In Parenting with Loving Correction, Sam Crabtree argues for the necessity of raising children with love, care, and discipline. The author asserts that proper discipline is a critical means by which we bring up children to become mature Christians that contribute to the church and society. Crabtree defines discipline as being the corrective response of a parent to steer a child towards compliance of established standards whenever the child’s behaviour, actions, or words contravene those pre-determined requirements. The first part of the book explains why discipline is so crucial to child-rearing and the profound implications of appropriate discipline throughout a child’s life. Next, the second part discusses the building blocks to proper discipline: ensuring discipline is God-centered, speaking truth in all circumstances, and rewarding obedience instead of disobedience. In the final part, the author shares pragmatic advice on how to handle general and specific situations with godly discipline. There are several nuggets of wisdom that the author insists upon throughout the book worth highlighting. Firstly, Crabtree argues that discipline must be dispensed quickly so that the child knows the parent is serious about addressing misbehaviour. This includes not allowing children to hijack the teaching moment by bickering, negotiating, or redirecting the core issue at hand which is disobedience. Secondly, the author urges parents to clearly outline what acceptable behaviour is, stick to the established standard, and follow through with the corrective action without deviation. By doing so, children will know what is expected of them and have no excuse for ignorance or forgetfulness. Thirdly, despite the book’s main focus on parenting with firm discipline, Crabtree emphasizes that generous positive affirmation at all times is just as important in shaping and growing parent-child relationships. Lastly, Crabtree states that discipline is no substitute for transformational heart change that comes from the Spirit regenerating young hearts to respond to the gospel. However, this is no excuse for abandoning corrective discipline prior to and after a child’s profession of faith.
I greatly recommend this book to all parents but especially to those who have young children as discipline is critical in the early stages of a child’s life. In our current culture, disciplining children is often viewed negatively as being abusive or harmful to the development of the child. Moreover, many parents tend to fear that corrective discipline will irreparably damage their relationship with their children. Contrary to such attitudes, Crabtree argues that when we do not discipline our children in the fear of the Lord, we are being unfaithful to our call as stewards of God’s gifts to us. Furthermore, we are also harming our children’s view of the authority of God and other legitimate authorities in their lives may it be teachers, bosses, or government officials. In doing so, children grow up to become adults who are malicious and spiteful towards anyone or anything that attempts to correct or subdue them. By administering consistent, appropriate discipline and lavishing loving affirmation, parents are fulfilling God’s will to use them as His primary agents to raise children who will honour, praise, and glorify Him.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a review copy of this book from Crossway.