My sister is back for her final Tuesday post.
As this is my last guest post in this series, I thank you for graciously receiving me and for all of the additional book recommendations you gave in your comments! It has been a blessing to share the joy of reading with you!
In this post, we will shift gears a little bit as I recommend my favorite parenting books for you to read. The parenting books that I have found to be most helpful are those that are not overly concerned about strategies for changing a child’s outward behavior but are more concerned about reaching the heart of a child with the truths of the Bible. Ephesians 6:4b says, “ . . .but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” The resources listed below balance disciplining children for misbehavior with training children in righteousness or right behavior.
The Bible -
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp – This is my all-time favorite parenting book! My husband and I have taught through this series four times at our church using Tedd Tripp’s videos. This book taught us to use disciplining times with our children as opportunities to teach them about their hearts, sin, obedience, and the hope of the gospel. The clear, Biblical communication that we have had with our children during these times has built a strong bond of trust and love between us and our children. We have used these times to point their hearts toward the cross and to the forgiveness of Jesus as the only hope for sinners like us. This book not only gives foundations for Biblical child-rearing but also gives training procedures and methods for each stage of childhood.
Don’t Make Me Count to Three! by Ginger Plowman – This book often quotes Tedd Tripp and expands on the methods laid out in Shepherding a Child’s Heart by giving practical advice from a mom’s perspective. It was so helpful in showing how to use specific scriptures when training our children toward righteousness. I loved the day-to-day life examples that Ginger Plowman gives in this book as it so related to what I was dealing with in our home with our children. I also appreciated the topics covered in the appendix: How to Become a Christian, How to Lead Your Child to Christ, and How to Pray for Your Child.
Wise Words for Moms by Ginger Plowman – This chart-like book is a handy resource that gives scripture verses that you can use to discuss with your children specific struggles that they are having with sin or wrong behavior. The chart is based on the scripture Eph. 4:22-23, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitudes of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
What I like about this tool is it gives verses for reproof of the sin to be “put off”, and it also gives verses of encouragement for the action that needs to be “put on”. For example, my son Johnathan struggles with “worry”. We have asked him the questions on the chart like “Who is all powerful? What can God do about this situation?”. We then had him read the verse about anxiety, Matthew 6:31, followed by a verse about trust, I Peter 5:7. There are also additional verses that have been so helpful in discussing this struggle with him and encouraging him to trust our sovereign God in all things.
Transformed Into His Likeness by Armand P. Tiffe – In the author’s own words, this is a handbook for putting off sin and putting on righteousness. It follows a similar, chart-like format to Wise Words for Moms but is an expanded version as it gives scriptures for over 100 different topics ranging from teen/adult problems to problems that are unique to young children. This has been a useful resource not only in parenting but also when counseling others with Biblical advice.
Gospel-Powered Parenting by William P. Farley – This book differs from other parenting books in that almost the entire first half of it deals with the parent’s own relationship with God. We can not be effective parents if we do not have a thorough understanding of the gospel and a correct fear of God.
This author emphasizes the importance of parents living out their faith in their homes and marriages so that children know what it means to love God and live for Him. This book also stresses the importance of fathers as heads of the home and the importance of the home being the primary location of spiritual training. As I read this book, I was so grateful that my own parents lived out their faith in our home and that they were a wonderful examples for me to follow as a parent.
A Mom After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George – This book, like all of the ones above, stresses reaching your child’s heart and the importance of teaching Biblical truths. Each chapter ends with a list of practical tips like “debrief Sunday school lessons” or “create a family prayer list” and includes “From a Dad’s Heart” sections written by Elizabeth’s husband, Jim.
Chapter 10 in this book was the most useful for me as it gave the top five things to pray for your children: salvation, their friends, their purity, their schoolwork, and their church involvement. I have adapted this list slightly for my children and pray for their friends, their future mate, their future vocation, and their ministry. I often pray through this list for my children after I drop them off at school in the morning or as I am falling asleep at night.
What an awesome responsibility it is to be a parent! I hope that these books will be a resource for you as you strive to bring up your children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Thank you sis so much for this entire series! I love the depth of knowledge you have on books! I’ve read most of the above books you mentioned and especially liked and used the Wise Words Chart and Keith and I led the Shepherding a Child’s Heart book and handbook study in our home long ago too.
I took a picture of the rest of my favorites but it’s missing quite a few I could not locate, I’ve loned out or just forgot about until after I took the picture oops! If I made a stack of all the parenting books I’ve read - they would hit the ceiling (this is not an exaggeration – I left at least 40+ books on the shelf as I pulled these ones out) but trust me – it’s not strongly evident in my children lol! …yet right? :)
I’ve been a major seeker of wisdom in this area and I’ve read many from the library or borrowed from friends too. My mom once told me to slow down the reading and work on the applying. lol! Most of these books I devoured before I started blogging – since blogging my reading time has dwindled but much of the heart of my writing comes from these foundations.
Anyhow, I love all of Doorposts materials (but they are huge and spiral bound so they didn’t work for the pic). I also love Sally Clarkson’s Educating the Wholehearted Child. It is by far my favorite homeschooling book. I love Elizabeth Elliot’s The Shaping of a Christian Family (it’s been rained on and is a mess but I’ve read it at least 3 times through – it’s her biography of her childhood years) and I have quite a few books by Dobson and Focus on the Family I enjoyed including Juli Slattery’s Guilt Free Parenting. I think that’s enough for now!
Thanks for following this series! Please chime in! What are some of your favorite parenting books?