Friday, September 12, 2008

Caution: Parenting Book. Read with Care. (Part 2)

My last post on Sola Panel may have left you thinking that I hate parenting books. Let me assure you that there are some excellent parenting books which apply the Bible's teaching with care and wisdom.

We need Christians to write parenting books which are truly biblical, for we're surrounded by popular parenting models based on a secular world view. But even the best parenting book can leave us feeling proudly judgemental or unnecessarily guilt-ridden.

So how should we read parenting books? How can we learn from them without turning their advice into rules and their principles into legalism?

Here are three questions I have learned to ask of the suggestions in parenting books:

  1. Is this a biblical principle I must follow?

  2. Is this an application of the Bible which may be wise, but isn't binding?

  3. Is this human advice which may or may not be useful?

The first I must prayerfully obey, the second I may choose to practise, and the third is a matter of preference.

And here are three questions I have learned to ask of myself and others: (My sensible husband asks me these whenever I'm overcome by parenting book-induced guilt.)

  1. Are we teaching our children about God?

  2. Are we disciplining our children?

  3. Are we loving our children?

If the answer is ‘yes’, then we are fulfilling God's basic demands for parents.

Here's a list of God's parenting non-negotiables from the Bible ...

To read the rest, head over to Sola Panel.


Rachael said...

Thanks, Jean. I really enjoyed your post at the Sola Panel. Another big struggle for me here (apart from not getting good teaching in English) is the difference in child raising techniques. Your post has helped me to work which differences are just cultural and which are biblical. This has freed me up (in mind at least at this stage) to be less constrained by what I think I ought to be doing (and by all those mothering books) and to look to what God wants. Thanks.

Jean said...

That's great, Rachael. God bless you and your children!