Grace Based Parenting {Book Review & Giveaway!!!}

Nov 17, 2011

***UPDATE: Just as God generously pours out His love and grace for us…Family Matters has generously offered to giveaway a copy of “Grace Based Parenting”!! Just comment below and you will be entered to win. SO FUN!! Winner will be announced Tuesday, November 22nd. ***

A few months ago FaithVillage asked me to review “Give Them Grace” by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson. This book was perfect for introducing the concept of parenting with grace & how to weave the gospel into times of correction. It helped me begin to break some bad “performance-based” parenting habits…but I still had a way to go.

When I opened my “swag bag” at the Relevant Conference and discovered a copy of Grace Based Parenting” by Tim Kimmel, I was ecstatic. Parenting with grace does not come naturally to me and I was excited to learn more.

“Grace provides equilibrium for a family.  Where too many parents are concerned with how others view their children, grace-based parents are more excited with how God views their children.  Grace-based parents avoid the silly preoccupations with arbitrary standards devised by evangelical busybodies…they encourage their children to find the unique individual that God designed them to be through an intimate and authentic relationship with Christ.” -Grace Based Parenting pg 212

The last night of Relevant I sat down at the dinner table anxious to hear Ann Voskamp, our keynote. Little did I know how much wisdom I would gain from the woman sitting right next to me, Karis Murray. We introduced ourselves and she said she was there representing Family Matters (Tim Kimmel’s ministry). I thanked her for the free copy of “Grace Based Parenting” and told her why I was so anxious to read it.

Karis showed me this large bookmark that easily outlined the philosophy of Family Matters Ministry and Tim Kimmel’s series of books & videos.

The foundation of “Grace-Based Relationships” is the following concepts:

Children’s Inner Needs:

  1. Secure Love
  2. Significant Purpose
  3. Strong Hope

Four Freedoms:

  • The freedom to be different
  • The freedom to be vulnerable
  • The freedom to be candid
  • The freedom to make mistakes

As she finished explaining, the last point struck me. How often have I over-reacted to  mistakes my boys have made? I shared with Karis how recently I got upset when my sons were rough-housing and broke a lamp. She pointed out that breaking the lamp wasn’t sin. It was a mistake. Exactly.

Critics of this book may feel that grace-based homes allow kids to run wild and do whatever they please. This could not be farther from the truth. Karis pointed out that sin is different than mistakes. Sin has consequences. We are doing our children a disservice if we do not treat their sin with consequences.

“Grace demands that you actually walk by faith…There is nothing in the realm of grace that gives anyone the license to ignore God’s standards. If anything, grace should motivate you to a higher holiness. Grace-based homes aren’t places where family members assume they can say whatever they want, see whatever they want, etc…That’s not grace.  That’s someone wanting to live his or her own life with no regard for what God has said or what He thinks.” Grace Based Parenting pg 214

After reading through the book, these are the points that stood out to me most:

  • Parenting with grace is all about my attitude and my response to who God created my children to be and how they behave.
  • Do my boys feel securely loved? Most kids will leave home feeling loved. Only some children leave feeling like no matter what they do they are loved.
  • Do my boys have to compete for my love (preoccupied with other things)? OR do they feel they have to earn my love (performance = acceptance)?
  • Do my boys know their significant purpose? A general purpose (perhaps to be a wisdom hunter), specific purpose (use giftedness), relational purpose (be a good friend) and spiritual purpose (teaching them God’s truth).
  • Do my boys have a strong hope? Am I reminding them of how God made them special and directing their strengths & weaknesses for a hopeful future?
  • Am I trying to “overprotect” them from the world instead of allow them to go on a spiritual adventure…trusting God for safety.
  • When my boys do something that is frustrating I need to stop and think: Did they just go against a Biblical truth? Did they sin? Or just made a mistake? Then respond accordingly.
  • When I am embarrassed by my children I need to stop and think: Am I embarrassed because I look bad? Or because what they are doing is just “different” from the other kids.
  • When my children have a concern do I give them the attention they need and listen to their hearts? Or do I blow it off as immaturity, not allowing them to be vulnerable.
  • When my son shares his opinion do I immediately react and disagree, setting him in his place? Or do I allow him the ability to voice his opinion and help guide him to find truth?

I would highly recommend “Grace Based Parenting”. It helped reframe how I see my role as a parent and helped me see my children with fresh eyes. The easy to remember “inner needs” of a child and the “four freedoms” revolutionize my day. My focus has changed from their external behavior to their hearts and our relationship. 

He chose you to assist Him in a miracle.  He gave you children and then said, ‘Now go, and give these precious lives meaning.’…This is when parents panic…How am I to raise up children to love and serve God? The answer is actually not that difficult. You simply need to treat your children the way God treats you. He does it in His grace.”


  1. Erin

    It’s going on my booklist!!! Thanks for the review and “tease” of how good it is. 🙂

  2. alice

    So I’ve finished chapter 3. I’m starting to realize exactly how much grace I experience BECAUSE of parenting. There is no other area in my life I feel I screw up more. Knowing the security, significance and strength God gives in His loves towards me makes me want to give it all the more to my children.

  3. Cherie Froelich (@MySoulReflects)

    This book is next on my list to read. I’m hoping to do a study through the book in January on my blog. I hope you’ll join me with all your insights. Karis is a sweetheart! I am so glad you had a chance to connect with her!

  4. Liberty

    Wow! This sounds like a book that I need to read. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Andie

    I love Tim Kinmel- he shares such truth and encouragement! what you wrote in this post makes me really want to read this book!!

  6. Jenna Lorick

    As a mom to three wild and crazy boys I could really use this book!! Thanks for sharing your review! I have recently found your blog and have been so touched by it!

  7. Amy K.

    I would love to have this book. Sounds like exactly what I have been looking for.

  8. Stefanie Brown

    Awesome! I can’t wait to dive into this book.

  9. Martha Shadoan

    I am going to have to read this one next. God has really been dealing with me re: these same parenting issues. Right now, I am reading Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. It is really good, too. And one of the first things I read gave the same analogy that you recently shared about the inside of the cup. Once again, thanks for your insight!! I never leave your sight without something valuable!!

  10. Amy Fleming

    This is such a blessing and something I need to read to change the lives of my children and myself.

  11. Leigh Ann @ Intentional By Grace

    I have been hearing a lot of buzz about this book! Then, I see it on your Few Favorites Friday…would love to win a copy! Hey, and since you announce on the 22nd (my birthday) maybe I will actually win! hehe! 😛

  12. Positively Alene

    Great review. I love books and would LOVE a copy.

  13. Nicole

    Love the review and the giant bookmark! I would love to win.
    Thank you!

  14. Meredith

    I have heard so much about this book, and I am definitely thinking I need to read it.
    I think that we are leaning in this direction in the way that we are parenting my oldest, but it would be great to learn from Ted Kimmel’s expertise in this area.

  15. Jana

    Hey Heather! You always have a good word to share! I loved your review of Grace Based Parenting. It has been on my must-read list for a while now – thank you for the chance to win it! 🙂


  16. Sarah

    I would love to win this book! Thanks for the opportunity!

  17. Winona

    It sounds amazing! I’ll be hoping to read it as well!

  18. Allison

    Great Review! I need to buy this book today!
    Thanks Heather for the recommendation!

  19. Naomi

    I cant wait to read this book! Thanks for your wonderful review 🙂

  20. anna

    Sounds like a very much needed book. Thanks for your review.

  21. Angie Anderson

    Love this Heather! I appreciate the sneak-peak into the grace-based parenting perspective. I would love to read more. Thank you for the opportunity to win the book!


  22. Lauren Roe

    Heather! Thank you so much for sharing the motherly wisdom God has given you. You have blessed me and my girls. I will be putting this on my Christmas list.

  23. Sherri

    Love it! I’ll put that on my list!

  24. Debbie Murphy

    Heather, thanks for the suggestion …..this looks like exactly what I need…..thank you so much for the inform. I will totally get this book. Thanks 😉


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