As the mother of two daughters, one of whom has just turned 13, I wanted to read this book as soon as I saw it. Having benefited from Ann Benton’s helpful book Aren’t they lovely when they’re asleep? I wasn’t disappointed.
This book is straightforward and easy to read. Ann Benton gives practical realistic advice primarily from the book of Proverbs — and illustrates principles from her own parenting experiences and those of others. The goal is to enable children to pass through their teenage years and become adults who are aware of their sinfulness and who trust, fear, and love the Lord.
Each of the eight chapters begins with a real life scenario which sets the scene for the chapter subject. Subheadings make the structure clear and biblical passages are written out in full. Helpful discussion questions at the end of each chapter enable further reflection.
Ann Benton warns parents not to act out of fear or guilt. Fear breeds anxiety, over-control, and anger, while guilt (deserved or undeserved) leads to regret, surrender, and excess zeal. Instead, we are encouraged to be parents who trust the Lord; are prayerful in all circumstances; are full of hope; and persevere.
The book is neither judgemental nor insensitive to parents who are hurting and grieving. It is written with sensitivity and compassion for those who find themselves in ‘nightmare situations’. It is also written with understanding and insight of the feelings and reactions of teenagers.
This book inspires biblical parenting of teenagers and shows how rewarding and satisfying this relationship can be, through both its heartaches and joys. It should be read not only by parents, but also grandparents, youth leaders, pastors, and those in the church who have contact with, and concern for, teenagers today.