The teachers and I regularly get questions about parenting. Moms and dads come to us seeking counsel on how to handle issues with their child’s behavior, attitudes, or struggles. We are eager to contribute whatever wisdom we can offer, but over the years I have come to believe that we do not actually need the kinds of “advice” or “strategies” we often seek. We ask for advice because we hope to discover “three easy steps to get my child to obey” or “four strategies to help my disorganized eight-year-old.” But I think we all know that parenting is more complicated than formulas. We have all learned about a strategy that sounds perfect only to realize weeks later that “it didn’t work on my kid.” What we need is a parenting philosophy, a framework, or grid -grounded in the Scriptures, of course -that we can apply to the myriad of situations and challenges that arise in bringing up our children. The Bible gives us this philosophy and framework in the Gospel. This week I encourage you to read this article from Paul Tripp, You Don’t Need More Parenting Advice. Tripp says,
Whenever I travel to speak, I always have someone come up to me afterward asking for an effective strategy for this, a guaranteed formula for that, or a proven approach to some other struggle. I try to impart helpful guidance in the moments we have together, but what they (and I) really need is a big-picture, gospel worldview that can explain, guide, and motivate all the things that God is calling them to do. . . . This is what we’re after in parenting. If you desire not only to cope but to thrive with vision and joy as a parent, you need more than seven steps to solving whatever. You need God’s helicopter view of what he’s called you to do. You need the gospel of Jesus Christ to reveal the foundational principles that will not only help you make sense of your task, but will change the way you approach it.
In this article he lists Fourteen Christian Principles of Parenting that I believe you will find helpful. Tripp has since published an excellent book on this topic, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family. In addition to this book you might also check out these two lists of recommended books on Christian parenting (Tim Challies recommendations, and Top Ten Books on Christian Parenting).