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7. Book Review -- Grace Based Parenting

Book Title: Grace Based Parenting

Author: Dr. Tim Kimmel

Year of Publication2004

PublisherThomas Nelson


Author’s Web-site

Full Book Available in: English

You should read this book if you…

Are frustrated and discouraged in your parenting and looking for grace and hope for yourself and your children.

“In a nut shell”…

We all need grace. Not one of us is perfect, and if we maintain perfection as our standard for our parenting or for our children, we will miss the joys along the way as they grow up. In addition, they are likely to grow up bitter and resentful toward us and our traditions and beliefs, the very things we most want them to value.

Key Ideas…

Children are born with three driving inner needs: A need for security, a need for significance, and a need for strength

A grace-based parent meets these needs by giving her children three valuable gifts: love, purpose, and hope.

Secure Love: Children feel secure when they know they are accepted as they are; when they know they are affiliated with a loving and honoring family; and when they receive regular and generous helpings of affection.

Significant Purpose: Children feel significant when they are regularly affirmed; when they know they have our attention; and when they are gracefully admonished.

Strong Hope: Children develop a strong hope when they know their parents recognize their God-given abilities and liabilities and turn them into assets for their future; when their parents lead them and encourage them to live a great spiritual adventure; and when their parents help them turn their childhood into a series of positive accomplishments.

In grace-based families, children are given:

The freedom to be different: “unique,” “weird,” “bizarre,” “strange,” “goofy,” and “quirky.”

The freedom to be vulnerable: Don’t overreact, under react, or dismiss children’s immature emotions such as vast mood swings, vain imaginations, and inordinate fears.

The freedom to be candid: “Grace-based families create respectful ways for children to voice these frustrations with their parents”. Pg 203

The freedom to make mistakes: Respond rather than react. Don’t avoid the consequences. Discipline using the methods that are most effective and align well with you.

Action Steps…

Instill a secure love in your child

Develop a significant purpose in your child (general, specific, relational, and spiritual)

Build strong hope in your child

Allow your child to be different

Allow your child to be vulnerable

Allow your child to be candid

Allow your child to make mistakes

Do it all in a grace-based setting!


“Strident voices tell parents that if they don’t feed their children certain ways, or discipline them certain ways, or educate them certain ways, then they are setting their children up for certain doom… It’s one thing to offer these additional suggestions in these areas, but its another thing to turn these suggestions into the only way to effectively parent children.” Pg 8

“[Grace-based parents] are especially graceful when their children are hardest to love. Their advice to their children would be a mixture of: “You are a gift from God; go make a difference.” and “You may struggle doing the right thing sometimes, but you’re forgiven.” Pg 19

“Rules not tempered by grace block relationships with our children and lead to rebellion. On the other side, relationships without rules don’t result in grace either.” Pg 37

“Grace-based parenting works from the inside out. Fear-based parenting works from the outside in.” Pg 133

How this has changed my parenting…

I’m not afraid to parent anymore! Several years ago as a new mother I read two or three parenting books that left me feeling like if I made a single mistake I would ruin my child’s life. I began to think that every choice I made about when and what she ate, how she played, when she slept, etc. was molding her character forever. The problem was, different “experts” had different ideas of what the “right” methods were for raising children. I became so frustrated and overwhelmed that I stopped reading parenting books, until recently when a friend recommended Grace Based Parenting.

In Grace Based Parenting Dr. Kimmel takes an entirely different approach. Rather than prescribing a formula for raising perfect kids, Dr. Kimmel focuses on the bottom line of parenting—grace (unmerited favor; undeserved kindness). And in doing so, he discusses not just our children’s need for grace, but our need for grace as parents, too. In this way, the focus shifts from trying to be perfect parents raising perfect kids to being grace-based parents who put a priority on meeting the inner needs of their children.

Taking this new approach, I have a new appreciation for each of my children as unique and inherently valuable gifts from God. Each one is different and requires special nurturing, attention, affirmation, guidance and even discipline—all provided in an environment of grace. We are free to enjoy our differences and learn from our mistakes. I understand now that God’s grace in my life and in theirs is big enough to cover our faults and failures. The new freedom this understanding gives me in my parenting allows my children to grow deeper in their faith in God because they see His grace being worked out in our day to day lives.

© 2011 The Family Project

Related Topics: Book Review, Children, Parent Resources, Christian Home, Fathers, Mothers, Parenting

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