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. My kids are still little but the hardest part for me so far is not always being as patient and gentle as I’d like to be. I didn’t realize I’d get SO frustrated with them at times either….

  2. great question to make you really examine… it’s difficult for me to pick… i have a wonderful yet strong-willed 2 1/2 year old…having the patience to act in a loving way when she’s doing things you have told her not to do is hard… and her adjustment (and mine!) to welcoming our little girl a few months ago was a trying time… but, i think the hardest is helping my husband, who is a high school teacher, respond to our kids in ways that are age appropriate… you don’t want to undermine Dad’s authority or discipline, but you also want to protect your little ones from expectations that are just too much for them at such a young age… thankfully, my husband is awesome and had seen good parenting in his life… 🙂 i’m potty training, too (saw many post about this :)) and am 2 weeks into it…dunno if it’s as bad as i thought, but i’m not finished yet 🙂

  3. Bridget Czarnecki says:

    The hardest part of parenting for me is realizing that my kids need to resolve their problems by theirselves. I just want my kids to get along all the time and that isn’t reality! Today my oldest daughters 15 & 12 were swimmng together at the pool with our beautiful adopted daughters 7 & 4 yrs. and they were loving each other and just laughing, smiling but best of all getting along with each other!! Another big thing for myself is that I always expect so much of my kiddos! When I do that I know I’m setting my kids up for potential failure. I am currently having a hard time with getting our 7 year old to open up and let us love her! She is so guarded at times and I just pray that it won’t take too much longer for her to trust and accept us as her new parents. This book would be a blessing and much appreciated. Thanks for listening.

  4. I read somewhere that “the thing you dislike the most in others is the thing you like least about yourself”. That’s the hardest part of parenting for me…correcting the behaviors and habits I see coming out in my daughters that I so dislike in myself! And it’s in correcting those things where I find myself coming down harder than I ought to or than I would in a different situation. Ouch!

  5. Jennifer says:

    I want to be a positive and upbeat Mom, but I sometimes find the mundaneness of stay-at-home Mom life and same routine all the time is wearing, so I can take my frustration out on the kids by being grumpy and critical. Not good.

  6. I struggle with drawing them in. It seems when I punish it can push them away, especially the older they get. I can see that reacting in grace and with grace would be better for not only their souls but mine as well. Thank you for sharing this book. It looks awesome.

  7. Sounds like a great book and a very helpful resource. I think at this point in my life “not reacting” to the attitudes and behaviors is very difficult. Trying to maintain composure and allow grace to reign is not as easy as I had once thought!

  8. There are many…but lately I’ve found myself really struggling with properly handling my son’s anger. It’s his first response regardless if he’s truly feeling sad, hurt about something, etc. My response is often the exact opposite of what it sould be.

  9. TEENS!

  10. I think i struggle most with what she should pay for and what I should help with. My daughter is 18, and I want to help her, but I also realize there are things she needs to take responsibility for.

  11. My firstborn is very strong-willed and determined…I thought that hard until we adopted. I knew that parenting a child adopted at age 10 would be hard, I knew about attachment problems but nothing can really prepare you for dealing with RAD. It is the hardest thing we have ever done. Seeing his pain but being unable to get close or take it away is the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. Feeling like I’m failing as a mother, feeling guilty over the lack of a bond between us.

    • Wish I could give you a hug, Anne! Read this book, and you’ll be reminded that we don’t have to be perfect moms. Jesus was perfect in our place. We need this message of grace too… That it doesn’t fall on our shoulders and only God can do His job. Hugs and grace from a fellow adoptive mom in the trenches!

      • Thank-you! It means so much to be encouraged by strangers who understand the struggle. I just remembered to come back and check this thread today and was blessed by your words more than I an express. The book is on my Amazon wishlist and can’t wait to read it. 🙂

  12. My biggest parenting challenge is being “fair” with 4 children all at different stages.

  13. I thought lamaze breathing was only for labor. I was wrong. I have a hard time not yelling sometimes, and it helps to breathe…deeply 🙂

  14. My biggest challenge is being consistent……it works so I just need to do it. Easier said than done though!

  15. Mikaila says:

    I am a step-parent and that in itself is challenging. I have not raised a baby from infancy (yet) so it’s a whole different dynamic. I have a wonderful relationship with our son but my husband is the lenient one and I’m much more controlling. It sounds like this book would be wonderful for me to read.

  16. My biggest parenting challenge is staying patient! I never dreamed how hard it would be to live out patience in so many thousands of moments each day, with my little ones. (Three ages 3 and under)

    I need so much Grace, in fact, that we named our daughter (3 months old) Grace! lol! 🙂

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway. I just finished reading “A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family” and feel like I live across the street from you! Bless you and your family!

  17. Dealing with multi-age issues. Big kids, little kids, in between kids – all in the same pot. 🙂 It’s good, but challenging. You help. 🙂

  18. Remaining sweet and joyful at my core …..especially when a child loses his temper and says or does something really awful. I find it’s more difficult than I realized to keep myself calm.

  19. I absolutely have trouble with disciplining consistently. I get worn down so easily and then I get fed up and yell when I feel I am cornered! It is miserable for us all, especially our sweet girls.

  20. Heather says:

    The daily struggle of being patient with 4 children while trying to be fun, plan and do activities, keep the house decent, laundry and meals. The balancing act. The book sounds wonderful!!!

  21. My most challenging thing I find that I didn’t expect? All of it!! I’m really not kidding either. I truly didn’t imagine how hard it would be and how much they would expose my sin!! I thought too that it would get easier as they got older, it doesn’t, the weight of the responsibility gets heavier (they’re 10, 6, 4 and 2). Currently I’m struggling with so much that I don’t even know where to begin, but think so often of the mom I want to be–one whom they can see Jesus in, but feel so convicted by the mom I am and guess they wonder where Jesus is at all. Grace is so what we all need to experience, live in and love with.

  22. Nail care and basic hygiene! I don’t know why but keeping all 4 of my kids bathed and with moderately clean(I’ve learned to aim low with this one) finger and toenails that have been clipped/maintained in the recent past just causes me tons of stress. It sounds silly but this often makes me feel much more like a failure as a Mom than other “bigger” issues I face.

  23. Kelly Gayner says:

    Someone else was recommending this book to me the other day!
    I think the hardest part for me would be a toss up between the 18 months – 3 year old age where it’s just a whole lot of will and temper (both theirs and mine!), and the simple repetition of having several children (5, in my case). You know the drill – one kids asks the question, I answer, someone else hears my answer and misheard the question and I have to clarify, then someone else asks the question again…I am regularly answering the same question several times! Kinda makes me nutso…:)

  24. Katy-Anne says:

    Oh I really want to win this one!

    My hardest thing has having to struggle with my feelings regarding spanking. I choose not to spank, but it’s hard to implement that. I have a disabled child and it’s always heartbreaking when people imply or outright say that he’s not disabled, he’s just naughty because we haven’t spanked him. I hate dealing with morons. If they came to my house and saw my son in his everyday life, they’d know he wasn’t a normal little boy. In fact, most others realize it, but it’s the few morons that ruin it.

  25. Listening. Being a parent has made me realize how little I listen and show compassion because I always have something I need to be doing! I don’t have time to stop! I have had to learn to listen to stories about Legos, lots and lots of Legos, and try to find interest in them. That’s my son’s love language – Legos. My daughter talks about things slightly more interesting to me, but usually at great length. Jesus showed compassion and met people where they were, and didn’t rush by them because he was oh so busy cleaning the kitchen.

  26. I have five kids ranging from 16 down to 6. I never knew teens would be so challenging!

  27. It is so hard to stop and really listen to my children when I am in a rush to do something, like get dinner on the table. I wish I could worry less about the food being hot, and spend the time to listen.

  28. Sometimes I just plain don’t know what to do. I stand there, staring at them, trying to come up with a loving, wise point of training and I’m at a complete loss. Sounds like this book may give me some ideas!

  29. laura h. says:

    The one aspect of parenting I have found to be the most difficult and the one nobody tells any soon-to-be-parent about is that mentally you are going to be taxed to the limit.

  30. What I’m struggling with at the moment is patience with our oldest. She’s a wonderful, imaginative, super smart, 6-year-old. She’s also very intense, bossy towards the 4-year-old, and needs almost constant interaction. It seems like the whole day is, “Mom! Look at me, Mom!” “Mom, listen to this great ____.”….”Mom! Come watch me ____.” Those are all wonderful things, but when it’s literally nonstop from morning until night I find it very tiring. And hard to balance giving her a healthy amount of attention, while still giving our other two children the time & attention they deserve (but don’t ask for as forcefully as their older sister).

  31. The thing I struggle with the most and never dreamed I would have a hard time is praising them more. I am always seeing what needs correction and I need to remember to praise. This books sounds wonderful and an answer to prayer for me. I would love to win it!

  32. I find it difficult to really focus on my children rather than being distracted by what “needs” to be done.

    I have been very interested in grace-based parenting and would love to read this book!

  33. Follow through. I set up great systems to make sure things are done but the follow through is hard.

  34. Mary Garrigan says:

    it’s so hard to find the time to do the little things with them. like going on a walk and looking at rocks. I get caught up in the daily chores. I don’t want to miss out on the little things that go on everyday.

  35. I think the hardest aspect of parenting is how my husband and I react in extremely stressful situations. You don’t read how to be in front of your children in parenting books, so it’s a tremendous learning curve. You are your children’s model and if they see you act a certain way in any type of experiencesituation, they will probably do a similar behavior. My husband and I try to be open as possible with our children, even in the tough times. When my Father passed on and I got the phone call, my son saw his Mother break down and cry and his Father show love and comfort , when he was about four years old. Today, at fourteen, he is a well-adjusted, loving and caring young man. I think our behaviors, as parents, helped shape what he is today.

  36. I didn’t think it would be so challenging to spend “playtime” with my kids. It just gets pushed further down the priority list during the day until I go to bed and realize I missed out again!

  37. Being consistent is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, especially when I’m tired, my husband has been gone for 5 days, and my children misbehave over and over. At those times I either tend to be too lenient and let things go that I shouldn’t, because I just don’t want to deal with it, or I overreact the other way and am too strict. I so want to be consistent with how I discipline and respond to both their naughtiness and the times when they’re just being little kids.

  38. Brandie P says:

    To enjoy them without always feeling the need to correct them.

  39. Since our child is only 15 months old, it seems that her needs are changing constantly! A big challenge! More importantly for me, she is a very sensitive girl and correcting or disciplining her in a loving way is the thing I find most challenging. I want her to know right from wrong, but seeing her feelings hurt is horrible!

  40. I would love this book! Gentleness and patience is very hard for me. I have a strong-willed 3-year-old who is a daily challange for me…she can be so full of joy and silliness and then turn into a ball of rage so quickly! We are working with the 7-year-old on not lying as well. And in about a month we’ll have another 5-year-old added to our family. I could use this book right about now!

  41. I definitely need to read this one! I think just about everything parenting-related has been harder than I first imagined it might be! My oldest (almost teenager – yikes) with RAD provides me with plenty of challenges every day. I love being a mom, but have so, so much to learn!!

  42. I did not expect that I would so easily become irritated and lose my patience. I thought I would always be HAPPY with me children and never be annoyed by them. Clearly I had a bit of fairy-tale going on in my head. 🙂 I’m learning that me being a good mom is so much more about fixing me and my wrong attitudes than it is about fixing my kids so they can be “perfect”.

  43. The hardest for me is when I displine them for some behavior, and soon after catch myself doing the same behavoir. (This is especially true when I talk to them about their attitude and/or tone of voice.) Children truly do hold up a mirror.

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