Parenting with Loving Correction by Sam Crabtree.
Book Summary: “This book aims to help you better understand loving correction clear steps and practical tips aimed at transforming not only your children’s behavior but also their hearts. Rooted in three principles—keep it God-centered, always mean what you say, and reward obedience rather than disobedience—this is a guide to consistent, faithful discipline that mirrors the grace-giving, truth-speaking God of the Bible and sets the tone for a loving , joy-filled home. ”
Target Parenting Audience: Parents of children ages infant to teenagers (Grandparents can benefit from this book too).
What Makes this Different from Other Parenting Books: It focuses on parenting young children with still a broad scope of application (infant to teens). The book has more practical and specific applications for families when some books can be so principled/general that it’s hard to find relevant applications. It is a shorter and faster read (117 pages) and succinctly provides theological and practical clarity as it bridges behavior and heart change. His entire chapter on “Reward Obedience, Not Disobedience” is something you don’t typically see in these books, and he gives good clarity on defining it and differentiating between “bribery” and rewards.”
Strengths: This books contains simple chapters with a simple formula for approaching parenting. It returns consistently back to its main argument and definitions throughout. It’s so specific in application that it feels practical even before you reach the “practical” section of the book. And like other parenting books, it has a way of making you say “ouch” (in conviction) for things that you forgot or for the things that you did not know. Crabtree gives good theological/biblical support for his arguments and brings attention to the heart behind the actions of a child
Improvements/Needs Clarity: First, rewarding obedience is something that may need to be harmonized with other children’s books (since many disagree with rewarding obedience). Second, giving more practical examples on dealing with correction while having multiple children could be helpful. Third, I had hoped there’d be more clarity and explanation about spanking, but only a short section was given (but many other parenting books can supplement this). Fourth, he can expand more about how to “say things once,” for a child. Children are rebellious but they’re also forgetful, especially younger children. Some more words of clarity would be helpful.
Recommendation: The book is a good complement to the popular Christian parenting books out there. I do recommend parents picking up this book as a reference and and as a full read (time permitting). If anything, I recommend reading the portions listen in in “My Applications from the Book”
My Applications from the Book:
Here are the things that I hope to apply with grace in my family.
Behavior and the Gospel: Behavior change is not inconsistent with heart change (pg. 23), “on the way to the heart, good discipline shapes behavior.” Godly discipline will allow children an opportunity to listen to the Gospel, if they can’t listen then they can’t believe (pg. 37).
Promptness and Words: Act promptly and decisively in correction, a lack of consistency teaches them our instruction means nothing and trust in our words is diminished (pp. 28-29). Continue consistency. No response means they have no trust in our words.
Explanation and Obedience: Teach obedience first and explanation later (pg. 37), debating parental instructions demonstrates rebellion, not insight from a child (pp. 65-66).
Saying “Yes”: “Say yes often. Then say no only when necessary…. A steady diet of wise affirmations establishes a helpful and healthy context…” (pg. 54).
Change up the Mood: Don’t be afraid to change up or lighten the mood with the children (Pg. 55). Don’t be grumpy 24/7!
Whining: When children request something, whining is unacceptable. The Crabtree family implemented the following: “When you ask for something, we’ll consider it. If you whine, permission is automatically denied, and the answer to your request will be no.” (pg. 66).
Raising the Voice: Be mindful of having children only obey when the voice is raised. In this situation, “children learn that they don’t have to mind until the decibels climb” (pg. 82). Watch the tone and voice!
Say Things Once: “Everyone will be far happier if you say things once (and only once), and then follow through.” (pg. 82)
Plan Ahead: Communicate plans to the child in advance and carry it out of the scenario takes place. Try also avoiding circumstances that tempt bad behavior (pg. 92).