I often get asked for suggestions of good parenting resources. I guess it’s because as parents we feel the weight of responsibility but we don’t always feel confident. So here are five books about raising kids that I’ve found helpful. All are by Christian authors although not all are overt in the Christian principles that have shaped the author’s worldview. They aren’t necessarily new but they have stood the test of time.
Silk suggests that for many parents our goal is to get children to obey and comply. Loving our Kids on Purpose makes the goal relationship. This is not however a ‘how to get your child to be your friend’ guide. It is a how-to manual for helping your child choose for themselves to take responsibility rather than just comply with your orders. Based significantly on the work of Foster Cline and Jim Fay and the importance of natural consequences and empathy, this book revolutionized my parenting.
Growing Great Families by Ian and Mary Grant
Authors of several excellent parenting books, Ian and Mary Grant offer readers plenty of great ideas about setting the culture and atmosphere of your family. The Grants paint a picture of family as a team and children as contributors, not just takers. Extremely practical and written with children from the early years right through to the teen years in mind, it is a book you can come back to again and again.
Different Children, Different Needs by Dr Charles F. Boyd
“Too often we assume that what is ‘best’ means that our children should live their lives according to the script that has worked for us. Without realizing it, we try to create carbon copies of ourselves.” Dr Boyd takes the D.I.S.C. model (a behavioural style tool) and applies it to parenting. His main premise is that each of us is uniquely wired but as parents we can fall into the trap of parenting children to our own behavioural style without accounting for theirs. This book is particularly helpful where those styles are opposite and we find ourselves clashing or frustrated with our child.
Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony
This is a book on how to create an environment where spiritual truths can become part of your child’s identity. Rather than focusing on behaviour management like many parenting books, Anthony’s focus is on inner transformation. The stories she uses are honest and authentic. Anthony asks, “What would it look like if we parented a generation of young people who were defined not by what they didn’t do but by what they did… Without this supernatural transformation we may have moral or obedient children, but we don’t necessarily have spiritual children.” Looking at various environments parents can create to put their child on the path of the Devine; Anthony gives empowering direction to meeting the goal of nurturing our children in their spiritual lives.
The Resilience Doughnut: The Secret of Strong Kids by Lyn Worsley
Resilience is the word when it comes to raising children today and while it may be the goal, how to get there is not always obvious. Clinical psychologist Lyn Worsley has developed a simple and practical resilience-building tool which she outlines in this book. Worsley looks at beliefs and then outlines seven factors that are found in kids who face adversity with resilience. She asserts that focusing on areas of strength helps adults right through to children as young as 5 to see that it is possible to thrive despite difficult circumstances. Easy to read and a helpful way of thinking.
I’m not saying I agree with every word in each of these books. All of them have a sentence or a chapter where I raised my eyebrow or said aloud “Really?” But each of them have caused me to think, reflect, pray and have helped me in my parenting. Perhaps they will be of help to you too as you build effective parenting and caring relationships with kids.