Motivate Your Child: A Review

I’ve often found that Christian parenting books begin to sound the same after you read a handful of them.  I wouldn’t quite say, “If you’ve read one, you’ve read them all,” but there is significant overlap in quite a few Christian parenting books.

Motivate Your Child by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller is not exactly like other parenting books.  It is a Christian book written from a Christian perspective, but it is different in that it gives parents practical and biblical advice on getting children to do what they’re supposed to do without being told over and over (and over!).  That does sound impossible, I realize.  (I think I’ve told my three boys to brush their teeth around 10,000 times in their lives, and they still don’t quite get it!)  This book helps in that area.

Motivate Your Child is divided into two main parts: 1) Moral development in children, and 2) Spiritual development in children.  Here’s a brief summary of each part:

Part one discusses internal motivation and parenting strategies for motivation.  Strategies include right words, proper tone, and discipline/direction.  Part one also talks about conscience, choosing what is right, and dealing with mistakes kids make.  Furthermore, the authors mention compassion towards others, initiative, and consequences in part one.  I appreciated this part of the book because it didn’t just talk about external obedience, but it also discussed a child’s heart and how God’s word directs and shapes a heart.  The little section on goal setting for children was also helpful; we should teach our children about goals in life and attaining them.

Part two is where the authors talk about spiritual development in children, including family devotions, the importance of Christian teaching in the home, and teaching kids to apply God’s word to their life (by the parents’ example and by parents’ teaching).  Basically, this part of the book gave some good advice on passing down the faith in such a way that kids are motivated to live it, not just hear it.  I was happy to see the authors mention the importance of the church in kids’ lives.  The authors were also wise to mention how spending time with kids, discussing real life issues and the faith, is good for our kids.  There was even some mention of what to expect as far as roadblocks in passing down the faith.

While I don’t agree with everything in this book, there are many strengths.  I liked the emphasis on patience, love, forgiveness, and moral compass and direction.  The book encouraged me to keep working hard to be a better Christian parent.  It’s easy to get discouraged when parenting, and this book reminded me to stay focused and deliberate while parenting in our Christian home.  I suppose one weakness of the book is that there is a lot of info in these 250+ pages.  You’ll have to take notes or mark the book up well to remember all the good advice and biblical principles!  But it is for sure worth the read.

Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, Motivate Your Child (Nashville: Nelson Books, 2015).

Thanks to “Booklook Bloggers” for sending me a review copy; I was not compelled to write a positive review.

shane lems
hammond, wi

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