Book Review: Passionate Parenting

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As the parent of a teenager (and another all-too-soon) I am on the lookout for resources that will equip me to be a better parent. As a pastor I look for those that I can recommend to the parents in our congregation. Passionate Parenting by Cary Schmidt is both.

There’s much for which to recommend this book, but here are four basic reasons I feel comfortable doing so:

1) It is focused on principles.

I’ve long been of the opinion that there are two kinds of books on parenting: Those that dictate EXACTLY how EVERY parent must raise EVERY child, and those that discuss basic principles that are diversely applicable in the unique situations each family will face.

This book is one of the latter. Each chapter shares a different characteristic of Passionate Parenting. While there is established Biblical teaching about raising children, each child and family is different. Passionate Parenting provides principles that will fit in each of these varied environments. This broadens is effectiveness and makes it a great tool for any family.

2) It has a positive perspective of the parent-child relationship.

There is no question that parenting a teen can be challenging, but Pastor Schmidt doesn’t assume that the relationship has to be adversarial. One of my favorite chapters, “The Laughing Parent” focuses on the importance of edifying humor and laughter in the life of a family. In fact, the entire book has a positive tone that emphasizes the blessing of children.

3) It includes practical insights and suggestions.

Each chapter has a practical aspect, but some chapters deal with issues relevant to modern parenting. “The Techno-Savvy Parent” (chapter 17) for example highlights issues specific to media and technology. The ever-increasing encroachment of media in the life of the modern family demands that parents be vigilant, educated, and strategic. The author shares a list of action-items to help even the most technologically-uninformed parent.

4) It has a pastoral tone.

This is not a book of sermons, but it does include the spiritual aspect of parenting. Its heart is to create a passion in each parent to foster a passion for God in their child. Chapters such as “The Repenting Parent,” “The Praying Parent,” and “The Shepherding Parent,” all address this important truth. The author’s pastoral heart shows clearly in this work. He cares about parents and teens.

I hesitate to recommend some books because, while good, their benefit is limited. These four points assure me that this is not a book that is helpful to a select few – I can heartily commend it for any parents who have or will have teenagers.

Passionate Parenting challenges parents, but is not a challenge to read. Very seldom do I enjoy “parenting” books, but I frequently found myself smiling through this one. It finds a singular balance between stomping your toes and touching your heart, between principle and practice, between ancient truths and modern issues. It is a book I have benefited from, and one which I will recommend to others.

This and other resources from Cary Schmidt are available at his website.

Passionate Parenting is also available in hardcover and Kindle editions at Amazon.

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