I have been teaching children’s ministry for over 20 years and in that time I have seen a lot of different curriculum and parenting resources. These are the best five parenting books I’ve found to actually make a difference in our family.
1. 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family
We had previously used Shepherding a Child’s Heart DVD curriculum by Ted Tripp in our church’s parenting small group but in 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family Ted’s brother, Paul Tripp, brings a refreshing perspective to parenting with real life examples and practical application that makes an immediate difference.
Getting to the Heart of Parenting – audio CDs for your commute to work. This is an audio supplement to the 14 Gospel Principles book by the Paul Tripp. I loved it because listening to it as I drove home each day helped me redirect my focus toward my family and allowed me to be more intentional in my parenting as a working mom. It showed me how to think about Parenting as the most important thing I will ever do in my life which was a necessary reminder for the career woman I had become who traveled so often for business and had a hard time being truly present at home.
2. Spiritual Parenting- An Awakening for Today’s Families
I love Michelle Anthony and we use her Disciplr curriculum in our children’s ministry at Hope Chapel of the Valley. In Spiritual Parenting she gives great ideas on how to have a focus on teaching your children about God in practical ways. It was this book that first inspired me to designate Friday night as Family Night in our home. It has served to be a great way for our family to connect around our faith and have fun together.
3. Smart Money, Smart Kids, Raising the Next Generation to Win With Money
By Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze
Since Luke was toddler I’ve tried to teach him about money. We started with saving spare change in his piggy bank and then once a month playing the “change game” where we put all of the coins into an automatic coin sorter that put them into rolls for us. As he got older and had more responsibilities for making money at home like chores or doing recycles, I taught him to give, save, & spend, in that order. I wanted to make sure I was doing enough to get him on the right path and I love how Dave Ramsey shares the writing of this book with his grown daughter. Seeing how successful she has become with money as a result of putting her dad’s teaching into practice is inspiring and their tips are super practical for kids at all ages. I especially liked the idea of incentivizing your kids to save for their own car by offering to match what they save.
If you have a strong-willed child, I highly recommend this book. I will warn you though, you may find that you walk away with more practical things you need to change about yourself than those you will change in your child. It helped me realize that my son was in many instances mirroring my own behavior in his tone, angry outbursts and disrespectful manner. He was picking up my bad habits so I had to pray for God to change a lot in me to make me a better parent.
5. The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers
This book helped me a lot with step-parenting Jeff’s youngest daughter Erin, who was 13 years old when we got married. The biggest takeaway from this book for me was the idea of seeing your child as having a “love tank” that if you neglected to make deposits into you’d find your relationship running on fumes when hard times hit. Gary Chapman also writes the 5 Love Languages of Children and the 5 Love Languages which I’ve found to be a great resource for navigating both marriage and work relationships.
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