How Children Raise Parents: The Art of Listening to Your Family

Dr. Dan Allender

The author is a seasoned counselor, author, and educator, and well-respected in the Christian counseling field.

Counselors will be challenged in their own parenting as well as equipped to help their clients:

1. Learn the main premise of this book, namely, that children help grow their parents into spiritual maturity, if parents read their children's feedback correctly.

2. Learn to listen to their children's voices, in order to hear the two questions every child asks with his/her behavior: "Am I loved?" and "Can I Get My Own Way?" Effective parents answer the first question "Yes" with warmth, laughter, attention, playfulness, etc., and answer the second question "No" with appropriate rules and boundaries.

3. Learn the most effective way to love a child, and how to parent with wisdom, not just rules.

4. Learn how to help parents dialogue with their children when they are suffering in order to find the best strategy.

5. Learn Strauss and Howe’s four repetitive cycles of blessing, presumption, awakening and calamity, in order to understand the world their children are growing up in. And learning how to turn down the destructive voices in our culture.

6. Learn how their own marriage is affecting their own children.

7. Learn how to avoid being abusive so as not to pass this destructive behavior on through their children.

8. Learn to confess their failures to love their children while at the same time accepting God's forgiveness and redemption.

9. Learn to give their children an equal measure of God's strength and mercy.

10. Learn how to motivate children to take risks, explore, and create.

11. Learn how to dream God's desires for our children.

12. Learn how to visualize the face of their child as they lift this child up to God in prayer.

13. Learn how the parable of the Prodigal Son serves as a picture of God's grace toward parents.

14. Learn how to play with your children without looking for any measurable outcome.

The author writes:

"Proverbs 22:6 teaches parents to find and follow their child’s natural “bent”, the unique way in which a child will fit into the world without participating in worldly values (immorality, greed, pride, etc.) Every child will have a bent in one of these directions: either to be “of “ the world by conforming too close to its values or to be “not of” the world and to stand completely apart from it. It is the task of every parent to affirm and then challenge the bent. If our child is either a rebel or a rule keeper, it is both good and not good. The good must be grown, and the not-good must meet the strength of parental resistance. The dilemma is that we seldom see good in being a rebel, and we fail to see ill in being a rule keeper. We must work both sides of the aisle to accomplish God’s purpose in developing a tender and strong heart in a child. We must grow a child’s ability to fit the world and also to resist the world." (p. 31, 41-42)