Parenting makes me think of the weather. It’s constantly changing, it comes in extremes and I never feel prepared for the newest season.
I’m in the phase of launching a couple of my young adult children out of the nest. Some days feel like a tornado of change. Parenting books aren’t just for new parents. Every season brings change, challenges and a chance to grow.
Here are my top 19 recommended Christian parenting books (in random order) from cradle to college:
19 of the Best Christian Parenting Books
When I was a young parent, I attended a conference by Tim Kimmel and it was formative in my parenting journey. I tend to be a control freak and this book helped me change my parenting style. Dr. Kimmel “offers a refreshing new look at parenting. Rejecting rigid rules and checklists that don’t work, Dr. Kimmel recommends a parenting style that mirrors God’s love, reflects His forgiveness, and displaces fear as a motivator for behavior. As we embrace the grace God offers, we begin to give it-creating a solid foundation for growing morally strong and spiritually motivated children.”
2. Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child’s Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days by Dr. Kevin Leman
This book sat on my bedside table for a solid year. Dr. Kevin Leman offers very practical advice. I still use the B doesn’t happen until A method and it works! “Have a New Kid by Friday shows parents how to reverse negative behavior in their children–fast! With his signature wit and encouragement, Dr. Leman offers them hope and real, practical, doable strategies for regaining control and becoming the parents they always wanted to be.”
For a couple of years, before Janel wrote this great book, she shared her insight in guest posts on my blog. She offers an amazing global perspective as a former missionary, so if you’re looking for an age-appropriate, uber-easy ideas and activities that will draw kids toward God
- questions to kickstart meaningful conversations, along with journaling prompts for both you and your kids
- hands-on life skills for teaching kids what the world often rejects—like community, self-control, humility, and Christ-anchored identity
- small-group discussion questions and lists of additional resources
I wrote this book because my children’s entitlement revealed my own and I wanted to live a grateful life and lead them by example. Gratitude shows us what we have instead of what we don’t. It’s never too late to raise grateful kids. Get ready to cultivate a spirit of genuine appreciation and create a Jesus-centered home in which your kids don’t just say―but mean!―“thank you” for everything they have.
Sally has been a mentor for years to me personally and guided untold parents in their journey with her wisdom. This is one of my favorite books she has written. “There is good news waiting for you in the pages of The Lifegiving Home. Every day of your family’s life can be as special and important to you as it already is to God. In this unique book designed to help your family enjoy and celebrate every month of the year together, you’ll discover the secrets of a life-giving home from a mother who created one and her daughter who was raised in it: popular authors Sally and Sarah Clarkson. Together they offer a rich treasure of wise advice, spiritual principles, and practical suggestions.
There’s a reason this book has sold over a 1 million copies! It’s eye-opening when you begin to understand how to make sure your child know they are loved. This book will help you
- Discover your child’s love language
- Assist your child in successful learning
- Use the love languages to correct and discipline more effectively
This very popular book was “written for parents with children of any age, this insightful book provides perspectives and procedures for shepherding your child’s heart into the paths of life. Shepherding a Child’s Heart gives fresh biblical approaches to child rearing.”
I loved writing this book. Almost any parent you ask would tell you that they want their children to be happy, successful adults. But many of us forget (or never knew to begin with) that lasting personal joy is not necessarily found the way the world says it is–through reaching a certain socioeconomic status, having a certain job, buying a certain house, or having a certain amount in one’s bank account. Personal satisfaction comes not from grabbing onto things but from holding them with an open hand and, very often, giving them away.
9. The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ’s Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children by Sally Clarkson
This book helps moms see past the mundane daily to do lists and take a deeper look into their calling into motherhood. The Ministry of Motherhood will help readers:
- Make Life’s Mundane and Nitty-Gritty Moments Work for You and Not Against You.
- Discover Ways to Make Character-Building a Natural Part of Live.
- Teach Your Child in the Same Way Jesus Taught the Disciples.
- Pass on Crucial Gifts that Will Serve Your Family for a Lifetime.
10. Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build A Lasting Faith by Natasha Crain
In this book, you’ll find 40 of the most common challenges kids face—along with clear, easy-to-understand responses you can discuss together. This book will help you…
- encourage open dialogue on issues your kids might hesitate to talk about
- replace your children’s doubts with the confidence only God’s truth can give
- equip your kids to build the good thinking skills essential for today
11. Grace-Based Discipline: How to Be at Your Best When Your Kids Are at Their Worst by Karis Kimmel Murray
Karis is the daughter of Grace-Based Parenting author Tim Kimmel. She had a front row seat to learning about parenting with grace instead of control. In this book, readers will learn how to:
- Stay calm, even when you’re staring down the barrel of a loaded toddler
- Customize your discipline to your child’s unique personality, age and needs
- Set rules based on God’s priorities, not yours
- Apply consequences that really work
You might think that Scripture doesn’t have much to say about the food you make for breakfast, how you view your postpartum body, or what school choice you make for your children, but a deeper look reveals that the Bible provides the framework for finding answers to your specific questions about modern motherhood. Discover how closely the gospel connects with today’s motherhood.
13. Talking with Your Kids About God: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have by Natasha Crain
“This practical and timely resource gives parents the confidence of knowing what to discuss with their children and how to discuss it in order to facilitate impactful conversations that will form the basis of a lifelong faith. In a friendly, parent-to-parent voice, Natasha Crain identifies 30 specific conversations about God that parents must have with their children, organizing them under the categories of:
– the existence of God
– science and God
– the nature of God
– believing in God
– the difference God makes
This book of the year winner is sure to assist you in your parenting journey. “In this life-giving book, Paul Tripp offers parents much more than a to-do list. Instead, he presents us with a big-picture view of God’s plan for us as parents. Outlining fourteen foundational principles centered on the gospel, he shows that we need more than the latest parenting strategy or list of techniques. Rather, we need the rescuing grace of God―grace that has the power to shape how we view everything we do as parents.”
This book has sold nearly 1 million copies. “Trusted by generations of parents, counselors, and teachers to lovingly raise responsible children, Parenting with Love and Logic includes solutions for dozens of specific topics such as:
- Managing screen time
- Grades and report cards
- Getting ready for school
- Peer pressure
- Navigating crisis situations and grief
“With wisdom and empathy, they take you through the ins and outs of instilling the kind of character in your children that will help them lead balanced, productive, and fulfilling adult lives. You’ll learn how to:
- Define appropriate boundaries and consequences for your kids
- Set limits and still be a loving parent
- Bring balance to an out-of-control family life
- Apply the ten laws of boundaries to your parenting
- Understand the six steps to implementing boundaries in your home
Don’t forget to check out the Boundaries family collection of books and workbooks dedicated to key areas of your life, including dating, marriage, raising teenagers, and leadership.”
If technology is the new addiction, then multitasking is the new marching order. We check our email while cooking dinner, send a text while bathing the kids, and spend more time looking into electronic screens than into the eyes of our loved ones. With our never-ending to-do lists and jam-packed schedules, it’s no wonder we’re distracted.
But this isn’t the way it has to be.
Special education teacher, New York Times bestselling author, and mother Rachel Macy Stafford says enough is enough. Tired of losing track of what matters most in life, Rachel began practicing simple strategies that enabled her to momentarily let go of largely meaningless distractions and engage in meaningful soul-to-soul connections.
18. The Read Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections With Your Kids by Sarah Mackenzie
I love this book and the passion it birthed in me to read aloud to my kids. “The stories we read–and the conversations we have about them–help shape family traditions, create lifelong memories, and become part of our legacy. Reading aloud not only has the power to change a family–it has the power to change the world.
But we all know that connecting deeply with our families can be difficult in our busy, technology-driven society. Reading aloud is one of the best ways to be fully present with our children, even after they can read themselves, but it isn’t always easy to do.”
“In The Lifegiving Parent, respected authors and parents Clay and Sally Clarkson explore eight key principles―heartbeats of lifegiving parenting―to shed light on what it means to create a home where your children will experience the living God in your family. Now parents of four grown children―each with their own unique personality and gifts―Sally and Clay have learned (sometimes the hard way!) that the key to shaping a heart begins at home as you foster a deep and thoughtful God-infused relationship with each child.”
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Almost any parent you ask will tell you that they want their children to be happy, successful adults. But many of us forget (or never knew to begin with) that lasting personal joy is not necessarily found the way the world says it is–through reaching a certain socioeconomic status, having a certain job, buying a certain house, or having a certain amount in one’s bank account. In fact, personal satisfaction comes not from grabbing on to things but from holding them with an open hand and, very often, giving them away.
In this inspiring book, popular parenting blogger and author Kristen Welch shows parents how to discover for themselves and instill in their kids the profound joy that comes from sharing what we have been given–our time, our talents, and even what’s in our wallets–with those who have less. Through powerful personal stories as well as stories from Scripture, Welch offers a tantalizing alternative to status quo parenting that has the power to impact not only our own families but also the entire world.
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