My List of Excellent Christian Parenting Books

 

My sister is back for her final Tuesday post.

 Jennifer writes:

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.”
~ Jennifer

__________________________________________________________________

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?

Walk with the King,

Comments

  1. My favorite is “What The Bible Says About Child Training” by Richard Fugate. It is an oldie, but a goodie!

  2. The parenting books that I have greatly appreciate come from the National Center for Biblical Parenting. They aren’t all that well-known, but I love their Scriptural approach that is also very practical, tangible and down to earth. They always give lots of real life examples that help you see ways in which you can implement the concepts they discuss. Parenting Is Heart Work is very similar to Shepherding a Child’s Heart; I found Shepherding to be a good book ,but so theoretical that I didn’t really know how to put it into practice. The NCBP book expands on the theology but in a applicable way.

    • Meghan Humt says:

      I just heard the authors, Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller speak at a conference and was truly blessed by their wisdom. They have searched the scriptures to see how God and Jesus disciples their people and used that as a basis for their advice. I am reading their book about honor in the family called “Say goodbye to whining, complaining and bad attitudes in you and your children”. They also have great hands on books for families and churches to teach the kids about honor and other biblically based character traits while getting to the heart issues. I highly recommend you check out their website and sign up for their weekly emails!

      • I have Scott Turanksy’s book “Say Goodbye to whining, complaining and bad attitudes” – loved it! :) There’s just too many good ones to include here lol!

    • Bernadette says:

      I love Turansky and Miller’s books! “Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids” is awesome, and we’re using the Hero Training Camp curriculum this summer at our house. It’s a wonderful resource for teaching my kids how to be heroes by honoring other people by treating them as special, doing more than what’s expected, and having a good attitude. I love how they address heart issues rather than just behavior changes.

    • Totally agree! I love their books, I’m reading the third one, and have another on the way from Amazon. They focus on character building, they’re my favorites! But I also love a lot of the ones listed here, and have some that are on this list on the way from Amazon as well. Excited to read through them! Parenting is HARD work, and I feel so grateful for these books, since my family was not able to model me Christ-centered parenting. I need all the advice and help I can get! But my husband always says I should focus more on my Bible reading than reading these books written by man.
      I understand his point, but I guess I’m always looking for that quick fix, or encouragement from real life situations that I can relate to and feel that I will be able to get through this.

  3. Effective Parenting in a Defective World by Chip Ingram is outstanding! I love this list…thank you!

  4. Awesome list! Many I’ve read myself but most of them I do not own. My goal is to read one marriage/parenting book for every decorating/organizing book I read {and I LOVE to decorate and organize}. I’m going to jot all these down on my “Books to Read” list and hopefully tackle them one at a time.

    http://www.domesticblissdiaries.com

  5. Many of my favorites on this list. I have a list on my website in the Titus 2 area. I also enjoyed “Everyday Talk” by John Younts.

    • I have Everyday Talk Sarah! It was one that I pulled for the pile and then put back! I can’t include them ALL lol! I’m seriously a parenting book junkie lol!

  6. I love Dr. Leman’s books….especially his book Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. Such a helpful resource for when you are about to go crazy.

    I’ve also heard from my mom to stop reading so many parenting books, so you aren’t alone! ;)

  7. We LOVE Growing Kids God’s Way by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. It is not so much just a book but a parenting curriculum with videos. We have gone though it twice so far with several other couples and get so much out of it each time. The focus is not just teaching children how to behave but the reasons why they should behave in a that manner.

  8. Early in my parenting days I read a couple books that were written by Christian authors. Unfortunately, I felt like they did damage to my family :-( Thankfully, I didn’t see them in your list :-) When my boys were 3 & 4 years old I read Graced-Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel and it was SO healing for me! It is a philosophy of parenting, parenting the way God parents us, with grace, mercy and love (and consequences). It means my children aren’t perfect and don’t always obey perfectly but I feel like they are healthier and seeing the way God loves them despite their sin (which is something they will deal with their whole lives). My goal isn’t perfectly behaved children but children who understand the sin we deal with, the consequences to sin and the grace that God gives. Now at almost 11 & 12, I am really seeing their hearts open to Jesus and understanding the grace He offers. They still aren’t perfectly behaved and they don’t obey everytime but I know they are growing into young men who understand their sin, it’s consequences and the need for Jesus.

  9. LOVED this post. I think it is so important for families to know that there IS a manual for those kids ( the Bible) and the books that I’ve read on this list are based on Gods word! I am excited to read a few on the list that i haven’t yet! Years ago we also attended a seminar titled “The 10 Commandments of Child Rearing” by Michael and Laura Fletcher. I cant find the DVDs anywhere but i did find that they posted it as a sermon series on their website http://www.mannachurch.com/series_kidstuff.php I bet you would like it too!! Thank you for this list :)

    • Kristen, thank you for posting this link. I couldn’t stop at one video yesterday and it confirmed my biblical convictions about discipline in love.

      • Kristen says:

        OH great!! Happy to share…parenting is such an important job and there are very wise parents that have helped with some of the “how-to” work :)

  10. Courtney, I have soooo many of the ones you all posted and adding the others to my list of ones to buy. 3 of my favorites are Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas, Parent Warrior by Karen Scalf Linamen and What Mary and Joseph Knew about Parenting by Rick Osborne.

  11. Thanks so much for sharing! I’ve been wanting to read some parenting books and love having recommendations. I recently started reading “Making Children Mind without Losing Yours” by Kevin Leman.

  12. How on earth do you find the time for reading all these parenting books?!!! I am just coming to the end of Age of Opportunity (Paul Tripp) on parenting teens. I. am. loving. it :)

    • I just saw that in our church bookstore on Sunday and thought that it looked like one I needed to read since my son is 13. Glad you are loving it!

  13. This is one of my favorite- “Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World” by Ken Ham & Steve Ham.
    There is a FREE download of this book at http://www.newleafpublishinggroup.com/promo/raising-godly-children/
    I highly recommend! :)

  14. Thanks for the references! I hope I can get hold of some of these. One that I read during pregnancy, and will keep referring to, is “Child Guidance” by Ellen White. You can actually download it free online. It’s more a book to help set our foundations as Christian parents, to know what is most important. It’s helped to form my “parenting philosophy”. But then it’s also wonderful to have access to more “practical” books! Dona Habenicht has some books that apply, in practical ways, the principles of Child Guidance.

  15. Here’s a PDF of Child Guidance:
    http://www.anym.org/SOP/en_CG.pdf

  16. Anything by Joe McGee is wonderful! He makes you laugh, gives you hope, inspires, and has lived through the trenches of parenting so he speaks from experience.
    I had the privilege of hearing him teach many years ago and still use many of the principals I learned from him as I parent my own two, sometimes challenging, children. You can view some of his “lessons” online as well! http://www.joemcgeeministries.com/
    Donna
    http://www.anotherbattlewon.blogspot.com

  17. Wow! Thanks for posting these books…from my lips to your ears. -Totally God. I was just getting upset with myself yesterday bc I got upset with my daughter when I shouldn’t have. Thanks.

  18. My reading time is limited and God’s word is my #1 priority. If I have time and energy to read beyond the bible I read a variety of topics on biblical matters. I think its important to keep God’s word our #1 influence in our parenting- over and above what other people say about parenting. BUT I do need to hear how other people are parenting right too! How they are applying God’s word in that area of life and how their children have turned out. [The proof is in the pudding! Proverbs 22:6]

  19. Thank you so much Jennifer! This is invaluable information. I am so grateful to you and Courtney for the wonderful tools and advice. This website has changed my life. God bless you amazing women of Christ.

  20. christene catlin says:

    I have found that Jill Savage’s Professionalized Motherhood gave me the conviction to quit my career and be the mom God was calling me to be.

  21. A Mother’s Heart is great also!

  22. Oh man. :( I’m really disappointed to see Tripp’s book on your list. And I see Grace Based Parenting in your stack…the two are on such opposite sides of the spectrum, it’s shocking to me that Tripp’s book would get a good review from you. I think he drastically misses the mark when it comes to showing grace to your child and demonstrating God’s love.

  23. As a married with no kids yet, we’re excited to prepare. What would be your top 5 (1 being most recommended and 5 being least) out of these books that you would recommend? Thanks for sharing these, I’ve been looking for some good reading on parenting.

    • OH dear – that’s just too hard for me lol!!! I would say that The Mission/Ministry of Motherhood (Sally Clarkson) and A Mom After God’s Own Heart (Elizabeth George) are at the top of my list. :) Everything by both of these authors I just eat up!!

      • Courtney, I’d love to see a video of you talking about your practical discipline at home and how God’s Word has influenced that. I realize this can be controversial, but much like your homeschooling videos it could be extremely helpful to those of us who have never been exposed to biblical discipline.

        Thanks again for this post! I look forward to more!

    • GOSPEL POWERED PARENTING awesome God centred book for biblical guidance. Loved it…also any john macarthur books on parenting and ted tripps. All on the top of my list.

  24. Holly Petrie says:

    Thank you for this wonderful list! I love to purchase books from CBD and wanted to share a free shipping code for orders over $35, 379395CAZWHU.

  25. Thanks for posting such a wide range of books! I like to read things with different viewpoints – gotta have a balance. :) I don’t always agree with everything, or even most of what I may read in a book, but it helps to look at it from different angles.

  26. For those parents whose children are approaching early adolescence, or continuing in late adolescence (20′s and beyond, for some!), I highly recommend the book “Disconnected: Parenting Teens in a MySpace World,” by Chap and Dee Clark. The title might be a bit misleading for some, but it is a VERY helpful book explaining the different stages of adolescence, and how to come alongside our children to offer proper guidance and love, while checking our own attitudes, all in the context of God’s will for our children. My kids are in their early twenties, and I continue to re-read this book for reminders and guidance. A Christian family therapist recommended it to us, and it is a GREAT resource.

  27. I love many of the books that you listed. I also appreciate Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas. A Mother’s Touch by Elise Arndt is also another favorite.

  28. Stephanie W says:

    I recently purchased The Five Love Languages for Children, so I am excited that it made your list!! I have an awesome, growing book wish list!! I may not have to wonder what to read next for quite a while!! Thanks, Jennifer!! God bless you and your family!!

  29. Thanks for these suggestions! It’s another confirmation to read a couple of them and I am now dying to read, “Don’t Make Me Count To Three!”

    My favorites so far are Shepherding a Child’s Heart and Loving the Little years were both wonderful and have been read at least twice and will be read again Lord willing!

    Blessings,
    Amy

  30. I have read a couple of these books I have both of the duggar books and Sally clark book and one I didn’t see listed Boundaries for kids . I am wanting to read more books on parenting and marriage can’t get enough wisdom and knowledge in these areas . I also just purchased the materials to make a child training bible I am excited to get all the materials in so I can put it together . My son is only 2 so I am not sure if he is old enough to use it yet ? Was also considering using it in our nursery I am the toddler teacher ? Any advice would b greatly Apprecaited I doubt myself a lot being a gd wife a d momma

  31. I really enjoyed Give them Grace and am currently reading, “The Mission of Motherhood.” I would love to read, “The Ministry of…” and “A mom after God’s own heart.”
    Thanks for this list, I will check out the others!

  32. I see you have the Five Love Languages of Children. I would suggest a similar but totally different book, “The Temperament God Gave Your Kids”. It describes the temperaments that all people have and then helps us to work with our child’s temperament.

  33. Raising Kids to Extraordinary Faith by Debbie Salter Goodwin deals with the spiritual nurturing of your children. I’m reading it and am convicted that this task is my daily responsibilty. Thanks for the list of books.

  34. Hi Courtney! I am so blessed to have stumbled across your blog! I have already learned so much from you. I’m a newlywed and we are now expecting our first child as well. I can’t wait to dive into some of these books. You are a great inspiration to me of what I hope my blog will be someday:)

  35. where can you buy some of these books? Can you check them out in the library?

  36. Samantha says:

    Hi. I have an extremely strong willed daughter that just turned two. What book would you recommend for teaching her discipline?

  37. I have a few of these books. Right now I am decluttering my books, keeping out only what I plan to read or reference in the next two years. http://www.thismomsdelight.com/2012/07/oh-boy-oh-books-oh-goals/#content

  38. LOVE and NEED this list! Thank you so much!

  39. I’m reading Disciple Like Jesus for Parents by Melton and Dean… It’s really good also. :)

  40. I am no the hunt for a great book on parenting only an child……with a Christian perspective. Any suggestions???

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