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Shepherding a Child's Heart

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  10,380 ratings  ·  717 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-JonesShepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd TrippA Dad After God's Own Heart by Jim GeorgeFor the Love of Discipline by Sara  WallaceGrace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel
Christian Parenting
119 books — 108 voters
Pregnancy and Men by Pratik PatilChronicles of a Full-Time Father by James NinnessShepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd TrippArcadia by Mark LagesIt Happened on Munger Street by Victoria Hartland
Dad Books
35 books — 29 voters

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Skylar Burris
Jan 23, 2008 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,
Dalaina May
Jan 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
Written in 1995 and revised in 2005, Shepherding a Child’s Heart begins with the premise that children 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 goals in raising chi
Oct 07, 2008 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.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Tedd Tripp’s childrearing epic is insidious, as the title and the introduction evoke an image of parents being like shepherds gently guiding their sheep, using the curved end of the rod/staff to pull wandering sheep in the right direction, rescuing a sheep stuck on a cliff or down in a pit, using the rod/staff to fight off attacks from wolves who want to destroy the sheep. This is an inspiring metaphor for parenting, which is likely to draw parents or prospective parents into the text. Unfortuna ...more
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is THE go-to book for conservative Christian parents. But it shouldn't be. When I finally got around to reading it was sorely disappointed. I do appreciate the emphasis on addressing childrens' hearts (as opposed to behavior alone), but this book misses the mark, most profoundly in the area of addressing the need for parents to depend on God in their parenting endeavor. In my opinion, it is one of those books that implicitly communicates that if you as a parent "do your job", your kids will ...more
Kate Hyde
Jul 07, 2009 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
May 01, 2011 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
Joshua Park
Apr 01, 2013 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
Aug 30, 2010 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
Peter Krol
Jan 23, 2008 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.
Joy Rancatore
Nov 05, 2012 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
Laura Rogers
Jun 02, 2009 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
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
Oct 15, 2014 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.
Rebekah Schrepfer
Aug 01, 2013 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
Stephanie Sheaffer
Jul 24, 2014 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 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
Mar 15, 2009 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
Catrina Edgar
Apr 23, 2009 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 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!
May 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2015-book-list
I was given this book by a relative as a Mother's Day present and she was looking forward to discussing it with me as it is her favorite parenting book. Though it wasn't my cup of tea, being a good sport I read it.

There are so many things that I find wrong with this book that it would be impossible to list them all. But overall, this book made me very, very sad. Sad that people actually parent like this - and believe that it is the right and Godly way to parent. (The ONLY right and Godly way to
Ginger Clausen
Oct 13, 2012 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
John Boyne
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tripp's book offers sound advise to both old and new parents in the fundamental tasks of raising children. I appreciated how much Tripp focused on heart issues as the focus of the parenting mission. It can be easy to change behavior, but unless you change the under lying condition of the heart, which needs the gospel, you can never see lasting change in your children. As a parent of very young children, I was especially interested in his sections on infants and toddlers and the importance of sim ...more
An Idler
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hard to rate this one. I've never built a house, so it's hard to say how good a house-building book is. Ask me in thirty years how good this book is and I'll be able to speak with more authority. Still, it gave me a lot to think about and a lot I want to try. Tripp's trying to be Biblical and counter-cultural, and I respect that. The 'end goal' he pictures is something I want for my children. Tripp kind of strikes me as a bit of an unusual dude, though. I'd like to meet him in real life.
Aug 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
I agree with his overall theory, that parents should go for children's hearts rather than their behavior...but I disagree with his methods for carrying that out. In fact, I would say he goes against his own theory of going after heart vs. behavior by giving parents such a rigid, formulaic method for discipline and training. Not a fan, and would not recommend.
Liz Strawser
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Straightforward and super helpful. I enjoyed reading parenting by Paul Tripp and this back to back. I feel like they actually go really well together.
Apr 16, 2013 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.
Natalie Fetzer
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
So, I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand I appreciate the perspective that parenting is more than behavior modification. It provides a good reminder that as parents our goals for our children should be more than happiness and success, but as Christians we should be desirous to see them loving the Lord with all their hearts. He advocates heart training over behavior training, which I agree should be the priority. He chapters on communication are good and helpful.

And then he advoc
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a gospel-centered approach to discipline and raising children. Being new parents, we were excited to get our hands on some clear direction. Tripp moves slow, biting off small pieces of information in each chapter, to the point of repeating himself—a lot. But he gets the point across, lays the basic reasons for discipline and then enters into the primary ways of discipline. These ways go hand in hand, and when done well, lead a child to explore Christ for himself.

Tripp’s methods are cons
Jaylena McDowell
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book! Cannot recommend it enough. So life changing when it comes to training and shepherding our children.
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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.

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