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Book Review: Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

shepherding a child's heart cover Over the last few months, I have been participating in a study at my church of the book Shepherding a Child’s Heart.  This book has been eye opening to me and I thought I’d share my personal feelings and thoughts about it with all of you. 

The basis of the book is raising your children in a godly biblical way.  So often in our society we are caught up in the pop psychology of child raising that we stray so far away from how we are supposed to raise them.  I personally have tried many of the “tried and true” methods, including a ton of SuperNanny’s tricks and none of them have worked with our son.  Why?  Because they don’t get to the heart… they just focus on getting your child to do what you want them to do.  The main purpose of this book is to get you to focus on the heart and the attitude of the heart, to teach your child that God has placed you as the authority in their life to protect and guide them and that you serve as their authority under God. Once you teach the heart to love and to serve, the behavior changes.  It’s not only teaching your child’s heart, but it teaches your heart along the way. 

Tripp explains the two biblical methods of discipline are the rod (spanking) and communication.  He goes into great depth in explaining the appropriate way to spank and how not spanking puts your child in peril spiritually.  It was difficult for me to read this because my husband and I had decided not to spank because we had seen how upset we got with our son and felt like we didn’t want to spank in anger.  Godly discipline is NEVER done in anger, but in love.  Doing it in love prevents abuse and actually leads you to a stronger relationship with your child.  Since implementing this type of discipline, we have seen how differently we address our child’s behavior and how he is learning that we love him and that is why we aren’t letting “this one go”.  It’s a hard way to parent, but it’s the right way.

Tripp also goes into great detail about why the typical methods of discipline don’t really work and why as our children get older, they will rebel.  It’s really eye-opening!  It’s no wonder children are so rebellious these days and why so many are doing things that we never would have thought of at such a young age.  Parents are taking the easy way out. 

The only negative I have to say about this book is that there isn’t a lot of practical application examples.  However, through the Shepherding the Heart Ministries, a variety of tools with examples that are very helpful are offered.  Ginger Plowmann offers a  great supplemental resource in her Wise Words for Wise Moms chart that gives scripture references in dealing with specific issues.  The book does have review and thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter which are helpful in getting you to really understand the concepts.

All in all, this is a fantastic book written by a father, teacher, counselor and pastor.  With years and years of personal experience, his insight is clear and heartfelt.  He lets you know the struggles his family has had with certain things and he gives examples of how raising your child biblically makes all the difference in the end.  I highly recommend this book to anyone. 

Ephesians 6:4  “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Have you read this book?  Would you recommend it to other parents?

6 Responses to Book Review: Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Amy
    November 18, 2009 @ 10:28 am

    One of my favorite books. I think it’s time to pull it off the shelf and read it again!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Jennifer
    November 20, 2009 @ 6:51 pm

    My husband and I both read this book along with a small group at church in preparation for our first child. Even though we’ll have to wait a while to put it into practice we do plan to follow the principals outlined in his book. (He’s only 4 months old now!) Until then we’re sharing positive Christian music with him (which he loves) and have several children’s books that highlight His Greatness!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by jen
    November 22, 2009 @ 2:08 pm

    One of my favorite- top of the list- child rearing books. I read it 10 years ago when my boys were small and still refer to it.
    A useful tool!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Bonnie
    January 2, 2010 @ 5:20 pm

    Here is another excellent article on listening to an older woman instead of a man in the areas of loving your husband and children, and of keeping your home.


  • Comment by Christy
    January 2, 2010 @ 6:53 pm

    Thank you Bonnie for the link. I agreed with most of it, but found it rather disheartening that someone would criticize women for having c-sections. I did have them with both of my children, but it was medically necessary to save not only my life but the life of my children. Love the idea that she is promoting women to look to older women for advice. We definitely need to guidance of our elders!!!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Bonnie
    January 2, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

    I have had 4 C-sections myself. I almost bled to death due to placenta previa with my 6th baby. He was delivered 6 weeks early but had no complications at all. He never even went on the ventilator. I think what she is referring to is the medical control of childbirth. Many C-sections and induced labors are totally unnecessary. Many women seem to have more faith in their OB/GYN than they have in God and the wonderfully created bodies He has designed. I am guilty of that myself. I had a successful VBAC with my 7th child. My next pregnancy ended in miscarriage. By the time I was pregnant again the medical thinking, at least in my area, had gone back to considering repeat C-sections safer than VBAC. I followed my doctor’s advice and had a completely unnecessary repeat C-section. I never considered that once I had the repeat C-section I had have one with any other baby since most OBs won’t deliver a VBAC after a repeat C-section.

    So although my first C-section was necessary to save my life and the life of my child, I feel I was in sin by not trusting the Lord with my other deliveries. He had already shown me that He would bring me through another natural delivery after that first C-section. I put my trust in man and not in my Lord. So…yeah…I can see how one who desires to encourage women to have natural, God-focused deliveries could use some strong language talking about C-sections.

    Again…I ask you to please reconsider Tedd Tripp’s parenting views. I have seen the DVD series that goes along with the book. He does not come across as a gentle, loving father at all. He seems very harsh and strict. Our Father in heaven is full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. His mercies are new everyday. He knows we are only dust.

    In Christ,
    Bonnie W.

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