Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review of "The Christian Parenting Handbook"

A girlfriend of mine that knows that I blog contacted me on FaceBook and made me aware of this parenting book that Dr. Turansky and Ms. Miller were trying to find a launch team for. I contacted Dr. Turansky and was selected to review the parenting handbook. (The launch will be from April 29th-May5th. If you purchase the book during this time, you will receive $400 worth of free resources. Please visit the site The Christian Parenting Handbook to view what resources you will receive and to find information on what you need to do to receive the resources.) I thought I did not need any assistance in this area. I just wanted to blog on other topics besides homeschool products and was looking forward to receiving the free resources. As an exceptional education teacher, I really thought I had an understanding of behavior modification and really did not need any help in this area. I have two daughters and although they are not perfect, they are well behaved and those around me confirmed my opinion of them. I began reading the table of contents and the first chapter is called "Consistency is Overrated." Well, this sounded really silly to me I thought. Every parent knows that we need to be consistent in order to see the transformation of behavior. I began reading the first chapter and oh my gosh, I'm a "Charlotte." I felt guilty when I'm not consistent and I tell myself that the reason why the behavior has not ceased is because of my inconsistencies. I'm doing something wrong and this is why they continue doing x, y, and z. Now, I'm curious to see what else they have to say so I continue reading. The authors said "By weaving together God’s Word with practical applications, you’ll begin to develop patterns that will make a tremendous difference in your life and the lives of your children. Paul warned in Colossians 2:8, See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." Oh my gosh, adding God to modifying behavior!!!! I never thought of such a thing!! Okay, now my arrogant self is fully interested in continuing to read more and more. The authors would state that behaviors are a heart condition and how we (parents) should rely on God's Word to teach our children how to live as Christ followers. Really!!!! There's actual Scripture in the Bible that addressees this topic like for instance Deuteronimy11:18-20 “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”Dr Turansky and Ms. Miller also wanted the parents to begin praying and asking our heavenly Father for wisdom, grace, patience, and perseverance. They suggested for the Bible to be the foundation and the ultimate authority. "It’s amazing how many passages in Scripture apply to the family. Look at the Bible as God’s training guide for life, and you’ll discover many, many biblical truths that will impact your parenting."

Behavior modification and its influence in the way children are disciplined was also talked about in the book. "By the 1950s behavior modification had also become the primary tool for parenting. Giving rewards and punishment to children worked quite well to modify their behavior." The situation with this technique is that the focus in on the behavior and not the child's heart. Why is the child behaving in this way? Why is the child lying or responding inappropriately? "The heart contains things such as emotions, desires, convictions, and passions. A child’s tendencies come from the heart. When a child lies to get out of trouble, that’s a heart issue. Simply focusing on behavior may provide some quick change, but lasting change takes place in the heart." Rewarding or giving negative consequences is not "bad" the problem is that the behavior is changed temporary but the issue still remains because the "heart condition" has not been dealt with. This situation reminds me of a time when I was attending college and was taking work experience for some extra cash. I was sent to a local daycare center and given a little girl to help teach how to read. We went out and sat at the picnic table. I introduced myself and told her what we were going to do and the first thing that she said was "What are you going to give me?" This was so sad that in order for her to want to learn how to read she needed to be basically bribed into doing what she needed to do. Society had taught her about extrinsic motivation and not about self gratification. Doing something because it's the right thing to do and not because "I'm going to get what I want." "Parents who simply use behavior modification often end up with kids who look good on the outside while having significant problems on the inside."

“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

So what do I do now? Do I continue extrinsically motivating my girls to do x, y, and z or do I teach them that we are a family and families help one another because we love each other. God uses punishment and rewards when we behave inappropriately or according to the Bible but more importantly, He looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 "For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." Dr. Turansky and Ms. Miller give a few suggestions on how to reach your little ones heart and teach them about relationships.

1) "Use sorrow instead of anger in the discipline process. Sorrow opens doors of relationship,
whereas anger builds walls."

2) "Use the Bible has an amazing quality: the ability to pierce through to the deepest areas of the heart." Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

3)"Don’t use the Bible in a harsh way. Instead, reveal what the Bible has to say about being kind, respectful, or obedient. There’s a lot of wisdom and conviction that come through the Scriptures."

4) "Rewards shouldn’t be abandoned, but should instead be used to encourage the heart. Use them sparingly, because rewards often lose their effectiveness over time, requiring that you increase the reward to get the same result. A reward is best used as a motivation to jump-start a new plan, to get the ball rolling in the right direction."

So hopefully by reading this review, you have taken away some suggestions on how to discipline. Always remember what matters is the heart.

There will be a Twitter party on May 1st starting at 8pm ET. to celebrate the books launch. I've heard there will be some cool prizes given away. Follow @biblicalparent on Twitter and use hashtag #heartparenting.

Now for the exciting part.

 There are two prize packs up for you to win so be sure to enter both

Prize Pack One
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Prize Pack One giveaway is open to Residents of the U.S. only. Void where prohibited. Must be at least 18 years of age.
Prize Pack Two
Price subject to change without notice.

 National Center for Biblical Parenting
76 Hopatcong Drive, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648-4136
Phone: (609) 771-8002 • Fax: (609) 771-8003

I received a free copy of this book as a member of the Launch Team for review purposes.


  1. The heart-based approach to parenting developed in this book has been revolutionary in my life. It’s helped me as a father, husband, leader, supervisor, coach, and in other areas. Behavior modification is effective if your only desire is to get your children to act a certain way. If you want to shape their character, you need to work on the level of the heart. My sons are both adults now and they are fine young men of good character. We consistently focused on the character quality of honoring others in our family! We returned home from vacation in December to find our whole house cleaned and a Christmas tree in place in the corner of the living room. Now that’s honor! This is just one example of the great insights from this special book. Every parent should have this book on their bookshelf or on their Kindle!

  2. Maribel, thank you for sharing about our book. We are offering a lot of prizes in partnership with our publisher. I hope your readers will get in on the deals. Thanks for spreading the word, and especially thank you for your kind words about our book. --Scott Turansky