. There are days – in my now seventeen years of parenting- when I feel as if I’m finally getting it right. And then the next day, something will happen, and I’m pretty sure I’m…not.

Christian parenting books

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Before we had kids, Jason and I used to play this game. We would look at parents interacting with their kids- at church, in the store, at the movie theater, out to dinner (basically all of those places we used to actually be able to go when we didn’t have kids)- and we would say, “Oh, we’ll never do that with our kids.” A few times we’d nod appreciatively and affirm that “Yes, that’s the way we’ll parent.”

Let me assure you that we’ve long since stopped that little game. Now we’re too busy hoping that young couples aren’t watching us and assigning us to the first category.

Over the years, as we’ve tried to figure out this job of parenting, there have been a few resources that really helped. Some parenting books are lofty and full of idealistic ideas about what Christian parenting should be with no real, specific information about how to get there. I want examples, people. I want some practical, hands-on advice about things we can do to put the principles of Christian parenting into practice. The Bible is full of good nuggets about parenting. But sometimes I need a little help incorporating those in a practical way in what’s going on today. The best parenting resources get this right.

Another thing that is very important to me in parenting books and resources is that the strategies they talk about and the biblical principles behind the strategies need to focus on the heart. I’ve seen examples again and again and again of parents who learned to control their kids’ behavior with threats, punishment, rewards, or even guilt. But they never learned to reach out to their kids’ hearts. And when those kids get away from whatever or whoever controlled their behavior, they break away from all biblical teaching because their hearts were never convinced of what is right. They never had a personal, heart-changing relationship with God. I want parenting books and resources that deal with the heart.

Here are five of my all time favorite parenting resources. I thought about arranging them in order by importance, but that really isn’t fair. During certain stages of life, we’ve needed some more than others. And there are times that one of these did a really good job of explaining the why and another was a great complement to explain the how. So…here- in no particular order- are five great parenting resources that will change your family.

Parenting books

The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo

When I first began a ladies’ Bible study using this book, I wondered if it would be applicable to me at all. My kids weren’t angry. They just misbehaved. But this book, in dealing with matters of the heart instead of outward behavior, showed me that often the behaviors that we are struggling with in our kids- disrespect, bitterness, aggressiveness- often come from anger. And kids don’t know how to deal with or express this anger. The Heart of Anger helps parents to understand the heart cause of these behaviors and helps them to teach children how to search their own hearts and look to God for change.

Christian parenting books

Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel

I needed this book. Jason and I had taken a parenting class at our church when we were newly married. We had no kids at the time, and I wasn’t even pregnant. But we were being prepared! This class presented biblical parenting as being very rigid and very harsh at times. Neither of us felt good about what we learned.
Fast forward some years until we actually had young children. We knew we didn’t want what we had learned from the class we took before. We knew instinctively that the methods we had learned there weren’t the way we should parent. And we had clear ideas from reading the Bible, from watching other parents, and from other parenting resources about what we did want for our family. But Grace-Based Parenting helped us to put those feelings into words.
The book is all about touching the hearts of our children, not by rigid, authoritarian parenting that demands right behavior and criticizes wrong, but by offering our children grace, just as God parents us.

Grace-based parenting book

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

I was introduced to this book in a ladies’ Bible study as well. As I read through it, it truly resonated with me. Tedd Tripp explains what it means to heart-parent, to seek to touch your child’s heart, not just to change their behavior. He explains why this method of parenting is ultimately more effective and how parenting in this way guides our children spiritually into a personal relationship with God- our ultimate desire for all of our kids.
I later read the book with Jason and we used it to lead a discussion group at our church. There is a group study guide for it, so it’s good for couples or church groups to do a deeper study.

Shepherding a Child's Heart book

Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide for Parenting Teens by Paul David Tripp

This book is written by the brother of Tedd Tripp above. Both of these men are godly men who speak much about parenting and family. We were able to hear Paul David Tripp in person at a homeschool convention one year.
Age of Opportunity takes many of the same principles from Shepherding Your Child’s Heart and fleshes them out for parents with teens. It’s sometimes easy to get discouraged when you read some parenting books, but you have older kids. You read and God touches your heart with all of these great principles. But all of the ideas in the book are geared toward parenting younger kids, assuming that you’re doing this from the beginning of parenting. And that isn’t always the case. So when a book particularly speaks to parents of teens and gives principles and practical ideas for dealing with that age group, it’s very encouraging.

Age of Opportunity book- teen parenting

Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told by Dr. Scott Turransky and Joanne Miller

Does the very title of this book not just blow you away? How many times have you wondered what it would take to get your child to do that chore he hates without your nagging, without your threatening, without your guilting, without your harsh consequences? Wouldn’t you love to motivate your child?
Although I recommend all five of these books highly, if you only have time to read one, read this one. At least read it first and then make time for the others.
One reason I recommend it so highly is because, having been on the launch team for several resources from Dr. Scott Turransky and Joanne Miller, I love the vision they have, their desire to help parents parent biblically, and their love for parents and families. The organization that they write from is the National Center for Biblical Parenting, and it has many resources for parents and for churches to use to teach parents.
The other reason that I recommend Motivate Your Child so strongly is that the authors do a great job of making things practical. Sometimes I’ll be reading a great parenting book and nodding in agreement with the principle the author is trying to get across. But I read and reread, and I just can’t quite connect the dots between the principle and the action I actually need to take. Motivate Your Child connects those dots. It give very practical suggestions. I reviewed the book here at its launch. And I loved it so much that I did a five days series with my favorite insights from the book.

Christian parenting books
The authors of Motivate Your Child have also published a companion book- Motivate Your Child Action Plan. Although the first book has practical suggestions, the companion book is even more practical. It’s a workbook of sorts that you can use to put into practice what you learned in Motivate Your Child.  I was able to be a part of the launch of this great tool as well.

Heart-parenting books
Parenting is hard. But we don’t have to do it alone. Christian authors and publishers who are parents have gone before. And they’ve written some great books to help us along the way. 
Do you have any favorite parenting books?
More about parenting…
Christian parenting resources
Christian parenting teens

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