We have at our fingertips the availability of a number of parenting resources. Books, videos, trainings, and conferences abound. Despite the number of resources available, parenting is still a discipline of great struggle. One of the most difficult and controversial aspects of parenting is discipline.
Recognizing that difficulty, Sam Crabtree has written Parenting with Loving Correction: Practical Help for Raising Young Children in order to help parents better understand correction. The book is straightforward addressing three primary areas of discipline: why it is necessary, the essential elements, and what it looks like. The book is mercifully short and gets straight to the point without a lot of extraneous material and topics. Each of the individual lessons is strategically built around a primary definition:
Corrective Discipline: (1) Identifying actions or attitudes of your child that are unacceptable when weighted against clear and explicit standards, then (2) acting promptly and decisively to move your child in the direction of compliance with those standards.
This definition acts as a unifying theme for the four aspects that the author considers essential to discipline: the central purpose, focusing on God, speaking truth, and rewarding obedience.
Parenting with Loving Correction is a stimulating book for parents because readers will note three important factors:
- Improvement: The author improves on the modern mindsets that get us into traps by correcting false thinking and considering Scripture. Many in the culture will find this book confrontational because it goes against the secular mindset. For Christians, to whom the book is directed to, the author also seeks improvement in their lives by leading them away from incorrect parenting towards a biblical and God-oriented model.
- Immediacy: The author also emphasizes immediacy throughout the book. This immediacy is seen in three ways. First, that when a child requires correction, it be done then (as much as possible). Second, he underscores discipline in a child’s life by highlighting the need for discipline in the parent’s life. Again, not later, but now. Finally, he encourages those who may already be years into their lives as parents and may feel it is too late. Once again, he says now is the time. Even while highlighting the effectiveness of starting early, he indicates that it is better late than never.
- Importance: Finally, one of the most clarifying aspects that I found to be of true benefit is the author’s focus on the importance. Sam Crabtree does an excellent job at explaining what happens when correction does not take place and the great benefits when it does. He brings together points that few people ever mention noting such as aspects as a lack of disciplining or continuity will undermine not merely authority, but credibility and trust. But he also goes further to suggest that correction not only honors parents and protect children, but it strengthens the church and serves society, all the while glorifying God.
Within these aspects, the author is certain to remind readers that it is not discipline that saves a child. He states “No child can be disciplined into Christian faith. We’re all saved by grace, not discipline.” Note though, how he indicates discipline can impact the gospel when he continues, “But discipline can subdue defiance that prevents the child from sitting still long enough to hear the gospel.”
Much of the book emphasizes the practical aspects and the author does well at intimating that ultimately discipline is not merely about obedience, but the heart. Because he shares those words and sees that, I wish that he had emphasized that more directly throughout the writing with insights and applications about how we can shepherd a child’s heart during the act of discipline.
The book overall though, is a hopeful book for parents who may be discouraged, either about their current situation or a fearful discouragement that can come as the result of anticipating being a parent. The author gives a good grounding and offers some insights that Christians need to consider in light of the teaching that is being elevated today in a secular society.
To purchase a copy of this book, click here. I would offer the following recommendation: First, read Paul Tripp’s book ‘Parenting’ (click here to see it) and then follow it up by reading ‘Parenting with Loving Correction.’
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no cost to me for the purposes of review. However, my review was not influenced by the author, publisher, or anyone else associated with this book and is the result of my own reading of it.