Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Positive Parenting

Reviewed by Walt Mueller

For the most part, I don’t like Christian parenting books. I came to that conclusion several years ago after reading a stack of the most popular titles in our local Christian bookstore. The books either left me: 1) feeling beat up because of the writer’s high expectations, or 2) wondering how enacting the five, seven or 10 guaranteed steps could actually guarantee success. I’m looking for a book that’s realistic, humble, biblically based, full of grace and that takes into account that all of our kids are different.

Consequently, my list of recommended Christian parenting books is rather short. Recently, I added a new book to that list. Scott Larson’s When Teens Stray: Parenting for the Long Haul (Vine Books, 2002), grows out of the experiences of Larson and his wife as they have taken scores of kids from juvenile jails into their homes. While Larson’s experience qualifies him to write to parents whose kids have gotten into trouble, this is a book that will benefit all parents of teens. Larson begins by painting a broad stroke by laying out common myths parents hold about their kids, along with common myths parents hold about parenting. What follows is a treasure of realistic, hope-filled and practical biblically based advice that helps parents to maintain proper perspective and sanity.

While I will continue to recommend this book to all parents, others who work with kids will benefit as well. With a growing number of grandparents raising their grandchildren, When Teens Stray offers them encouragement and godly wisdom during what is a most difficult job. And, youth workers and teachers will find great insights into the dynamics that drive troubled youth.

This review also appeared in Engage: The Journal of Youth Culture from CPYU

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