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"Tough Stuff Parenting" By Paul Basden and Jim Johnson


Book Review by Colette SanFelice 

This was such a great book to read! This book takes 10 very prominent issues and breaks them down for parents to have open communication with their children. Each chapter spends time breaking down how to communicate with the various age groups of your children. The authors are very sensitive to modern culture yet stand firmly with biblical standards. 

The main topics in this book include but are not limited to: 

Partying 

Divorce

Having sex

Awareness of other religions

Racism

Dealing with "difficult situations"

Porn

Same sex attraction

Drugs and alcohol

Suicide

With each chapter/topic the authors offer specific advice for parents of elementary-age children, tweens and teens. 

The chapters I personally found the most insightful were; Divorce, racism and same sex attraction. I appreciate how this book is nonjudgmental and offers multiple perspectives on handling the situations. 

I would highly recommend this book, especially in light of the temperature of our current society. These are all difficult conversations to have, but beyond important for us as parents to have them with our children. 

“Screamfree Parenting” by Hal Runkel

Book Review by Colette SanFelice

The title of this book is misleading in my opinion as it focuses more on overall self-control as a parent and dealing with our own anxiety as parents and how that might come out while parenting and specifically dealing with an argument or disagreement. 

"Kids want collected, levelheaded parents. Your kids want you to remain unflappable, even when they flip out".

 Throughout this book the author points out ways for us parents to stop orbiting around our children and focus on ourselves instead. "The greatest thing you can do for your children is to focus on yourself". The author points out that by focusing on yourself you will have a happier family. The only way to retain a position of influence with our children is to regain a position of control of ourselves.  

I felt this book did a good job of explaining how important it is to let your children make their own choices...as difficult as that may be at times. The author states, "What you want is for your kids to approach you and share their lives with you. When you overreact to the information they disclose, you send mixed signals".

I felt Chapter 6 does a great job of highlighting dealing with resistance. "Be the first to bow to your children. Not out of deference but out of respect and gratitude". The book also speaks a lot about the importance of boundaries and everyone in the family having their own space. 

Chapter 10 speaks a lot about communication and the importance of consistency. "It comes down to integrity; meaning what you say, saying what you mean, and following through with what you promise".

This book offers many follow-up questions at the end of the chapters that are helpful in reflection as well as some exercises to focus on our own emotional reactivity. There are also stories of families' personal struggles. 

I would recommend the book; it seems it would be helpful for parents with toddlers all the way up. It would certainly be worth a parents’ time to read this book.