Parenting is hard.
Most of us are not equipped with the necessary tools to become good parents.
We sometimes think that there’s something magical or mystical that occurs when we grow up, get married, get pregnant, and start having babies.
But there’s no instruction manual.
There is so much information out there – in books, magazines, blogs…written by professionals and moms.
And some of it is so, so wrong.
I did lots of things wrong for so many years.
My three younger kids thankfully don’t remember much of the bad when I was desperately trying to find myself, discover what I believe, and learn my purpose as a mother.
Unfortunately, so many books, articles, and blogs are written by Christian parents and professionals go against the teachings of Jesus and the very core of my gentle soul. They teach harshness, physical punishment, isolation, shaming, blaming, abuse. These misguided Christians claim that blind immediate unconditional obedience is the only goal for parenting. Too many Christians confuse original sin with every baby being born bad or evil.
I beg to differ.
The goal of parenting is relationship. The goal of parenting is raise empathetic adults. The goal of parenting is to raise kind and loving people.
Children are never bad.
It is a parent’s role to model self-control, kindness, love, and those other traits that are important to your traditions.
I know many adults who are hurting. We hurt because of the harsh way we were raise. We hurt because we were spanked or neglected or shamed. We struggle with addiction and anger and anxiety and depression now because we lost who we were, who we were meant to be. We lost our child selves.
We have to heal our own hurts in order to parent respectfully and with kindness and with love.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:1-4
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away. Matthew 19:13-15
It is possible to parent without hitting or raising your voice or having control. It is possible to discipline with love and respect and relationship. It takes a lot of work. It’s really hard. We have to address our triggers and immaturity. We have to look at children as people and not as less-than because they’re small and easily controlled.
These are some of my favorite respectful parenting books.
These are some of my favorite books for raising strong girls. I have three daughters and I feel it’s important to address some of the unique issues that girls face. I also want to counter some issues I had growing up.
These are on my reading list about boys. I have a young son. I want to raise him to be a sensitive and loving man. I haven’t enjoyed the evangelical Christian pseudo-psych books about boys because I feel they perpetuate toxic masculinity.
Parenting teens can be a challenge but oh, so wonderful! These are my favorite resources. I taught high school and college for 10+ years and teens are really amazing. I’m coaching my teen daughter now into adulthood and it’s so exciting! If you don’t listen when they’re little, they won’t talk when they’re teens.
Books to help families navigate social media and the Internet. It’s a brave new world. We need to be aware of the dangers and set limits. I don’t agree with overmonitoring and controlling, but we need to help and guide and coach.
May we all strive to be the best parents to our children that we can be.
View all my book lists here.
Read my parenting articles here.