Brenda and her husband were forced to answer this question when their oldest daughter Katie abruptly moved out of the house with no means of support. It was not an illegal or immoral decision, but it was one that wasn’t good for her. Their determination to keep an open door of communication is documented not only by their story, but by comments from Katie in each chapter as she offers insights from her own perspective.
With practical tips and relatable stories, Brenda shares how to model God’s parenting style and explains the difference between the parent’s responsibilities and the child’s, then helps mom and dad discover ways to develop and nurture a relationship with their child that will last a lifetime.
I wanted to read this book because I’m watching my sister and brother-in-law co-parent with his ex-wife and her new husband. The households are very different, and their daughter is going to grow up with some ideals and understandings that reflect her mother’s while others reflect theirs – especially now that she’s a teenager! I wondered, “What would I do or say? How can I encourage my sister?” That’s why I picked this book.
Brenda Garrison isn’t a psychologist or social worker – she’s a mom and a Christian. She raised her family in the church believing that exposing her kids to that environment would mold them into the children she expected (a common misunderstanding). When things didn’t go as planned, Garrison didn’t understand what had happened. Turning to others for support and to the Bible for guidance, she’s been able to support her child without enabling wrong behaviors. Her daughter respects her, even if they don’t always agree. The relationships – with family and with God – were more important to Garrison than appearances.
Garrison doesn’t just talk about her family. She talked to lots of parents and children to find out how they handled situations. The obvious result isn’t the same – some kids are still sinning, some are stuck in bad situations, and others are now Christians with families of their own. The hidden result, however, is universal – the children know that their parents love them. What I appreciate about Garrison is her dedication to Biblical truth, regardless of how difficult it might be. She’s not in the business of making her kids happy all the time – she wants to raise moral, strong daughters, and she’s willing to upset them in the present if it will help them in the future.
While there are a couple of points on which I’m not entirely convinced, overall this book uses strong, Biblical principles as guiding lights. I appreciate that these aren’t theories or suppositions about how children should behave in certain situations – it’s full of real life experiences and the practical applications that can help parents guide their children into mature adulthood.
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