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Grace-Based Parenting

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  3,539 ratings  ·  295 reviews
Discover a parenting style that nurtures a healthy family, mirrors God's love, reflects His forgiveness, and displaces fear as a motivator for behavior.

Parents in our post-modern world tend to be committed to but anxious about their child-rearing responsibilities. They've tried the countless parenting books on the market, but many of these are strident, fear-based books th
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 15th 2005 by Thomas Nelson (first published 2004)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,539 ratings  ·  295 reviews

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Joel Arnold
May 12, 2012 rated it did not like it
I read this book because I've heard so much discussion. I strongly disagreed with the viewpoint and found its thoughts largely unhelpful.

• Kimmel used "grace based" rather loosely and left me feeling that it was just a term for his own perspective. As such, it felt like an unfair prejudicing of the debate. Who's going to win arguing for the anti-grace based approach?

• I agree with his basic dictum that we should treat our kids the way God treats us. I do think, however, that his view of God is d
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up
I don't know if it was the writer's style or the present mood or circumstances I've been in, but I had to put the book down. Every time I'd put pick it up, I'd eventually find myself in a disgruntled mood (about life, my marriage and the ways were were each brought up). I got through over half the book. I thought the ideas and precepts were really good, but the ways he elaborated on them were not helpful. I found him more critical of people that don't parent "right" and he seemed prone to using ...more
Dec 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Now it may seem odd at first glance that I, a single, childless woman, would pick up a book on parenting, but I have a bit of a love-affair with grace and happened across this lovely tome whilst babysitting at my sister's. The beautiful thing about this one is that it's less of a parenting how-to (totally irrelevant to me) and more of understanding and developing my relationship with God by understanding and developing all sorts of relationships around me. In short, this book is about living lif ...more
R.K. Goff
Feb 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Ugh. I hate reviewing this one.

It drove me mad and I wanted to throw it across the room several times. I did wind up hissing at it once or twice. I would also highly recommend it.

Kimmel has produced a solid work of philosophy/right-thought (as opposed to a practical instruction book)on what he believes are the most important aspects of parenting. I agree with him. I think he managed to take a potentially confusing idea of grace and applied it marvelously to how parents should see, and treat the
Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it
This author had some great points that really resonated with me. I definitely learned a few important new parenting techniques! The only negatives I can think of are that felt a little too brief & didn’t give as many practical examples as other parenting books I’ve read.
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Grace Based Parenting

Over the last 16 years as a parent I have read a lot of books on parenting, I have taught many courses on parenting, and my wife and I have given a lot of advice to parents, plus we have made a lot of mistakes that we hope to learn from. This book is probably one of the best books on Christian parenting that I have read. I would put it in my top 3 with “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” and “Age of Opportunity”.

If you are looking for a reading road-map for your
Miles Morrison
Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library
Was so excited about this book, but for the most part was left disappointed. Dr. Kimmel's problem isn't that he isn't informed, but that he doesn't clearly say what he's getting at. I love the overall message that Kimmel is giving about grace-based parenting, but every chapter in this book could have been shortened considerably if he didn't beat a dead horse into the ground at every turn. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect is that his parenting focus seems to be a response to legalistic parenti ...more
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Parenting is job #1, but no kid comes with a manual on how best to parent his/her individual selves. My parents did a lot of things right, but they weren't perfect and neither am I. Parenthood is a naturally guilt-ridden state. I've worked as many as three jobs at one time, and even that wasn't as difficult as trying to be a good parent.

Kimmel makes superior points about children's need for security, significance, and strength and explains that to meet those needs, the gifts of love, purpose, a
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-books
Several years ago, when I gave up reading parenting books because their advice was too "one-size-fits-all," someone recommended this book to me. I finally got around to reading it, thinking that I had probably waited too long, as my children are now teenagers. I was pleased to discover that the I had not waited too long! Its sound principles apply to parenting all ages of children and can even benefit anyone who works with children (not just parents). ...more
Elisa Garza
Jul 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all parents
Wow - this book was really challenging. He talks a lot about giving your kids the grace to do things that aren't morally wrong (even though they might make you cringe - like dying their hair funky colors). Also, the focus should be on raising strong kids instead of "safe" kids. Very thought-provoking. I'm actually going to read this one again . . . ...more
Apr 05, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
It had some nuggets in the beginning that were helpful and gave me some new perspectives to consider. After that, it was quite vague, and I found myself wondering if the Bible would agree with all of it. The general concept of the book can be summed up in about one sentence: Display God's grace to your children. Beyond that, I don't consider this a must-read parenting book. ...more
Bailey Sidhom
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was very wary about this book when I picked it up, assuming it was a “why you shouldn’t discipline your kids” story. This is because I had an incorrect idea of grace. This paragraph helped me to realize why I had a negative mindset when I heard the word grace regarding parenting decisions.

“Grace certainly has its share of enemies. There are those enemies who want to camp on the truth of the Bible and say that life is black and white with little nuance. Parents like Tom assume that to show gra
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Fantastic book. I know it sounds cliché, but I wish I would’ve read this book years ago…

Kimmel lays out a profound, biblical perspective for parenting which is deceptively simple: If your Heavenly Father treats you with undeserved love and kindness, then why shouldn’t we parent our children with the same? Simple but with profound implications. I have to admit that for me, this book was alternately convicting and encouraging, sometimes both!

Two of my favorite points of this book are: a) this is
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I first read this book on a bus to Kyoto, pregnant with my first child. It was good but despite my resolve, all I really remembered from it was the anecdotes. Re-reading it now in the small hours before sleep as an exhausted mom of 2 preschoolers, I have new appreciation for it.

What I appreciate most about this book is that unlike some that I've read in the parenting genre, it does NOT promise that if you obey this formula, you are guaranteed upright model citizens. No, rather it warns against
Sabrina Langehaug
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book absolutely changed my view of parenting. With five children underfoot, tension and tempers can rise quickly, both from my children as well as myself. This book reminded me that children are born sinful and instead of being appalled when they disobey, it should be expected. How we respond as parents tremendously shapes their view of our God.

Now I will add that for those with only littles (7ish and under), this book might not be for you...yet. Young children still need clear boundaries
Jessie Filer
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I will be reading this book at least once a year as my children grow up. Kimmel begins by discussing misguided parenting styles (permissive, judgmental, and legalistic) and the problems they create. Instead, he advocates for a grace-based parenting style. He discusses the three driving inner needs that all people have: security, significance, and strength. These needs are met with love, purpose, and hope respectively and grace is the best way to provide them. The rest of the book is devoted to d ...more
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I went through this book with another group of fathers. That book itself was great! Honestly, all the conversations that came from other fathers chewing through this together is what really makes it stick. Great book.
Brett Hall
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
To any parents or soon-to-be parents who might see this review, I highly recommend reading this. I loved the author’s insights but I don’t think I’m qualified to say whether or not they’re “correct”. If nothing else, it gives solid biblical challenges to how you think about parenting.
Matt Hession
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's a great book, with a lot of deep insight into biblical parenting. However, Tim Kimmel firm conviction that this is the right way to parent leads to some firm discourse that comes across a little judgemental or authoritative. I don't think this is his intent, so when it may seem that way it's best to look past it and focus on the point he is making, not the words he uses. ...more
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shannon Bormann
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Easily the greatest parenting book I’ve read to date. Will absolutely keep it on my shelf and surely refer back to it often. Absolutely wonderful and have been highly recommended to others on this parenting journey. Oh, so thankful for this book.
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book had me incredibly conflicted.

On the one hand, I tend to have more of an authoritative streak. So his critiques of parents who don't allow their kids to be different or make mistakes were helpful balances for me, reminding me of the tenderness of the little hearts with which I have to deal, even illuminating why I have some of the relational difficulties I have.

On the other hand, I often felt quite condemned reading the book. Maybe it was the way he presented the information? All the
Dec 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian, parenting
This was a hard one: I got it knowing I would probably find it challenging because I struggle with being an authoritarian style parent. I often default to "do it because I say so, and don't talk back or argue" and I recognize that I need to be willing to change that in some instances. However, I don't feel that it helped much.

Most of what he says I agree with, and it was a good admonishment to have a different way of thinking about things. I'll take some of what he says to heart. However, there
Carissa Norris
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I just finished Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel. Wow, wow and wow. What a beautiful, uplifting, encouraging book. If you are a parent who is tired of feeling like you are battling your children everyday, this is the book for you. Tim shows us how to parent in a way that is grace-filled, that releases our homes from legalism and lets our children truly live as God intended: free in Christ.

I cannot recommend this book more highly. I came away feeling refreshed and more confident as a parent. P
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Maura by: My church
I loved this book, and hope to re-read it at least once, if not regularly. I think it is great on many levels. It is especially good for more authoritarian Christian parents, to help them understand how we can (and should?) parent our children with the grace with which our loving God parents us. I think far too many Christian parents lean more toward the justice side of God than the grace side. Another thing that came to my mind often as I read this book is how much I would love my non-Christian ...more
Jan 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Quite possibly the most enlightening and inspiring parenting book I've read. Not the least of its merits is the explanation of where and how much Christian parenting goes awry and what to do about it. The whole premise that our children understand God's love based on the way we love them rings so true with me. I want to start again reading it from the beginning and take notes and make personal goals this time around, not to mention to start right now making my relationship with Christ and my und ...more
Jason Smith
May 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and highly recommend it. The author does an
excellent job in outlining his beliefs and concepts about parenting into a simple yet profound framework that fits into one's overall belief/religion/philosophy.

I feel that the absence of step-by step guidelines strengthens the claims made in that this system allows individual differences to be celebrated and mistakes/challenges to be forgiven with God given grace.

I enjoyed the anecdotes and felt compelled to examine my own childhood
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Alternate title: how to repeat the word grace so many times that it loses all meaning.
This book had a few good points, say enough for a lecture or pamphlet, but not for a book. Too much repetition and filler.
I don't think I'm part of the audience the author had in mind. He seemed to have a point to prove to "legalistic" parents or those who were raised by ones. I doubt the former would even bother picking up this book. For the rest of us, we don't need a book to tell us that being strict about
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: year-2014
I really hope that every parent who was raised in a legalistic home or church will find this book and read it. It is the only Christian parenting book I've read that made me feel encouraged and inspired rather than guilty or condemned. It teaches you how to raise your children expecting them to struggle with sin rather than how to shield them from sin or discipline it out of them. It teaches the hope of Jesus in their lives as the only way to battle against their sin--rather than a series of sta ...more
Kendra Fletcher
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Until the publication of Elyse Fitzpatrick's and Jessica Thompson's Give Them Grace, Kimmel's Grace Based Parenting was my favorite parenting book. Now I feel the two books complement each other beautifully. After 19 years of parenting 8 children and repenting for our former law-based parenting agenda, our children seek Jesus because they understand the glorious freedom and precious salvation that grace brings. The law never motivates anyone, but grace? Well, it is by grace we have been saved. ...more
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Dr. Tim Kimmel is one of America's top advocates speaking for the family. He is the Executive Director of Family Matters, whose goal is to build great relationships by educating, equipping and encouraging families for every age and stage of life. Tim conducts conferences across the country on the unique pressures that confront today's families. His conferences include: Home Improvement: Building a

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According to some historians, the month of April is actually named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, by way of the Romans....
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“Those who think that the wisest way to groom a child for spiritual maturity is to isolate him from the evil, corrupted world system or airbrush his childhood environment so much that it exposes only him to the good and never teaches him how to process the bad (or the counterfeit) will set a child up for a life of mediocrity at best and spiritual annihilation at worst.” 2 likes
“Some girls know that their dads wish they had been born boys. Some boys figure out that their mothers would rather have had girls. Kids hear when we lament how much work they are when they are little. Teenagers roll their eyes when we announce, “They’re teens— what do you expect?” On the other hand, when they hear us say that it’s an honor to have them in our home, that we are grateful for the chance to do all the things they need us to do for them (like haul them around, or spend a lot of money on them), they sense acceptance that makes them feel securely loved. Our attitude shouldn’t be that we “have” to do all these things for them, but that we “get” to.” 1 likes
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