Parenting – Chapter 12

Parenting – Chapter 12

Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul Tripp

Chapter 12 – Joe Haferbecker

Tripp begins this chapter by offering the following principle: “The goal of parenting is not control of behavior, but rather heart and life change.” As is the case with most, if not all, of the ideas in this book, there is no arguing that this principle is completely sound. But it is also the case that, as sinful human beings, it is extraordinarily difficult to remember these basic principles in the face of the challenges that parenting offers.

It is important that we don’t misunderstand Tripp. He is not saying that parental control is a bad thing or that it has no place. He writes, “You must give them God’s law and the household rules that apply those laws to daily living…You must step in again and again and protect your kids from themselves…You must discipline them in the face of their rebellion.” His point is not that control should be ceded, but that control must not be the goal. He writes, “Your dear children desperately need your parental control, but they will not be all God has called them to be if that’s all that you give them.”

Tripp says that what children need more than anything is to “see their sin, so they’ll cry out for God’s mercy.” Trip does an excellent job of always drawing us back to foundational concepts. Our kids have the same problem we have; they have an inclination to sin. And our kids need the same solution we need, Jesus. If they don’t see their need for the Savior, how can they cry out for Him, or place their hope in Him? How will they know that they need to hope for a changed heart in the first place, if we don’t make that clear to them?

We must never feel that we have adequately parented simply because we have exerted control over the comings and goings of our children. If that is the goal, if we feel satisfied because we feel in control, we will fall short of our calling.