My Favorite Resources for Christian Parents
I've been asked by a couple different readers about some good resources to help direct them in their quest toward Biblical parenting.
First and foremost, if you want to parent Biblically, the very most important thing you can do is get to know your Bible better!
Study what the Bible says about the parent/child relationship. While books are very helpful, it's even better to know for yourself exactly what the Bible says; not just what someone said the Bible says.
Study what the Bible says about Christian living. We can't teach our children properly if we don't know for sure what God says about how we should live.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to spend the majority of your time in the Bible and not reading man's words. He has truly given us all things that pertain to life and godliness.
However, there is a time and place where books written by men are appropriate. When men are putting forth Biblical truth and helping to explain what God's Word says rather than just spouting their own ideas, that is good and helpful. When they give practical ideas for applying God's Word to everyday situations, that is very helpful also.
I know there are many, many books about Christian parenting out there, and I surely haven't read all of them. I'm sure there are some really good ones that are not on this list.
But…I have read a lot.
This is one of our bookcases. The top 3 1/2 shelves contain books about marriage, parenting, and the Christian home. I haven't read every single one of them yet. (Side story: we walked into a thrift store one day, and there was a sign that said ALL of their books were FREE. They had a book section the size of a real bookstore! And the limit on free books was one full cart. Oh my! Talk about the need to say, “Pinch me! I think I'm dreaming!” So we went 2 different times and brought home boxes and boxes of books! That was several years ago, and I still haven't read them all. I'm gradually working through them and weeding out the ones that are no good.)
Anyway, all that to say…out of all the books on Christian parenting I have read, I've whittled my favorites down to the best of the best, and here they are:
Update January 2020: This post was written five years ago, and as I hope is the case with you too, I have grown and changed over those five years. Unfortunately, due to things the Lord has taught me over those years, I can no longer wholeheartedly recommend a couple of these books. I will add some notes to each resource I have listed.
*Update: I no longer recommend this book as of January 2020. In spite of the fact that I thought it was teaching to reach the child's heart, and yes, there are some good nuggets in there, there are subtle concepts in the book that actually focus on controlling a child's outward behavior more than truly teaching a child how to develop his own relationship with the Lord. Additionally, there are things that I have come to know about the author's personal life that trouble me enough to no longer be comfortable recommending this book.*
I was introduced to this book long before I was married or had children, and I'm so glad I was. It really helped give me an understanding of the need to reach the heart of the child rather than just making sure their outward behavior was right.
*Update January 2020: I have not read this book in a very long time, so I can't be sure whether I would currently recommend it or not after that radical shifts that have taken place in my thinking. As with any book, exercise your own discernment.*
Another very Biblical and practical book offering insight from an experienced parent.
Buy Here (They don't currently have them on sale from Amazon, but you can purchase it from a 3rd party seller.)
This books gives lots of practical advice for reasoning with your child Biblically. Since younger children do not have the reasoning capability of an older child, it seems a better choice for older children. (My oldest is 7, and I feel he is old enough to understand the concepts presented.) I don't agree with all of the ways the material is presented, but I do agree with the big picture philosophy behind it.
This book made me excited to put its ideas into action! It not only gave me hope that we could work through some of the seemingly insurmountable issues one of my child is dealing with, but it gave a step-by-step plan for doing so!
Bonus: This one isn't for the parents, but for the children…
This is a study for children on Biblical obedience. It teaches children to obey for the right reasons by teaching them biblical truth. As your children learn about people in Scripture who struggled with obedience, they will learn for themselves HOW, WHEN, and WHY they should obey.
Like I said earlier, I surely haven't read every book available, and I'm sure there are some gems I haven't even heard of. Please feel free to share your own suggestions!