Helping Your Hurting Child

Helping Your Hurting Child - Parenting Like HannahFor your children to grow up prepared to face life’s challenges as adults, they have to go through some tough times while they are young. Sound weird? Life’s tough and as a parent you naturally want to protect your kids from unnecessary pain.

No matter how hard you try though, you can’t protect your child from everything. What you can and should do is teach your child how to be resilient. The Bible calls it perseverance. It’s teaching your kids how to bounce back in healthy, godly ways when life knocks them down.

I was interested when offered a chance to review a Christian book on the topic of helping parents navigate the painful events their children will experience. When Your Kid is Hurting by Dr. Kevin Leman attempts to advise parents which ways of “helping” actually do help your kids.

The first part of the book is used for giving parents his philosophy about helping hurting kids. The author does a good job at explaining why he believes parents should make certain choices in their parenting. Some of the advice is more general in nature, while other sections deal with specific topics – like when parents divorce.

I love that he isn’t afraid to write truthfully about topics like divorce. Many buckle under societal peer pressure and allow parents to believe divorce is great for the kids if it makes the parents happier. Leman is not afraid to share both anecdotal and research evidence that conflicts with what’s popular to believe. He also gives some great advice for when divorce is unavoidable.

His general advice is mostly good basic parenting advice – especially for dealing with kids in pain. My biggest problem with the book is that it is billed as a Christian book, yet the first real mention of faith doesn’t appear until page 146. Even when he does mention faith, it is in a very wishy-washy sort of way. This is particularly unfortunate, because one of the best ways to help kids learn to deal with pain is teaching them how God can help them through the process.

The author is rather candid about his own struggle for most of his younger life to actually understand God, religion and faith. While he evidently considers himself a Christian now, I’m not sure he fully understands how to effectively teach your children how to lean on God in tough times. Or how God can actually help.

His advice later in the book is along the lines of “don’t preach and don’t throw out platitudes” when your kids are in pain. While technically, that may be true in the way you present God’s truths to your kids when they are hurting – it implies bringing God into the mix makes things worse, not better. I strongly disagree with that principle. He also counsels to not make kids go to religious activities if they don’t want to do so. Really? Would the author council the same thing about school? I know plenty of kids who would gladly skip school if allowed.

There were a couple of other points on which I had some serious concerns. One was the concept that the only correct way to respond to a teen pregnancy is to give the child up for adoption. Evidently, keeping the child and raising it is not a “good” option. I also question the notion that parents shouldn’t “judge” their kids choices, words or actions. That is part of the job description – figuring out when your kids are moving away from God with poor choices and helping them understand there are consequences for disobeying parents and ultimately God.

The second part of the book is in a question/answer format. The author answers specific questions posed about various topics. The topics in this section cover things like social media and anorexia. While I don’t have a problem with that sort of section in a book, I came away wondering if this book could have been better organized. It wasn’t overly distracting, but at times I did feel like the book was jumping around a bit.

Otherwise, this book does have a lot of really good advice. I wouldn’t buy it thinking you are getting a “Christian” book, but most of the advice is strong secular advice that does not conflict with what would be considered godly advice. As with any parenting book, you just have to compare it to what you know God expects and then keep the good advice while rejecting the not-so-good suggestions.



This book was given to be for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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