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Grace-Based Parenting Hardcover – February 4, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kimmel, author and founder of Family Matters ministries, likens many Christian parents' attempts at rearing children to putting together a puzzle without first studying the completed picture located on the box's cover. Kimmel states that families of faith tend toward extremes, either being overly permissive or overly legalistic. This is not a particularly new concept, but Kimmel pulls it off with interesting storytelling and sound biblical parallels. He says Christians frequently believe that the battle for a child's heart and soul is fought on the outside-with rigid rules and boundaries-when in fact just the opposite is true. He underscores the importance of communicating the unconditional love that Christ offers and affirming this timeless message of grace to one's family. Despite the numerous examples the author cites where parents fail, this text is overwhelmingly upbeat with hope and possibility: Parents who strive to live a life of faith characterized by daily trust in God will pass on this message of possibility and potential to their offspring. Kimmel asserts that this "radical" mode of parenting will meet the three essential needs in kids' lives: for security, significance and strength. He assures parents that these needs can be met with grace-laced love, purpose and hope. Kimmel's gentle heart is evident in every chapter, and his obvious passion will spur frustrated parents to keep at the task with new resolve and optimism.
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"God gives us His grace - and each of us needs it. We also need to extend that gift to our children. Tim's many years of experience in grace-based parenting - both with his own family and teaching others – will help you give hope to you children."
- Dennis Rainey, President of FamilyLife

"Tim Kimmel writes with humor, hope, and an honesty that allows us all to let down our guard and allow God to meet us in our fears and regrets."
- Dan B. Allender Ph.D., --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1St Edition edition (February 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849918030
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849918032
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #342,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Tim Kimmel is one of America's top advocates speaking for the family. He is the Executive Director of Family Matters, whose goal is to build great relationships by educating, equipping and encouraging families for every age and stage of life. Tim conducts conferences across the country on the unique pressures that confront today's families. His conferences include: Home Improvement: Building a Great Marriage, Basic Training For A Few Good Men, Raising Kids Who Turn Out Right, and Parenting 101. In addition to conducting Family Matters' conferences and keynote speaking, Tim and his wife, Darcy, are speakers for FamilyLife Ministry's Weekend To Remember conference.

Not only is Tim a well-known speaker, he has authored many books including: Little House on the Freeway (featured in the Billy Graham crusades), Gold Medallion Winner Grace Based Parenting, Raising Kids for True Greatness, 50 Ways to Really Love Your Kids, Raising Kids Who Turn Out Right, Why Christian Kids Rebel, The High Cost of High Control, and Basic Training For A Few Good Men. He has also developed several video studies including The Hurried Family, Basic Training For A Few Good Men, Raising Kids Who Turn Out Right, and Grandparenthood: More Than Rocking Chairs.

Tim has been a featured guest on radio and television programs such as Dayside on FOX News channel, Dr. James Dobson's 'Focus on the Family', 'The 700 Club', Moody Broadcasting's 'Midday Connection', and 'Family Life Today.' Tim also hosted his own nationally syndicated talk show for five years called 'Tim Kimmel Live'.

Personal Background
One of six children, Tim learned early in life the importance of family. He married Darcy, his high school sweetheart, in 1972. They honeymooned at Dallas Theological Seminary where Tim earned his Masters of Theology, then moved to Phoenix to become a youth pastor until founding Family Matters in 1982. Tim graduated from Western Seminary in 1995 with a Doctorate of Ministry and is continually learning and applying his knowledge to help families. Tim and Darcy are the parents of four children, have a wonderful son-in-law, and have two grandchildren. They reside with their family in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this book and I would highly recommend it. It is directed toward Christian parents but has principles that non-Christian parents can use. My favorite suggestion from his book,which he used in his own family, is the "What's Your Beef?" night.(pages 206-208) To promote respectful candidness in his family, this night allowed his children an opportunity to tell their parents anything that either of them had said or done to hurt them. "The qualification was that they couldn't bring up positions we had taken because of our moral standards(which they might have disagreed with) or consequences that we might have had to bring their way because of things they had done wrong...The key rule for Darcy and me when they shared these things from their hearts was that we were not permitted to defend ourselves...I might have been able to justify my words and actions from my perspective of the facts, but it would have only done harm. The point was, we had hurt them somehow, regardless of the facts."

He also gives an overall matrix that is very useful (what your child's three driving inner needs are and the four basic things you need to do to maintain a grace based environment)and uses many examples from his own family and others.

He also communicates grace for you as a parent, since we all fall short. This book gave me hope and a great start to create a grace based home without compromising moral standards I want to uphold. He does a great job of balancing the two since often we as parents go to either extreme of legalism or anything goes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has literally been excruciating to read. It has exposed the extremes of our style of parenting that we had been using. It caused us to examine the premises and spirit of fear upon which we were operating as parents. In being exposed we were forced to say that much of how and why we did things to our children were wrong. The fruit of our style of parenting was bearing ugly fruit that was very painful and destructive. We were losing our son. The Christian boarding school we got him to required this book for us to read and we are so very thankful that we did. It is hard to put into words the emotions that we have gone through as parents; the grief, the guilt; the anger; the deep sadness. Upon reading and discussing the contents of this book, we came to a realization that we were parenting based upon fear not love and grace. That we had kept things away from our children out of fear that they would turn to "worldly" things. This only caused them to reject us and want it more which caused a huge spiralling out of control mess until our 16 year old was totally out of our control with violence and was tossed out for the sake of the other children. This book caused us to see our wrong and begin to correct it. We now have our son back and are on the road to reconciliation and restoration of our relationship. We have not arrived but we now have a different grace based approach that does not deny Biblical standards and discipline. It is a walk of faith not of formulas because our God desires to have a relationship with us that is based upon His love, joy and peace which we then we model to our children in our relationships with them. It is working!
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Tim Kimmel has done a good job of explaining how many conventional parenting styles fall apart later in a child's life & ultimately lead children to rebellion. It was hard for me to read many of his observations at first, as I myself was parenting with a heavy hand. I sort of felt chastised by him for the first half of the book! I guess I deserved it. I'm glad I hung in there though as he showed me how to lighten up by treating my children with the same grace that God extended to me through Christ. I truly believe I will be a better parent for having read this book! The results have already started to unfold with my three kids. I have been able to let go of some of the small issues I was making such a big deal over & focus more on important issues that matter. Since I rebelled hard as a teen, I was worried about how to handle that later in life when my kids are teens. I feel I am better equipped to deal with those unavoidable years of rebellion as my kids (hopefully) find their own way into the arms of God. I suppose before reading this I just thought I could push them into God's arms & maybe they'd stay there. Thanks Tim, you've lighted my path via your use of God's Word & your experience. I highly recommend this book to parents, grandparents, counselors and teachers.
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First of all, I will say that I have enjoyed this book and it has definitely had an impact on my parenting. I would recommend it and I think there are many, many good points in the book.

However, there were a couple of examples of "bad parenting" he used that really struck a sour note with me and I have continued to think about them, so I think I need to vent here a little. I will only address one of the examples that bothered me, since most people probably do not have the same issues with them that I do. For me personally, I think they are inappropriate examples that illustrate a lack of information and understanding/appreciation for God's design, particularly when it comes to motherhood.

The big one for me is that he mentions a mother who decided to deliver a baby in the breech position rather than get a c-section. His explanation was that she did not want to have a c-section scar and that the baby had (repairable) trouble with his hip sockets because of being delivered in that position. The underlying implication was that if she had made a "grace-based" parenting decision, she would have decided to get that c-section.

I understand that Dr. Kimmel was trying to use this situation as an example of a mother putting her own selfish and shallow desires above the good of her baby. But I also know that Dr. Kimmel's wife had 4 c-sections, so he has not had the experience of watching how hard a woman has to work to push out a baby, and therefore I don't think he understands exactly what it means that this woman pushed out a breech baby successfully. I don't think Dr. Kimmel understands that getting a c-section is a HUGE risk in and of itself. More women and babies die from c-section complications than they do from breech deliveries.
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