Book review/giveaway: Give Them Grace

  Recently I was given a couple copies of a just-released book to review– one of which I will be giving away to one of you!  The book is called Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids With the Love of Jesus. As a mom, I want to relate to my kids in a grace-filled way.   But it can be challenging to stay gracious and loving when a kid gets off track and is repetitively making a choice that they know is wrong.  I’m much more likely in that case to be thinking consequences;  what is most likely to deter my child from wrong-doing and set him back on the right path?

The question asked by the authors of this book is, how well does a punitive ‘you messed up’ approach model the forgiving love of Jesus to my kids? The Jesus who is a friend to sinners? Now, for those of you who are getting worried, let me state emphatically that this book does not advocate giving kids carte blanc to behave as they wish.   No way.  As loving parents we are right to set boundaries for our kids.  They desperately need those boundaries so that they can learn to honor God with their choices, and to function in society.

But many times we parents approach these difficult moments in such a legalistic and unloving way that we are missing the chance to (as the title says) dazzle our kids with the love of Jesus, to really draw them in and be the sweet ‘aroma’  of that love in their lives.

Ideas in the book have already led me to have deeper, more loving conversations with kids when I’m addressing misbehavior– conversations where we’ve actually been able to discuss the heart-issues that led to the disobedience. I’m still processing — I need to read this book again and think more about how I can be more loving, to discuss challenges in a way that highlights God’s love for them without giving kids license to continue in the wrong direction.

I think that most parents who get off-track tend to go one of two ways.  Either they’re way too lenient, or they’re too controlling.  I know that my personal proclivity tends to be towards the control end of the spectrum, so this book was good for me.  It gave me thoughtful, gentle ways to point my kids towards Jesus even in the midst of setting the limits that they desperately need.

I highly recommend Give Them Grace, and I am very pleased to be giving away one copy.  To enter the drawing, from which I will be selecting a winner on Tuesday, comment below and tell me one aspect of parenting that you find to be more challenging than you first imagined it would be.  I look forward to hearing from you!

{ 97 Comments }

  1. It’s the messy stuff that has proven hard for me. I wouldn’t say “harder than I imagined” because I don’t know that I even thought much past dirty diapers. . . But general messes, sickness and even potty training have been hard for me to deal (pleasantly) with. I deal with them dutifully, but not with the peace I ought to.

  2. I think one of the harder things for me is having three kids so close together in age (within 25 months of each other) and finding ways to maintain something like standards and order, but allowing each child to have their own personality and discipline them each in a way that meets their individual needs.

  3. Getting kids to tell the truth is always challenging.

  4. My hardest issue – and where I need the most help in being gracious – is dealing with “in your face” defiance. I have a teenager who was adopted from foster care at age 7. We are still dealing with some of the attitudes and behaviors he brought with him – although he has made much progress. Sometimes, though, he just digs his heels in and is blatantly defiant. At those moments, I usually don’t respond in a loving manner – even though that is what he most needs.

  5. I have a challenge similar to Jamey’s except my kids are all 5-ish yrs apart. I have a soon to be 11 y/o, a 5 y/o and a 9 month baby. Every day is a challenge! 🙂

  6. christy says:

    Parenting the teens that think they are adults while they are making very juvenile choices. And my strong-willed child who refuses to bend.

  7. Laura Forman says:

    For me right now it is dealing with my three year old and 18 month ol when they through fits. It is a daily if not hourly thing and I want so badly for them to know the love of the Lord and His grace when they mess up. But sometimes my frustration gets the best of me and I only think of the discipline instead of training them to know that it is only the Lord who can give them the strength to not through fits.

  8. I have 4 boys-8, 5, 18 mo. and 4 months. Right now the hardest for me is a toddler who does not talk but shrieks for what he wants! 🙂 Kind of kidding, I know how fast this stage goes and through God’s grace we’ll make it. Relaly my problem is like yours, extending grace to the older ones. I expect so much more from them and need to let lose and have fun & give them grace as well.

  9. Having four children (some bio and some adopted) all raised the same and the 3rd child is so different than the others. Right now as a 16 year old trying to test the waters too much for this too controling mom! Grace is certainly what he needs and is deserving of. He also deals with learning disabilities and an accident that requires PT much longer than was estimated he has more than his fair share of challenges. I’ve been working on acting more with grace but I have more to learn and remember.

  10. The most challenging aspect is dealing with my 4yr old son. He is continually misbehaving, being rude, hitting, not sharing, etc…mostly with his family and cousins. He is just the opposite of my very compliant daughter. I am trying to be consistent with discipline and its not easy! I could really use a good book like the one you are giving away.

  11. Now that we are up to 6 kids and our newest was a surprise adoption of an infant- I am finding it extremely difficult to be consistent. When everyone is demanding- it is often easier to give in or overlook behavior rather then deal with it. I am also finding it difficult to discipline a 12 year old girl all the way down to a 5 year old boy (who knows how to push your buttons). I esp. need to work on communicating in a meaningful way with my daughter as she is open to communicating but is growing up so very fast.

  12. Having the strength to go the distance when the distance seems to get farther and farther away.

  13. Right now, trying to be gracious with my 11 1/2 year old daughter who seems to be dealing with hormones. Sounds like I need to be handling this a little differently.

  14. Oh wow, that may be the trickiest question ever. Can I say….all of it, except for loving them? I was not at all prepared for how often raising my children would reveal my own character issues. Working on myself, in order to be a better example, has proven much more difficult than working on any problems my children may have.

  15. “Letting them work it out” has always been so difficult for me. It’s the way the learn to work things out in the real world. But you know, I just conflict and arguing just drive me crazy! Every time I find things are better if I step back!

  16. I have 7 children and I am just now entering into the realm of parenting teenagers. Just when I thought I had this parenting thing down to a science, they go and turn 13 and flip my world upside down lol! I am still learning to parent littles too because all their personalities are so different, but the teenage thing I feel like a person in the dark!

  17. I think dealing with the emotional aspects of a wayward father and divorce along with its effects on how my children deal with life on a daily basis..yeah, that’s challenging.

  18. This book sounds wonderful! I have often felt like I was too harsh in a moment of frustration and then regretted it later, when a kinder approach would have been much more positive for both of us.

  19. Annie L. says:

    I have the hardest time dealing with ungratefulness, for some reason, it makes me so mad so fast. At the same time, I have been so ungrateful to God in my life and I need to remember that he is so patient with me.

  20. Krystal says:

    I think my biggest struggle with parenting is me. MY heart, MY mind, MY attitude, MY tone of voice… it could go on and on. There are other hard things, but in the end it’s me that I struggle most with.

  21. There are so many hard things, but so many rewards as well!

    Often it is my own heart that is the hardest/toughest struggle, because I often forget, and need to be reminded, where my strenth needs to be coming from … The Lord is my light and my salvation, my ever present help in time of need. I must remember that when the days are long and hard, the kids are showing their sinful natures, and I am tired.

  22. Knowing how to guide my teen and pre-teen daughters has definitely been the hardest for me. I think maybe it is a common thing to prepare for the younger challenges, but I simply feel unprepared for this stage.

  23. Melissa says:

    Dealing with repeated cases of the same issue/behavior is so hard. Where is the bottomless reservoir of patience I was sure I would have when I became a mom?? 🙂

  24. Dealing with my different children & their different behavior & ‘heart’ issues is a constant challenge to me. I’d love to read the book. Thanks!!

  25. I am SO anxious to read this book! I’ve heard great reviews. We are up against a wall with our 3rd in line. He’s cut from a different cloth than all of our other kids. I didn’t think I was an “angry mom” until I parented him. My heart’s cry is to lead him closer to the LORD and not embitter him. Sometimes I think I fail at this. No, I KNOW I fail at this at times. Too many times. We have SO many opportunities to mentor our kids through the day. I want to grab hold of those opportunities.

  26. I think the hardest thing I face in parenting is when I see my own worst qualities cropping up in my daughters. I tend to overreact on trying to correct those issues, feeling guilty the whole time that they are merely behaving in ways I have undoubtedly taught them by example.

    It truly is more often ME than them, I’m afraid, and I know I don’t show them much grace in those times. And yet they often show me grace in abundance, after I’ve been so hard on them.

    Thanks for sharing this review-I’ll definitely be checking this book out.

  27. Kristen says:

    I have two girls ages 9 and 11. Sometimes it is hard to give grace…but I know I probably need to give more.

  28. Right now, with 4 and 5 year old boys (and a 10 month old baby girl) my biggest problem is dealing with defiance and strong-willed-ness (can that be a word? lol) Those looks that say “Yes I heard you but I’m going to pretend like I didn’t” or when the 4 year old gets mad at whatever I just said and stomps off or just sits down in the middle of the floor and digs in. That, and trying to manage my time effectively. That’s a biggie for me, too. But, despite all that, I sure do love being a mommy!

  29. Bedtime. It’s hard to have the sweet, cuddly time I always pictured it would be when I’m drop-dead tired at the end of the day 🙂

  30. We are finding the trusting is hard! We could put them in a box and not them do anything – but that isn’t giving them an opportunity to show they deserve our trust. It’s that fine line of giving them wings and yet protecting them.

  31. Nancy H. says:

    I think the “marathon” aspect of it…some days it is so tough to KEEP responding patiently and not in anger.

  32. Kristin says:

    I have been wanting to read this book. I feel as if I’m making some strides in getting my kids to be respectful toward me, but a big challenge right now is getting them to have this same respect for each other. The older they get (right now 11, 9, 8), the more challenging this seems to be.

  33. I believe when your children are grown and leave home…can be the toughest time of figuring out how to parent. You must depend on God like never before as these grown children make their decisions that are life changing…you have to let God take them on the journey He has prepared for them.

  34. It’s been harder to deal with our son’s anger than I thought it would be. We adopted him 4 months ago–there were some pretty hard days, but we are getting closer and he’s getting more content!

  35. Rebecka says:

    Most challenging for me is dealing with six different little people. I was raised by a hands off single mom, and I have just one sibling. So dealing with both a toddler and a preteen and all the stages in between *all at once* is quite a challenge and I do find myself sliding into boot-camp drill-sergeant mode in a effort to keep things sane. Not a good way to connect with my children’s hearts.

  36. Right now I can definitely say potty training.

  37. Patience. Definitely. With a capital “P”.

  38. I’d love to read this book.

    For me, one of the biggest challenges I face as a parent is patient endurance. With an autistic child, it seems that you are facing the same challenges, all day every day. Progress happens, but it happens very slowly. It is difficult sometimes to have to discuss the same concept multiple times each day, without growing impatient or snappish.

  39. Grace is needed in our home as we are finalizing an adoption of a 7 yr old with many delays. Integrating him into our family has been easy and the hardest thing we’ve ever done all wrapped into one

  40. Heather says:

    We have an 11 year old, 9 year old, 6 year old and newly arrived two year old and the hardest thing lately is handling the 6 year old’s behavior. Although he eagerly awaited being a big brother the reality of a toddler has been a lot for him to deal with and his behavior has been challenging to say the least. Fiding the right balance of extra attention to help him understand he has not been displaced and consequences has been difficult for me.

  41. Crystal says:

    Homeschooling the older ones while I have babies! EEEK! Just trying to fit it all in, while feeling like I’m not giving all the kids my “all”

  42. Being a bio mom of 3..ages 14, 11, and 8 and a foster mom to ages 13, 4, 2, and 1 has most certainly come with its challenges. Right now I am potty training the 2 year old, soon to be 3, and dealing with a lot of teenage drama from the 13 year old girl. We love her dearly but she is really challenging us right now and it is very difficult knowing how to approach her after all she has been through. We have only had her a few months which makes it even more difficult. I am looking for any guidance/advice to help all of us deal with this.

  43. I thought when my kids were young it was hard because they required a lot more attention…I’m now finding that the issues they go through when they are older are more difficult. They are more independent, but it’s harder!!

  44. Marie Clement says:

    Being a mom of 4 (18mo, 5, 7, 8) I remember thinking that my challenges were when they were little. Now I realize as my children get older that we are coming into new issues, as they stretch out and try to come into their own. Right now I am struggling with showing my oldest son how to be respectful and kind, not only to us but also to his siblings, and not to listen/mimic other kids that he sees..

  45. Emily Wicks says:

    I am finding it hard to let my 3-year old be three. And make some decisions on her own and go at her own pace. I struggle with the fact that I sometimes need to say things over and over and over and…well, it doesn’t make me the best mom I can be.

  46. Angie B says:

    The hardest challenge for me is finding something to please them all at one time. I have 6 kids that range in age from 15 to 4. It is hard to find vacations that I feel like everyone is having a good time.

  47. The hardest bing for me has been as my kids get older, oldest is only 7, and I have had to focus so much more on the heart than the behaviors. My oldest is a mommy pleaser, but I don’t want him to go hrough the motions just to make me happy

  48. My biggest challenge right now is being patient and loving to my 3 1/2 year old when she is having one of her many tantrums. Also, I find it difficult to spend quality time with each of my four children.

  49. Jennie Cunningham says:

    I think the constant demand is more than I anticipated. There is always some demand being placed on me relationally, emotionally, academically, etc. for my children. It is exhausting some days!!! I need to learn and purpose to make more time to fill my own tank on a regular basis. Thanks for the giveaway!

  50. I think the hardest is to balance the needs of work/life and my kids and feeling I don’t measure up, that I’m shortchanging my children even though I know many SAHMs who spend or give their kids less time and attention, but it still bothers me.

    I find discipline hard too – just like you described, I am not sure the line where I come down too hard or always say no, no no, but still want my kids to know I love them, bottom line, end of story.