A simple search on Amazon.com for books on parenting produces pages of overwhelming options. Titles vary from Parenting from Love and Logic to Screamfree Parenting. I'm sure most parents would agree we'd rather be a loving parent than a screaming parent even without reading one of these titles, but with options so vast in approach or philosophy, what are selections Northridge would say are the best bang for your buck?
Below are our team's five favorite resources, most of which you can find at your campus' Resource Center.
1. Parenting Beyond Your Capacity by Reggie Joiner & Carey Nieuwhof
Parenting Beyond Your Capacity is an enjoyable and practical read that introduces the reader to the one important idea: parents are the biggest influence on their child's faith.
Our favorite part about this book is that it is not a "How To" book that promises your children will look like __ as a result of doing __. Having first removed an unrealistic picture of parenting, the authors encourage parents to inspire faith in their children through values which include: establishing strategic relationships and priorities, creating a family rhythm for faith discussions and modeling a consistent (not perfect) personal faith journey.
This book is a perfect read for someone who is preparing for the birth of a child or one who finds themselves in the beginning stages of parenting. Perfect for Northridge families as the authors reinforce Northridge Kids' philosophy in which our team is at it's best when we are partners with parents in the job of faith inspiration.
2. Gospel-Powered Parenting by William P. Farley or Shepherding A Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
Of the two books we recommend in the number two spot, we suggest that you pick ONE to read. Tripp and Farley's books both get into the nitty gritty of parenting in the daily grind. As a result, you will likely have to take your time to read and digest the concepts that confront and correct motivations, goals and methods that can go wrong in parenting. In both books, the authors attempt to re-focus our parenting on gospel priority in order to be an effective parent and faith-filled influence on our children.
While these books can be read by those preparing for childhood, they typically make a better read for those who are in or preparing to enter the toddler, preschool and elementary years of parenting.
3. Three Big Questions of a Frantic Family by Patrick Lencioni
Many parents lead successful organizations during their working hours and yet fail to lead successful home lives. Consultant and author Patrick Lencioni has discovered the biggest reason for this disparity is that few families have spent time thinking, strategizing and meeting about how to run their lives. As a result, families live reactively, which causes stress to lives of each family member that ultimately leads to frayed relationships.
While this is not a gospel-oriented book, Lencioni's book is a perfect read for families who feel stuck in the pace of their lives and want to take control again. You can also watch the Northridge Equip workshop on Frantic Family HERE.
4. Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware
If everyone was a pastor-theologian then teaching your kids about the Bible might not feel like such a challenge. For the rest of us, Bruce Ware has written a book that parents can utilize to read and discuss doctrine (statements of belief) with their children in one chapter a day format.
This book will serve as a great introduction to biblical beliefs for your child, and it can also serve as a helpful introduction or review of doctrine for parents. Recommended as reading and discussion resource for parents of upper elementary kids (3rd - 5th grade).
5. Where in the World by Holly Crawshaw
Each of the books on our favorite list is designed with parents in mind, except this one. Where in the World is a devotional that you can use to introduce your kids to the life of Jesus and the difference he can make in their life and faith journey. It can also be used to get your elementary-aged child interested in reading the Bible for themselves on a regular basis. Activities within help create interest and reinforce life-application of their daily reading.
BONUS: Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality by Jim Burns
While this book puts us over the advertised five favorites, we think Burns' work is an important book to have in your home due to the emotional baggage that is created by an improper view of human sexuality. The author, Jim Burns suggests, and we would agree, that it's never too early to begin a conversation with your children about sexual integrity. As a result, this book is a great resource to utilize for guidelines regarding the when and how to dialogue with your kids about sex and sexuality beginning in their childhood years.