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Families Where Grace Is in Place

4.38  ·  Rating Details ·  404 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
A guide to developing a grace-filled marriage and raising creative, contented, capable children without legalism or manipulation
ebook, 0 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Bethany House Publishers (first published 1992)
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Jessica Poundstone
Oct 03, 2011 Jessica Poundstone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
It is infuriatingly hard to find Christian books on parenting that take grace (aka unconditional love)to its logical and full conclusion as applied to our relationship with our children (and with our spouses). This one does it. (The subtitle is "Building a Home Free of Manipulation, Legalism, and Shame") Bottom line: it's not our job as parents or spouses to control the behavior of our spouse or children. It is our job to love them unconditionally, and to continually direct their attention to th ...more
Nov 11, 2014 Hope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not another how-to-have-a-perfect-family book. In Van-Vonderen’s own words, “this book is more about learning the right job, and less about learning new techniques. The first step is easy – if we will do it: We must learn the simple difference between God’s job and ours. God’s job is to fix and change. Our job is to depend, serve, and equip.” (p. 15)

The book recounts the differences between grace-filled families and families that shame their loved ones into good behavior. The author uses
Dalaina May
I wish every baby was sent home from the hospital with a copy of this book. As parents of four preschoolers, my husband and I are just now trying to shape our philosophy of parenting and figure what our goals as parents are and why. This book really gave words to what was in our hearts for our boys. In particular, we really appreciate the author's point that the goal is not simply raising well-behaved kids. He writes, "In controlling, shaming families, love and acceptance come as a reward for ju ...more
Oct 31, 2013 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non
This book is exactly what I needed to put teeth into the thoughts and philosophies swirling around my head and heart. Conceptually I think I understand what a grace filled family should look like, but in practice and in truth, I have no idea. This book helps me understand it better and reminds me of WHY I'm working so hard to change my parenting practices. It's more philosophy than "how-to" but there is a little of that, mostly examples from his own parenting journey.
Kim Davis
Jul 03, 2008 Kim Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is absolutely the best book on parenting I've ever read, and I've read my share. I'd say more but all I really have to say is this: get your hands on a copy of this book and read it.
I liked this book but wanted more from it. VanVoderen is a pastor and counselor as well as father to four daughters, so he has a lot of experience to draw on. He starts by describing the problems in many marriages and how this comes from looking to the other person for fulfilment rather than to God. Fair enough. He talks about how this extends to parenting. Then he goes on a long explanation of Scripture to challenge the notion that men are supposed to rule over their wives. He talks about probl ...more
Adam Ross
Mar 13, 2011 Adam Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was in many ways a helpful book. VanVonderen provides a helpful corrective to the all-too-common family life of conservative Christians. He argues that these families preach a gospel of grace, but live according to a gospel of works where family members are required to perform certain "Christian" doctrines or believe certain things before they receive love and acceptance. He argues that this is a chief reason Christian parents have such trouble with their kids; the kids learned the unspoken ...more
Dec 10, 2009 Carlie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a quick read, partly because I skimmed some sections that seemed to repeat themselves a bit a partly because its a fairly simple concept. Grace is integral to the Christian life, not just in our relationship to God but also in how we relate to each other, no? That's about it. I have never read a book that tries to cover parenting and proper marital relationships in one whack and does it in only 172 pages to boot! Whew! I thought the ideas that VanVonderen presents were sound althou ...more
Jan 01, 2008 Jeannette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mommy-books
I first came upon this book in a parenting context, but after reading it, appreciated its broader scope to include marriage relationships, too.

VanVonderen's premise is to describe relationships as either Curse-full or Grace-full. In a Curse-full relationship, people try to find their needs met in each other, which leads to people to try get what they want by controlling others and usually ends up focusing on outward behavior. A Grace-full relationship is focused on Christ and His enabling power
Feb 16, 2012 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
This book may have an awkward title, but the information in here really made me examine myself and my roles as a mother and wife. Ted and I have been reading this short book together for a year. A year! But we wanted to move slowly through the many thought nuggets in this book, which is made easier by the discussion questions at the end of each chapter. VanVonderen starts by explaining how not to be a good parent, and not just actions but thoughts as well. It was this paradigm shifting thinking ...more
Amy Kannel
There was SO much great stuff to love and learn in this book. But there were also a great deal of troubling presuppositions about people's hearts and motivations. Coming from a biblical counseling perspective/background, I found the author's fundamental teaching about the human heart to be deeply flawed and not rooted in Scripture.

If you are willing and able to separate the wheat from the chaff, this is *absolutely* a book worth reading for marriage and for parenting. I did a lot of underlining
Sep 28, 2014 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: family-parenting
Fantastic! Best book about raising your children the way they should be raise, not with controlling or performing guiding you. One of my many favorite quotes (and I have the booked marked up/underlined and starred all of the place!):
Our job is not to control her/him and turn her/him into a more pliable person. Our job is to create an environment in which she/he can be the best tenacious, strong-willed person Jesus ever had working for Him.

Another one:
Parenting is about discipline - that is disc
Joshua Skogerboe
There should be more stars. We have a great family, but it is a healthy thing to be dissatisfied with "good enough" when it comes to these most primary of relationships in your life. Jeff lays out a clear case for the twisted nature of many of our relational interactions because of the corruption of sin. We live under the influence of the curse in Genesis 3, and without intentional effort, our relationships can become performance-driven and we will work to continually control the behavior of tho ...more
Catherine Gillespie
In Families Where Grace Is in Place Jeff VanVonderen contrasts shame-based families with grace-full families and does a good job of balancing the theoretical/Biblical aspects of what he’s saying with concrete examples. I find it’s important to have both, because without the theory you won’t be motivated to tackle the practical work, and without the practical example you can nod agreement without putting it into practice. I liked how this book offered real explanations and examples.

{Read the rest
Dec 30, 2011 Johanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice little read! For a book club with my Christian moms playgroup. At first I wasn't sure how I related to the book, as it was mostly speaking of marriage, and of troubled marriage, which I felt didn't really relate to me. But that was mostly a prelude to his discourse on parenting and family - which I actually quite enjoyed. Very nice points, mostly in-tuned with my parenting philosophies and with emphasis on respect. Loved many of the suggestions made. A great find I probably wouldn't have ...more
Arun Thamizhvanan
Never thought I would end up giving 5 star for this book.
First few chapters were academic but once the descriptive part is over for grace-full & curse-full families. The practical side of the book is pretty good with great anecdotes and tips. It is not a how-to book but gives insight on the attitudes that we need to have grace in families.
Great book on how to be a great spouse, parent and be a part of grace-full family instead of curse-full family.
May 14, 2009 Kristi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Excellent book -- it has really helped me understand more how to put grace into practice in the family, both as a wfe and a mother. I found especially helpful the discussion on what it means not to provoke one's children to anger, that is, not to put them in the position of having and suppressing hostility. The author includes stories from his own experience (good and bad) as a parent that are also helpful.
Jun 18, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a thinker. I am a teacher and I was trying to figure out how to apply this to the classroom. I want all the children I run into to have grace on them. I want them to be able to explore and have freedom in Christ. I learned a lot about my own controlling ways. I want to forgive and let go, I don't want to yell or manipulate to get what I want. However, I want what God wants. I will read another one of this author's books which is "Tired of Trying to Measure Up."
Oct 03, 2014 Kristin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a MUST READ for all Christian parents. The truths of this book kept me in tears each and every page. Coming from a family that was more "curse-ful" then "grace-ful" has left me with so many holes as a spouse and parent - I felt like I was in a counseling session the entire book! Very rich and straight to the heart of the matter. It also is not a "how-to" book with parenting formulas, which I *greatly* appreciate.
Nov 04, 2014 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has further instructed and inspired me in the work of parenting and grand parenting. The main idea I am taking from the reading of Families Where Grace is in Place is this "I will use my power to empower my daughters and grand daughter to choose and to be responsible for her choices." And to continue to pursue the demonstration of grace in and through my own life.
Nov 15, 2016 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommended. Do you want a family that LOOKS healthy (outward conformity) or IS healthy (inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit)? A little short on practicals (I am planning to reread and highlight all the examples he gives of how he talks to his kids), but has given me tons of food for thought, ways to pray, etc.
Sep 15, 2013 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extraordinarily helpful "Christian counseling" book. Clarified for me what my job as a parent is and, crucially, what it is not. Carried forward several themes from the Heims' "True North" into the setting of family life. He does not present a strict "complementarian" interpretation of Scripture (which was fine with me, but is worth noting).
Jun 27, 2013 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read! Great books for parents of teens...great reminder that my efforts to control lead to rebellion. Great tools and advice on how to parent to yield a "change of heart". We do not want kids who "pretend" anything...or play church. We want children who know their value and worth to Jesus and who grow up healthy, bathed in His grace and love. Great, great book!
Aug 26, 2009 Joanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
This is a fabulous book, not so much about the hows of discipline/relationships, but about the undergirding mindsets in our marriages and parenting. Specifically, it addresses the need to help develop our children's inner strengths/fortitude/conscience through the way we parent, not just focusing on outward conformity. I found it to be a very encouraging read.
Dec 31, 2009 Jerriann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an awesome book. Through this book, I learned how to empower all my children to make their own choices and decisions. I finally understand how to offer appropriate consequences for their decisions without having to send them to time out for everything. If you are tired all the time from fussing at kids and punishing over and over, then this book is one you should read.
May 16, 2009 Gretchen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: couples or parents
best book you'll EVER find to teach you how to both trust your children/spouse to the Holy Spirit and how to let go of your identity being tied up in their successes/failures. not only does it teach you to be a healthier and more effective parent/spouse, it teaches you how to be freer and healthier yourself.
Mar 21, 2012 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, fabulous book about marriage and parenting. It really challenged me to rethink how I viewed my husband and children. It's not a book that offers quick and easy solutions to problems, but I think the ideas will pay off in the long run.
Oct 13, 2011 Jenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book is wonderful! A great resource for learning to live in grace-full relationship in your home. Finding your worth in Christ and not in your behavior or the behavior of your spouse or kids. I will be recommending and re-reading this one often!
Kayla Hewitt
This book had some good ideas, but they were not well-presented. The structure did not make sense. There was a lot of repetition of the main points, but not a lot of explication of those points. I like the idea of shame-free family relationships; I just wish the ideas were better explained.
SO good. Great for marriages and parenting. Addresses the "whole" family, not just parenting children. This book is one of my favorites. Second time to read it. I know I will be going back to it in the future.
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“God simply revealed the self-centered core that began to motivate each of them: The woman would continue to try to draw life and nurturing from a man who was not capable of filling these deep needs—never was and never will be. And the man would be forever trying to rule over the woman, either aggressively or passively trying to keep her quiet about his inadequacy to fill her needs.” 0 likes
“The wife's list, no matter how long or short, communicates to the husband, "I don't like you. I don't accept you. But if you perform the way I think you should, then I will like and accept you." And no matter how long the husband's list may be, it says in like manner to his wife, "I don't like you either. But if you stop caring about things so much, if you stop feeling the way you feel and noticing the things you notice, then I will accept and like you.” 0 likes
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