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Shepherding a Child's Heart

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  8,066 Ratings  ·  557 Reviews
Shepherding a Child's Heart is about how to speak to the heart of your child. The things your child does and says flow from the heart. Luke 6:45 puts it this way: "...out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." Written for parents with children of any age, this insightful book provides perspectives and procedures for shepherding your child's heart into the paths of ...more
Paperback, 2nd Edition, 212 pages
Published September 28th 2005 by Shepherd Press (first published January 1st 1995)
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The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-JonesA Dad After God's Own Heart by Jim GeorgeShepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd TrippGrace-Based Parenting by Tim KimmelBringing Up Boys by James C. Dobson
Christian Parenting
105 books — 95 voters
Pregnancy and Men by Pratik PatilChronicles of a Full-Time Father by James NinnessShepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd TrippGod Signs & Dad Stories by Paula Marie PettisIt Happened on Munger Street by Victoria Hartland
Dad Books
23 books — 24 voters

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Community Reviews

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Skylar Burris
Jan 23, 2008 Skylar Burris rated it it was ok
Shelves: parenting
This is a very popular book among Christian parents, especially evangelicals, but I personally didn't find it particularly realistic or helpful. I certainly did glean a few insights from it, but, on the whole, I found its premise a little far-reaching for an ordinary human parent.

I believe, as Tripp says, that you should shepherd your kid to examine his motives and be aware of his sins. Our ultimate goal should be to do good for the mere love of God. But in reality, we're not always there and,
Oct 07, 2008 Heather rated it did not like it
Shelves: parenting
A lot of Christians suggest this book, but it goes against the very core of Christian parenting. It sets up an adversarial relationship under the guise of Grace and Mercy.
Dalaina May
Written in 1995 and revised in 2005, Shepherding a Child’s Heart contains some truly timeless truths about children: they are sinners in need of Christ. With this foundational assumption, author Tripp lays out what he believes parents should do according to Scriptures in order to shepherd their children into loving submission under their Creator.

The first half of the book breaks down what Tripp believes to be “foundations for child rearing.” In this section, he writes about short and long term g
Aug 19, 2012 Loraena rated it it was ok
Shelves: parenting
I have long heard this book touted as a must-read for Christian parents. So I finally got around to reading it and was quite disappointed. I definitely appreciate the emphasis on addressing children’s hearts (as opposed to their behavior alone), but I thought this book missed the mark. While it does have some very helpful insights and practical applications, it fell very short on expressing the need for parents to depend on God.

Some of his suggestions seemed to fly directly in the face of the bo
May 01, 2011 Melody rated it liked it
Ahhh! This book is killing me. I really appreciate parts of it. Particularly those talking about communication, helping a child understand their own heart, the importance of modeling and asking forgiveness for your children, respecting your children, etc. I also appreciate his assessment of the importance of obedience. I am extremely frustrated by his assertion that spanking is not only mandated by God, but the only biblical consequence for bad behavior. I don't believe he sufficiently backs thi ...more
Kate Hyde
Jul 07, 2009 Kate Hyde rated it did not like it
Shelves: parenting
There were several parts in this book that I agree with, and also several that I disagree with. I really like the part about showing your children how their behavior is an overflow of their heart.

However, I really didn't like the author's emphasis on using "The Rod." The author says: "If you fail to are saying that you do not love your child enough to do the painful things that God has called you to do. (p.149)" That is a pretty loaded statement. All kids are different, and all paren
Joshua Park
Apr 01, 2013 Joshua Park rated it liked it
I finally finished this book after months and months of reading portions with breaks in-between. It is difficult to judge whether a parenting book is good in general based on whether it's good for my family in particular. I would say that the author makes his case from a Biblical perspective, and explains several concepts very well. I don't think, however, that this approach is as universally applicable to every child as the book claims.

One of the great concepts, based on the 5th Commandment: Go
Rebekah Schrepfer
Aug 01, 2013 Rebekah Schrepfer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I always have my eye out for really good Christian living books, and my interests these days include Marriage, Family, Music, Children, and Youth since I deal with those things on a daily and weekly basis. Wow! It’s tough finding any practical, conservative, biblical, how-to reading! However, Tedd Tripp has thankfully filled some of the void.

While this book is full of practical suggestions and examples, Tripp’s main goal is to help you get to the heart of your child. I appreciated so much his co
Mar 15, 2009 Carla rated it did not like it
I must say I'm not a big fan of this book. I understand his basic premise is that behavior is a reflection of the heart or what is in our hearts (i.e., sin) and so if you don't deal with behavior at its root level, then you are just bandaging the problem. My concern with his method of discipline is that he says that, but then deals with their behavior with discipline strategies aimed at curtailing bad external behavior at a non-heart level. I think part of the issue for me too is that I have a f ...more
Joy E. Rancatore
Nov 05, 2012 Joy E. Rancatore rated it it was amazing
For many years I have heard about this book and how helpful it is for Christian parents; I only wish I had read it years ago. It took me a while to appreciate the book because I felt like Dr. Tripp kept talking about "shepherding a child's heart" without adequately defining "shepherding." By the end of the book, I have a better understanding of how to parent biblically and of all I have done that hasn't been the wisest parenting. Thankfully, my children are still young and it shouldn't be too ov ...more
Aug 30, 2010 Courtney rated it did not like it
Wow...what to say about this book?? I had to force myself to finish reading it. I disagree with about 90% of what the author teaches, and found him to be very condescending and "holier than thou" through out the whole book. I had agreed to facilitate a lady's group study of this book over the next four month, but I have respectfully backed out and found another facilitator. I cannot/could not in good conscious lead a class study where the author teaches that the only God-ordained discipline is s ...more
Melissa Abercrombie
Not at all for me. Rigid, legalistic and at its worst unsympathetic. I think this book overemphasizes issues children have simply based on their cognitive and emotional limitations (ie fighting over toys = idolatry) and focuses too much on the role of parent as controlling mechanism in their child's life. I've spanked my 4 year old, we've been down that path and there IS a better way and it IS MORE effective than telling your child "God told me I have to give you the rod and I have to obey God t ...more
Peter Krol
Jan 23, 2008 Peter Krol rated it it was amazing
One of the most convicting books I've ever read. Who can live up to the Lord's standard of parenting? I was all the more eager and encouraged to pursue a life of strong communication with my boys. I also was challenged anew with the vision of getting to the heart of behavior. It is a difficult, yet absolutely critical, thing!

2016 UPDATE: Still terrific. Still convicting. Still one of the most important books I've read on the foundations of discipleship and parenting.
Oct 15, 2014 Scott rated it it was amazing
I should read this book every year to remind myself the goals of childrearing. Very biblically based look at how to approach discipline, rules, etc.
Stephanie Sheaffer
Jul 24, 2014 Stephanie Sheaffer rated it it was ok
The title sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Getting to the heart of the matter. Dealing with heart issues. Etc. I like much of what Tripp has to say, but his “child-rearing” strategies are extremely hard-handed.

Consider this sample dialogue between a father and his son -

FATHER: Do you remember what God says Daddy must do to you if you disobey?
SON: Spank me?
FATHER: That’s right. I must spank you. If I don’t, then I would be disobeying God. You and I would both be wrong. That would not be good for you
Heath Marion
May 08, 2013 Heath Marion rated it it was amazing
This book was first published in 1995 and recently revised in 2005. There have been some who have opposed this book or who have said that it is just too hard to live out. I would disagree. For years this book as been around and thousands of parents have been enhanced by it.

The approach of this book is different from many parenting manuals today. First, Tripp is not going after good well behaved kids. As a parent, that sometimes is a fantastic goal. Tripp is moving the reader beyond behavior chan
Laura Verret
Dec 21, 2011 Laura Verret rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christianity
This is probably the best book on child-training that I have ever read. Pastor and parent Tedd Tripp offers principles, applications, and advice on how to win a child's heart through care, instruction, discipleship, and discipline. One of the basic principles of this book is that every action of a child is a manifestation of his heart. If a child's behaviour is unruly or rebellious then the actions themselves should most certainly be addressed - but only as a symptom of a greater disease. I thou ...more
Catrina Edgar
Apr 23, 2009 Catrina Edgar rated it it was ok
Shelves: parenting, spiritual
I found a couple of points in this book very helpful. However, I honestly felt the author's views to be dogmatic and his tone very condescending. As much as Christian parents strive to create a loving, nurturing, and respectful environment with God at its center, much of Tripp's ideas just did not seem realistic or even doable for the average parent in this day and age. I believe you can achieve the same result without such rigid parenting. I have no doubt that this type of parenting will create ...more
Sally Poyzer
Oct 01, 2016 Sally Poyzer rated it really liked it
The key message of this book is gold: our efforts as parents should not be directed towards changing our children's behaviour, but towards changing their hearts. It is pointless to aim for the appearance of godliness - instead we want to teach and train them to see the sin in their action and draw them to repentance. I didn't agree with a couple of the suggestions but the overall principles are excellent...albeit very challenging - it is much easier to parent reactively than proactively!
Jan 03, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it
I've just finished re-reading this book. I remembered really find a lot in it that I found useful prior to the birth of our first child. I haven't read it since (we now have a 2nd who's 2 and a 3rd on the way) and I wanted to reread it. The reason I wanted to re-read it was that I felt like my parenting has become more about dealing with my kids performance/actions, rather than the heart behind the actions. ("What your children say and do is a reflection of what is in their hearts" - is the echo ...more
Feb 15, 2017 Megan rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this! I will be referring to it often.
Aug 07, 2012 Annabelle rated it it was amazing
Outstanding! The premise of this book is that as parents, we need to focus not just on the outward, external behavior of our children but be actively addressing the internal heart issues which are driving the outward. Things like self-love, pride, anger, rebellion, etc. have their origins in the human heart and must be exposed as sin against God. To focus only on controlling and changing outward behavior while failing to address the heart is deadly. Tripp makes the case that all children are wor ...more
Aug 29, 2008 Miranda rated it really liked it
The first time I read it, my daughter was only a few months old and I didn't enjoy the book too much. Too scientific with too little anecdotes for me. The 2nd time I read it, she was just over 1 year old, and I gleaned a little more from it...however THIRD time's a charm!! I read it again this past Spring with a 2 1/2 year old and 9 month old, AND I read it with a group of women, and it really spoke to me and urged me to "get back on the horse" with training my children Biblically. FYI, if you a ...more
Ginger Clausen
Oct 13, 2012 Ginger Clausen rated it did not like it
This book gives unrealistic expectations for parents raising children with ADHD or other learning disabilities. He says that if your child can't sit still in church it's because you aren't doing a good job as a parent. I could see what those raising naturally quiet/compliant children love about it.

A much better book is "Have a New Kid by Friday" by Dr. Kevin Leman. He understands rambunctious children being raised by imperfect parents. The main point of Leman's book is to look at the child's at
Laura Rogers
Jun 02, 2009 Laura Rogers rated it did not like it
Stop saying you have to beat your kids to get them to behave. It doesn't shepherd their hearts to spank them - which is beating them - which is abuse.
If I hit my husband to make a point, he could take me to court - but if I hit my precious little six year old, he would have no recourse.
It is just so wrong.
I am strongly offended by books/people/etc. who either come right out and say or strongly infer that it is God's will for you to hit your children- That you can't be a good "christian" without
Mary Havens
Oct 07, 2014 Mary Havens rated it really liked it
This book is one you can revisit at every stage of your child's life. It has practical and applicable advice. I've read it once as a parent of a 7 month old and now as a parent of a 6 and almost 4 year old. It's the kind of book that is like advice from your Dad: you need to hear it, you don't want to hear it, YOU NEED TO HEAR IT!! It's convicting and extremely hard to follow through but we will be better parents and have better children for it.
Sep 19, 2014 Bethany rated it really liked it
Do I agree with every word in this book? No. Do I think I can implement it every moment? Also no. But it kicked my butt on the topics of deep communication with my kids, consistency and focusing on the underlying spiritual reasons for behavior, and for that I'm thankful.
Josh Shelton
Jul 04, 2013 Josh Shelton rated it it was amazing
Best all around and simple book on parenting I've read so far.

Read once in 2014, and again in 2015
Apr 16, 2013 Andrea rated it it was amazing
"The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever." This truth, drawn from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, is what the author proposes as the foundation of all of the pursuits of parenting.

As "agents" of God's authority, shepherding children on behalf of God, parents are called to train their children to see themselves in light of who God is and who they are.

Let me see if I can recap accurately.

The first stage of development (from birth to 4 or 5) involves training in obedience.
Sarah Mackintosh
If I could, I would give five stars to the first half of this book and two to the second. I thought the first part was helpful and thoughtful, with Biblical references. I also appreciated his concern with intentionality, he sort of treats parenting like teaching with long and short term goals.

The second part of the book dealt with physical discipline, which he cited as the only kind of discipline because Proverbs. The end. For every little thing.

Such a dramatic shift, it was like someone else
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Goodreads Librari...: Shepherding a Child's Heart cover 3 150 Jan 03, 2013 11:37AM  
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Tripp draws on over twenty years of experience as a pastor, counselor, school administrator and father in giving valuable help to parents.
More about Tedd Tripp...

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“All behavior is linked to attitudes of the heart. Therefore, discipline must address attitudes of the heart.” 4 likes
“The finest art of communication is not learning how to express your thoughts. It is learning how to draw out the thoughts of another.” 3 likes
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