Jim Newheiser and Elyse Fitzpatrick
Reviewed by: Vickie Swann
You Never Stop Being a Parent: Thriving in Relationship with Your Adult Children, by Jim Newheiser and Elyse Fitzpatrick. Published by P&R, 2010. Paperback, 224 pages, list price $14.99. Reviewed by OP member Vickie Swann.
If you are tempted to believe that parenting stops when your children become adults, you should read this book. It seems so obvious that "you never stop being a parent," but this fact seems to sneak up on some people. One of the strengths of this book is that it helps to clarify the ways in which parenting continues, yet changes, as children grow older. Parents who have spent two decades of their lives trying to shape their children often have a hard time letting go. Other parents think their parenting will be pretty much over once their children reach the age of eighteen, only to find that their most challenging years as parents are around ages eighteen to twenty-three.
This book discusses the issues that arise in parenting older children from a consistently biblical point of view. It is full of biblical advice and practical application. The authors have based this book on the assumption that "Scripture is sufficient not only to tell us how to gain salvation, but also to help us establish wise, godly relationships with our own adult kids."
The first chapter lays the gospel foundation. Wise living is the goal, not only of our parenting, but also for our lives. How does a couple prepare for the "empty nest"? How do you determine if you are being controlling or influential? A lot of good material to think about is presented. The most important part of the chapter comes at the very end: "We all need so much grace." Sinners living with sinners is challenging on every front. Especially when our kids have hurt us or gone against our wishes, we need the reminder of the forgiveness and grace that we have been given in the gospel.
The second chapter presents eight basic principles you want to teach your children before they walk out the door. Don't wait until your children are ready to leave home to read this chapter. Read it when they are small, and build on these biblical principles. It could save you some grief later on.
Subsequent chapters deal specifically with such significant issues as: How much do you help a child who is overwhelmed with irresponsible debt? What if your child is dating, or planning to marry, someone you don't approve of? How about that older child who wants to move back home? The advice is practical, doable, and helpful.
At the end of the book are appendixes with useful information, including sample contracts that could be helpful in some situations.
I think this book is a valuable resource for all parents. It holds out the hope of the gospel (in very practical ways) as the lifeline for parents in distress. I wish I had this book years ago!
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