A guide to help Christians parent their children with grace and an emphasis on the cross. How are parents to raise children so they don't become Pharisees (legalists) or prodigals (rebels)? It's all about grace-filled, gospel-driven parenting, says the mother/daughter team of Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson. Christian parents, in their desire to raise godly children, can tend toward rule-centered discipline. There is, however, a far more effective method--a grace-motivated approach that begins with the glorious truth of God's love for sinners. In Give Them Grace, parents will learn how to connect the benefits of the cross--especially regeneration, adoption, and justification--to their children's daily lives. Chapters address topics such as our inability to follow the law perfectly, God's forgiveness and love displayed at the cross, and what true heart obedience looks like. Fitzpatrick and Thompson also discuss discipline, dealing with popular culture, and evangelism as a way of life. Parents will find this book a great resource for raising grace-filled, Jesus-loving kids.
- Great content, but not the best audio
I did really like this book, and many of the other reviewers said enough about the content. I agree with them all, and don't want to just repeat what they said.
I do however, want to say that I didn't love the way the narrator read the book. I found her voice a bit distracting and boring. My husband agreed. Nothing against her; I'm sure she's a wonderful person. I just would have liked the audiobook much better had she been a little more "relaxed" in her reading style. It seemed stuffy to me.
- Paradigm Shifting Christian Parenting Resource
Give Them Grace by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson wasn’t a book I was expecting to enjoy or be impacted by as there are so many “Christian” parenting resources available today and many are average at best. However it only took a few moments to realise that this parenting resource was different and solidly Bible based.
This mother/daughter team presents a strong case for using grace based parenting rather than the rule based parenting found in many worldly parenting systems. The emphasis on having Christian parenting is to be commended and although I don’t agree with everything in the book it is one of the most solid parenting book I have ever read.
The narration is very good as usual and Tavia Gilbert handled both writer’s points of view beautifully. I have heard some books that she has narrated before and they were well done as well.
This parenting book is an essential resource for Christian parents who are not just looking to raise children that follow all the users and appear to be good but children who know they are saved by grace and live accordingly.
This audio book was gifted as a part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. More information can be found about this and other Christian audio books at christianaudio.com.
- Excellent, Convicting, and Comforting
I have to confess, I did not know whether or not to expect to like Give them Grace. I’ve read so many parenting books as a biblical counseling student and as a pastor that I could not imagine wanting to read one more. Elyse Fitzpatrick surprised me. This is an excellent little book that puts a well-defined, biblically-rich gospel presentation at the center of how we parent our children.
Fitzpatrick does not write her book as another how-to-parent guide. She instead centers all that she recommends parents do on the gospel. For example, when parents see their children doing good things, this is an opportunity for them to remind their children that this is Christlike, but it is also not what makes them right with God. When parents see their children doing wrong things, it is an opportunity to remind children that we all do wrong things, and that Christ is our only hope. I have never read a book that does such a good job of keeping our need for Christ and his grace at the center of parenting conversations.
On the down side, not all the recommended conversations in the book sound like conversations I could picture myself having. Some of the recommended things to say are just too perfect. However, I do not consider this to be something that really detracts from the book. We all know that we cannot script our conversations with our children. Fitzpatrick does a great job for us in attempting to lay out some conversational guidelines that we all should be bright enough to tailor to our own words and communication style.
I will be recommending this book highly to parents. It challenged me to consider how the gospel of Jesus impacts my own life on a day-to-day basis. It helped me to consider how to praise and correct my children with Christ at the center. It reminded me that the sovereign God, not my parenting skill, is the One who will save my children if they are saved. There is correction, joy, pain, and comfort in this work that I think any growing Christian parent can benefit from.
I received a free audio copy of this work from ChristianAudio.com as part of their reviewers program. It was beautifully read by Tavia Gilbert, who may have just become my favorite christianaudio.com narrator.
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- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Well, I have to say that this is now my number one book for Gospel Centred Parenting. This book covers it all. Written by a mother and grandmother team, who look at the mistakes they have made in their parenting to help us to avoid those mistakes with our kids. There are some very helpful tips on practical ways to implement the timeless Biblical principles that are paramount if we are wanting to parent as Christians. So many “Christian” parenting books miss one key element – Christ! This book does not do that.
Not only would I highly recommend this book to any parent of children of any age (but especially young children), but if adults applied the Biblical concepts and principles taught in this book, they would see their walk with God improve dramatically.
I found the quality and the "listenability" of this audiobook to be very high.
Recently a young mum and friend of mine – Naomi, did a review of this book herself, I would like to include her review here as well.
‘Give them grace’ is a unique parenting book. I would highly recommend it for someone struggling with their parenting and especially someone prone to condemnation and guilt they are not ‘doing the right thing’ with their kids. The gospel is rightly emphasised.
When I say this is a unique parenting book, it is the first ‘take on parenting’ I have come across in my limited experience that really does give God full glory for the work in our kids lives. It brings to attention that children cannot change their own heart and we cannot change their heart: Only God can. So we bring them to understand that and bring them to the gospel and to prayer. We don’t shake our heads incredulously at our kids when they sin ‘again’, because this reveals our own self-righteousness (O how many times have I done this). I had not heard such helpful suggestions before on helping a rule loving, self righteous before to understand the gospel.
There are really insightful suggestions in the back of the book for how to nurture, train and correct specific behaviours from a gospel point of view. Here is a quote a ‘Gospel correction’ suggestion to fighting-
“When you fight with your friend, you are saying to God that whatever you are fighting over is more important than him and his love. If you are fighting to be heard, or to have someone tell you that you are right, or over a toy, or over being the best- whatever it is, it is truly nothing compared to the satisfaction that you can find in Christ. You are forgetting the real prize in this life. The real prize is knowing that you are loved by him”. Now, we would have to adapt the suggestions to the age of the child.
I appreciate the points on the above review about the danger of the gospel seeming tiresome if the parent discusses it at every correction/discipline situation. Can they tire of something which gives them this much hope? They certainly do tire of legalism.
Ok. I am very biased toward this book. I like it a lot. If you only read one book on parenting, read the bible. But if you read two, read this one as well.
- excellent narration
Children need to “get” the Gospel. In parenting, we are often about obedience and rules, avoiding the dangers that grace carries. As a result, we instruct our children in a strick set of rules called moralism, in which the child behaves because they are taught to behave, then abandons because they never knew why. At least this is what the authors want you to believe and understand.
Based off this precept, Fitzpatrick and Thompson encourage you to get rid of the moralism, the rules, and the obedience, and replace it with a reason: the person of Christ and what He did. Introduce your children to grace, and let them learn what it means to be good.
“The Law guides but it does not give.”
“While the Law directs us, only the Gospel can drive us.”
The authors use biblical concepts and Scripture to point that rules have a place and purpose, but only when guided by the reason to do good. Without the death of Christ, we would have no hope to adhere to the Law. In this same concept, raising children is supposed to take similarity.
I’m not convinced just yet, but I’m willing to give it a final listen. Perhaps they are correct. Since the audiobook is fairly brief, I won’t be risking much to give it time.
Ah, but that’s the content. Why choose the audiobook? Often I find that I’m not fond of narration, but this book is quite different. While the book takes the untamed nature of the Gospel seriously, and teaches thorugh grace alone, through faith alone, and through Christ alone, it’s colorful writing, geared toward moms, is unmatched - except by Gilbert’s solid narration. Her inflection matches the author’s style excellently. Sitting back and listening, it seems as if it were a women’s small group meeting being led at a medium to fast pace. The intimate, yet peformed, reading takes this narration beyond simple vocal reproduction and into storytelling at its finest.
Overall, through both writing and narration, this book points out that our parenting is not Christian in nature. We are Christian parents, but not teaching in a Christian manner, and we should be.
One of the most riveting and connecting parenting books ever, the narration only enhances the experience. I recommend this for the dads too - after all, I just want to keep on listening.
- Strong Emphasis on the Gospel
Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Children with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson asks a very important question: What makes my parenting distinctively Christian? We all hope that our children will turn out well and get along in society, but if we are Christians, we know that isn’t what it’s all about.
Fitzpatrick and Thompson don’t just ask the question, though; they bring the answer in all its dazzling wonder: the gospel. Unfortunately, many of us default to teaching Law and morality instead of the gospel. But with a firm palate of Scripture, the authors paint a vibrant picture of how the gospel should impact our parenting, using specific examples, from what we teach our children about God to how we correct and discipline them. The narrator’s voice really gives life to the words of the book.
Give Them Grace is written primarily to moms, but I benefitted from it too. I was reminded that I need grace too, and this has helped me even in my interactions with my wife. If they turn appendix one (a fairytale-esque presentation of the gospel) into a children’s book, I will probably get it for my daughter.
At the risk of oversimplification, I’d say the book teaches us to love, discipline, and tell our kids about Jesus. And that is just what they need.
I received this book free from Christian Audio as part of their audio book review program. I was not obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are mine.
- Do you really need another Christian Parenting book?
Do you really need another Christian Parenting book and is your parenting really Christian?
Elyse and Jessica evaluate their work by this scathing statement and even get bold enough to state that the best parenting book is the Bible, then why another one you ask? Because many of them teach parents how to train up their children to be either Pharisees or Prodigals. That is all about to change when Mother and Daughter describe how to parent with grace and an emphasis on the Cross.
As a biblical counselor I see many Christian parents, in their desire to raise godly children, lean toward rule-centered discipline. There is, however, a far more effective method–a gospel-centered, grace-motivated approach that begins with the glorious truth of God’s love for sinners.
In Give Them Grace, parents will learn how to connect the benefits of the cross–especially regeneration, adoption, and justification–to their children’s daily lives. Chapters address topics such as our inability to follow the law perfectly, God’s forgiveness and love displayed at the cross, and what true heart obedience looks like. Fitzpatrick and Thompson also discuss discipline, dealing with popular culture, and evangelism as a way of life. Parents will find this book a great resource for raising grace-filled, Jesus-loving kids.
This was an exemplary and very interesting work, even now as kids have all grown and we are now interacting with grandchildren. It challenged, inspired, and enlighten me to remember the gospel first for myself, and the benefits of making time in the moment with children. Something not normally considered in the life of parenting or grand parenting. The author(s) made me think about the ‘rules’ we have for the grandkids when they come over;
No whining or complaining.
Ask before you do anything.
An adult will only ask you once.
No tattle telling.
In putting these through the grid, I see that every time we address these areas we get a chance to share the gospel with them, and it has been amazing to see the gospel of grace walked out as ages 5-10 respond differently to the same message. I was made aware too, how these same ‘rules’ can can tend toward rule-centered discipline and I need to be cautious of that. I thought the author(s) did a great job of holding my attention attention and the audio narrator even did a fantastic job of singing beautifully some of the songs in the book as well. Elyse and Jessica presented gospel centered parenting information in a cohesive, yet appealing manner. Even the appendixes were fantastic, especially the gospel story to share with kids! It goes without saying that NANC counselor Elyse successfully conveys Biblical truth and ensures that the Bible is the final authority for all matters of parenting. I highly recommend this book to any parents and grandparents who desire to supplement their Bible reading with gospel-centered application.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
(Listen: http://www.esvapi.org/assets/play.swf?myUrl=hw%2F19127003-19127005(ESV) )
- Just give them grace
In Give Them Grace by the mother/daughter team of Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, we read (and in the case of this audiobook, hear) of how we can best raise our kids not to be moralists, but to be followers of Christ. As parents, we often want our kids to represent us, even though we may say we want them to represent Christ. In turn, we make them into moralists and pharisees. Through admitting of mistakes made, humor, and examples of showing Christ to our kids, authors Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson explain how we can instead show the grace of Christ to our kids in raising them. Many of their examples hit home for me as I was listening to this audiobook. If you are struggling with how to raise your kids in Christ, and all it seems is that you're just raising little pharisees, then this book is for you. We often struggle with getting our kids to obey and it's frustrating. This book seeks to change that perception. It's not about getting our kids to obey. It's about showing them Christ and allowing Christ to change them to obey. We cannot save anyone, even though we often think we are responsible for our children's salvation.
This being an audiobook, I found the speakers very clear in their reading of the book. The speaker would switch between the two authors in the book very well and the sound was clear with no distortion.
I would heartily recommend this book to anyone with children. In fact, even if you don't have children, I believe it would help in your interactions with others. You can't expect unbelievers to act like believers, but you sure can show them Christ in your actions. In other words, "give them grace." I enjoyed the audiobook so much that I went out and bought a hard copy of the book for my wife to read.
This audiobook was provided free from Christianaudio.com in exchange for an unbiased review.
- Excellent resource by humbled mother
What I enjoyed the most about this particular resource is the humbled hindsight offered by Elyse. She openly admits to not getting it right all the time though she tried.
As a parent, we all understand the difficulty in maintaining our witness to our children when disciplining them. Elyse takes on the roll of that godly Christian mom that wants to be an asset and train up the younger women (and yes, men since men will also read this resource) to be better than she was as a parent. At the very least, be a bit more consistent.
I do wish in the chapter on discipline, they would have a been a bit less non-committal on the issue of spanking but they are adamant that spanking, if done properly, is biblical and that parents must come to their own (biblically-informed) conclusions on this matter.
I also was able to listen to this book from christianaudio. I found the quality of the audio to be exceptional. Tavia Gilbert narrated the book with great care and seemingly as a parent herself looking back on her own years as a mother. Her emotions run the gamut along with Elyse's writing from sorrow to joy and even singing with a beautiful voice that made me stop and listen to it again.
The only negative to the audio was once again the formatting of the files as they appear on my mp3 player. This has always been my biggest critique of christianaudio.
As a father of five children ages seven and under (as of the writing of this review), I found Elyse's exhortations, confessions, and gospel-centered message to be refreshing and encouraging. There are days when you do not feel like you are doing a great job of parenting (and some days this is true) but Elyse and her daughter, Jessica, point the readers to the same cross that, as parents, we should be pointing our children. I highly recommend this resource to all parents who call on the name of Christ as Lord and Savior.
- Paradigm shifting, must buy!
“Although we are Christian parents, it doesn’t necessarily mean that our parenting is distinctly ‘Christian’.”
Does your parenting look any different from a Mormon, Orthodox Jew, an “upright” Atheist?
There are so many wonderful things I can say about this audiobook. The narrator, Tavia Gilbert, was one of the first narrators that actually pronounced theological terms correctly (I hear lots of narrators mispronounce terms like propitiation or even Bible characters), and when there was a portion of a hymn in the book she sang it delightfully, in key and with the melody (most would just recite it). She was very good at using different voices during all the dialogs between parents and children that are found all throughout the book.
The authors, Elyse M. Fitzpatrick & her daughter Jessica Thompson, really challenge you and are good at making clear several doctrines that have to do with are parenting.
I was talking to a fellow member of my church who had just finished (and loved) this book and we came to the conclusion that, in short, this book shows applies the Doctrines of Grace to parenting. That simple! For example, because it takes Total Depravity seriously it doesn’t promote the popular “self-esteem” movement but realizes that we and they are sinners:
“Because we wonder whether Rebekah is regenerate we won’t thank her for obeying God’s law. If she isn’t saved she doesn’t have the Holy Spirit and she cannot choose to respond to God or obey His law from the heart.
The one encouragement we can always give, our children and one another, is that God is always more powerful than our sin and He’s strong enough to make us want to do the right thing. We can assure them that His help can reach anyone, even them. Our encouragement should always stimulate praise for God’s grace, rather than for our own goodness.
On the other hand, if we persist in seeking to build our children’s self esteem by praising them, we make them into our own image, boys and girls who idolize the benediction, adults who are enslaved to the opinions of others, and parents who pass on the lie to the next generation, even though it hasn’t worked to make them good either. Like us, our children crave the blessed benediction, “you are good”, but the Bible says, because we are not good, those words no longer apply to us. We are not good.”
It reminds us that we want to aim for their heart and not merely produce little hypocritical pharisees because outward behavioral compliance to rules is not the goal and we know it can wind up being hypocracy.
It will help you deal with kids who are disobedient or kids who are outwardly compliant but are obviously proud and hypocritical inwardly. It exposes the falsehood that Christian parenting is just keeping our kids away from everything we might consider “evil”, knowing that that isn’t enough because we know evil comes from within.
It debunks the myth of “Good parenting in, good kids out” and applies the truth that “Salvation if of the Lord” by taking the sovereignty of God in salvation seriously. Though God uses means, He is ultimately sovereign over our child’s salvation, so we need not lose hope or despair when they are not turning out how we would like. At this point it encourage alot, alot more prayer in our parenting (warning us that we don’t pray because we become self-reliant, or at least we think we do.)
It makes a strong case for corporal punishment (which is getting more and more sidetracked these days) and helps us to think through what actions are appropriate at which points in our child’s life.
If you already agree with concepts such as the Doctrines of Grace/Calvinism, or Two Kingdoms, Christian Hedonism, then this book will help you apply those doctrines to your parenting. If not, then the authors cover these doctrines, briefly and accurately, so you can learn these truths from the Bible and thus parent in a more “Christian” way.
I came to this book very skeptical, but wound up challenged, convinced, and very very edified and more in love with my Savior, Jesus Christ (this book was a paradigm shift for me). I hope I can pass this joy onto my kids in my parenting. I highly commend this book (even if you don’t agree with all the doctrines above) and plan on listening through it with my wife and probably on my own several more times.
- This book is excellent for raising your kids
We have begun to use this book in our counseling and training at church. Very well written. Highly recommended