Grace-Based Discipline :: Karis Kimmel Murray [Ep 150]

Jan 30, 2017

I know I should parent with grace (a.k.a. “unmerited favor”). But I struggle with how to combine grace & discipline.

When a little guy smacks his brother upside the head, I don’t want to ignore it or explode over it. But I could use some help with alternative responses to be “my best when my kids are at their worst”.

This week’s guest, Karis Kimmel Murray, grew up in the original grace-based home. Her father, Dr. Tim Kimmel, literally wrote the book on grace-based parenting.** As a mom to two girls, Karis knows the challenges of showing both unmerited favor and appropriate boundaries. Particularly since one of her daughters has been diagnosed with ADHD. (I adore reading parenting books by moms who get it!).


In this episode Karis and I talk through some practical ways to approach misbehavior, like her “Basket Method” and “The 10 Year Rule”.

“Those behaviors come from your child but they don’t define your child. It’s not who they are it’s what they are doing right now.”

We also talk about discovering how each family member is wired, using their Kid’s Flag system. And being clear about the rules and expectations in your home. Not making household preferences on par with Biblical/moral law. Her analogy of being a calm “first responder” will stick with me.

Fortunately, Karis has written all these tips and concepts down in a very relatable and hilarious guide called, “Grace-Based Discipline”.

Front Cover

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What we chat about:

  • The 10-year rule
  • The theology of parenting
  • Legalism vs. License vs. Grace
  • Karis’ fun “mathematician” analogy
  • Handling discipline crises like first responders
  • The Basket Strategy
  • What does atonement have to do with discipline?
  • What country flag does each family member fly?
  • Clarifying family rules
  • Differentiating household rules from moral/Biblical rules
  • Karis’ daughter’s diagnosis of ADHD and how it impacted discipline
  • The level of offense and the “sushi menu” of consequences

Links Mentioned:

**Amazon Affiliate Link

How to listen to the podcast:

1.Listen on the blog. Click through to and click the play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen on your smartphone, iPad or iPod Touch – There are a lot of great podcasting apps. Apple has a free one (that I mentioned) in the app store, there is also one called Downcast. It allows you to search for shows, subscribe to them and even speed up the audio. If you don’t have an iDevice, you can listen via Stitcher.

3. Subscribe to the Podcast – access the podcast in iTunes (Click here to access via iTunes). You can also search for it on your smartphone app (like the ones listed above) and subscribe.


  1. Aubrey

    Thank you for this! It’s exactly what I needed and I am going to listen again! Sometimes it is so hard for me to bridge the gap between the idea of grace based parenting and actually applying in the midst of an emotional situation. I really appreciate her ideas and will probably buy her book 🙂

    • Heather MacFadyen

      totally get that aubrey. Same here. Her analogies were so helpful to me. Particularly the first-responder concept. Excellent book too!!

  2. Jaime Briggs

    Loved this episode especially since I went to MOPS conference back in 2009 or 10 and hear Dr. Tim Kimmel speak on Grace-based Parenting and still have the book. Excited to read Karis’ book too. I love the thought of having a sushi menu I can consult as needed.
    Heather (or others), what translation of Zephaniah 3:17 do you read for the outro on each podcast? I love it and haven’t found it translated the same.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      yay! thankful you were already familiar with family matters. such a needed ministry! And I’m not sure what translation it is. Recorded it over 3 years ago and it automatically adds to the end of each episode. Sorry!!!!!

  3. Sarah Jo

    I am a new listener and I can’t tell you how encouraging and validating your podcasts have been. I don’t think it’s a coincidence–I don’t even know how I came to know about you, but the four podcasts I’ve listened to have been a balm to my tired heart and a challenge. I can’t thank you enough! And as a mom of four boys, I am so grateful to know that I’m not along in the crazy! I do not say this tritely–God bless you!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      oh I’m so thankful to know you have been encouraged Sarah Jo! And yay for another 4 boy mom!! special calling, friend. special calling. 😉

  4. Jen

    This was exactly what I needed today! I literally did a google search for “grace, parenting, and ADHD” and your lovely blog/podcast came up. So glad that it did! I spent half the show nodding and the other half blinking back tears. My nine year old is wearing me out but I know God is doing something huge in my own heart all well as hers. This podcast was such a sweet reminder. How I need His grace!
    I just subscribed on iTunes and am looking forward to enjoying more encouraging shows in weeks to come. Thank you!

  5. Toy Store

    Yes. Very helpful indeed. If I may also suggest something for those who can’t seem
    to get their mind to stop in the middle of the day…
    I’ve had great results using fidget spinners for ADHD and stress
    relief. When I shared your post on Facebook my friends also foudn it helpful.


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