I’m pretty sure one of my blogging friends recommended this book but I can’t remember who. To whomever it was, thank you. I’m really glad I read this book!
The book is basically written in response to a heavy rules-based parenting style, where a fear of worldly influences over one's children is paramount. The author encourages parents to raise their children in light of the gospel and to consider as a role model the way that God parents us. Children need to be allowed to fail. Children need to know they are loved unconditionally. This does not leave room for tolerance of explicit sin. Children also need to experience consequences for sin. But children need to know they are loved no matter what.
The first part of the book discusses the basic needs of children—the need for security, significance, and strength. The second part of the book encourages parents to provide homes where their children are given the freedom to be different, to be vulnerable, to be candid (even about a parent's own flaws), and the freedom to make mistakes.
Here’s a quote from the book:
“Your children’s propensity toward sin shouldn’t surprise you; it shouldn’t threaten you; and it shouldn’t even really bother you. You know you’ve given birth to sinners, children just like the parents who sired them. You realize that your children have a bent toward selfishness, stubbornness, and lawlessness—exactly the kind of people Christ loves and for whom He died. By acknowledging your children’s bent toward sin from the outset, you can encourage your children to struggle with their sin out in the open where you can talk about it and direct them to the power of Christ. And when the children are actually sinning, grace makes it easy for you to have open, candid, and vulnerable discussions about these areas where they struggle. Your children will be able to talk to you about internal battles with jealously, lust, greed, or anger.”
Legalistic parenting is much easier than trying to discern the true intent and heart of your child, allowing your child to be different and make mistakes, and learning to trust God along the way.
To purchase this book, you can go to the Family Matters website, here.