Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Child Proof by Julie Lowe

About Child Proof: Parenting by Faith, Not Formula by Julie Lowe:

As a freedom-over-formula parenting book for parents of all ages, Child Proof provides biblical insight and encouragement for readers who want to parent by faith. As an experienced counselor of children and families and an adoptive and foster mom applying the CCEF model of biblical change, Julie Lowe uses Scripture and biblical wisdom to teach parents how to know their children and specifically love them with the love of Christ.

Every family is unique, which is why Child Proof explores the need for parents to cultivate personal and intimate care for their children as modeled in God’s individual, personal, and fatherly care to his children. This parenting book lays a foundation of parenting by faith and progresses by teaching parents how they can know their own children well and parent accordingly. By discussing particular issues parents might have in family life, Lowe demonstrates how parenting formulas aren’t the answer, and parenting with biblical wisdom is best for a proactive rather than reactive approach to parenting.

Through Lowe’s personal and professional experience, parents as well as those helping parents—pastors, counselors and counseling students, youth workers, and churches—will discover gospel-centered application rather than formulas for the ideal family, equipping parents to be experts at knowing their own children so they can know Scripture and live it out personally in their homes.

My thoughts:

This is the book I've been waiting for. I've always desired to mother my children the way that God parents His children. There's no shortage of parenting advice from Christian leaders and sometimes it's conflicting. At times, I've seen Christian leaders make their way seem like it's the only God-approved way.

So, in my pilgrimage to mother my children as God parents His children, I've made slow progress over the years. Reading this book was like having someone fling open heavy doors and let brilliant sunshine in. The first chapter deals extensively with parenting formulas and what we perceive as “normal.” I'm so grateful the author asserts: “Biblical principles remain universal and unchanging, [but] the way they are applied in specific ways is unique to each family's personalities, gifts, difficulties, and circumstances.” (Page 10)

In my opinion, that statement is the backbone of this book. It may seem simple, but it's not. Thankfully, Child Proof offers an opportunity to learn to parent a child as is best for the child. However, that can be hard when outright or perceived criticism attacks a parent. Therefore, it is essential that a parent be convinced about his or her methods. The means of accomplishing this, per the book, is prayer. When we pray and study God's truth, the Holy Spirit can give us specific wisdom for our individual children.

Once this premise is established, the rest of part one deals with topics such as Christ-centered parenting, becoming an expert on your child, discipline, and more. Part two delves into common parenting issues including: parenting a difficult (strong-willed) child, parenting a child with disabilites, when your child isn't thankful, technology and your child, and several other issues. To reiterate, the author discusses principles in Scripture and gives examples, but reminds the reader that these principles will look different in every family.

The chapters I found most helpful:

Chapter 5: When Rules Are Broken. – Kudos to the author for NOT telling me that I need to spank my child in order to apply discipline. This chapter is more about making sure the parent has the right mindset (we are all wandering sheep), assessing rules (instead of doling them out based on culture or advice from others), and cultivating strong character in a child.

Chapter 7: Parenting a Difficult Child. – The author takes on the concept that if you raise a child a certain way, he or she will turn out “right.” And the often unspoken assumption: if your child doesn't or isn't turning out “right,” then you must be doing something wrong. This section was immensely helpful and liberating because what worked great with my first child, didn't work so great on my second. I love my second child's determined spirit, but sometimes it can be challenging.

So, while Child Proof does indeed offer freedom from parenting formulas, beware: it's not a book telling you to relax and stay positive. It calls the parent to a deep, self-sacrifical love – the kind of love that Christ has for us. And sometimes, that's not easy. For me, it means tamping down my natural irritation so I can respond in love instead of anger. For others, it might mean passing up a good opportunity for yourself so you can do what is best for your child.

This book was intense. Seriously, I'll need to read this a few times to truly absorb it. I found that if I stopped reading in the middle of a chapter and did not return to it until the next day, I needed to start again at the beginning of the chapter. Otherwise, there was a disconnect and I didn't glean the message as well.

Child Proof: Parenting by Faith, Not Formula by Julie Lowe is a keeper for my bookshelf. As I've explained, I found it immensely helpful and I expect to read it again in the future. I do think the book could have benefited by addressing situations in which parents might not agree. My husband and I are both believers and want to parent our children well, but we still have some completely different ideas about how to parent. I imagine that blended families or single parents might also wish there was a section devoted to such situations.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this complimentary book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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