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Heartfelt Discipline: The Gentle Art of Training and Guiding Your Child
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Heartfelt Discipline: The Gentle Art of Training and Guiding Your Child

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  271 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Christian parents are sure of one thing–they must discipline their children. Ask them to define discipline, however, and you will find little agreement. Many parenting experts support a strict, “hands-on” approach–usually in the form of spankings. Other believers think a permissive, “hands-off” is the best way to demonstrate love. Caught between these extremes, ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 15th 2003 by Waterbrook Press
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Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  271 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Jan 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is easily the best contemporary Christian parenting book I’ve read. Clarkson writes about a model of family discipline that harkens back to the true meaning of the word: disciplemaking. His ideas fit well with the view that our children are also our brothers and sisters in Christ through baptism, and deserve to be treated as such. Unfortunately, he does rabbit trail into Harry Potter bashing in his attempts to explain the importance of filtering what media content goes into the home, but ...more
Laura Rogers
Mar 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
Such a breath of fresh air - finally a book that embraces GENTLENESS from the christian perspective - what a novelty... sadly...not many books of this kind exsist.
Highly recommended
Carissa Norris
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely excellent book, biblically based and accurate. Clarkson explores how God's Word calls parents to parent--like God himself. God is a parent's example and guide. This book was a breath of fresh air. Many Christian parenting books focus on the negative and how to "make" your child behave. This book shows how God can reach a child's heart through discipline. This book will be of fundamental help for me as I parent.
Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Even though I don't have children, I found this book very helpful for all the work I do with kids. It showed me that I had the wrong idea about what biblical discipline is, opened my eyes to how much of a sin police I'd been, and challenged me on how to show God's grace to children.
Jaime Scharf
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have read sooooo many books on parenting and this is one of the only two I recommend to others. It was transformative in our family. No formula parenting.
D. Owsley
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For the past ten or so years, I have moved away from the traditional perspective on child training. Of the twenty-five Christian books I read and followed, all of which advocated spanking as the primary means of fixing children or making them become Christians (the message those books either stated or strongly implied), none of them are in my library today.

While rejecting those books, the question remained: what are some biblical principles to guide parents regarding raising children? In the
MJ Hancock
Pros: Clarkson has a good focus and some really helpful content in this book. I found some helpful nuggets on parenting here. As a family we really love using his book on 24 family ways.
Cons: I understand why Clarkson argues against corporal punishment from a psychologist's perspective, but he uses strange hermenutics to prove that the Bible does not teach corporal punishment. Also, the wordiness of the book really weakens it. He has such a great outline and really so much practical wisdom for
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting, christian
If I had to choose one parenting book that absolutely resonated with my heart it would be this one. I connected with this work in a very deep way. This is the type of parenting my heart longs for me to do/be. I am so thankful for Clay Clarkson's work and plan on recommending this book to our church family and putting it in our church library :)
Brian Wright
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-changing
If I could give this 10 stars, I would. Not that I agree with EVERYTHING he says, but I most love his biblical approach, his humble tone, and his practical wisdom. Definitely the best parenting book I've ever read!
Kayleigh Taber
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-non-fiction
This is the FIRST parenting book I read cover to cover! Which is big for me. I've started several but have disagreed with big or multiple small concepts presented in the book and couldn't continue. This one was excellent. It filled in the gaps for me...showed me the kind of parent I wanted to be while calming my anxieties about not being the kind of parent other people thought I should be (the struggle is REAL, y'all.)

I loved and identified with 99.9% of this book. I guess I just take issue with
Don't let the fact that it took me FOREVER to read this fool you. I am just easily distracted. Or undisciplined. But, this book was gold for me as we struggled through some parenting issues that were new and scary to us. Not having much of a foundation to pull from, I bought the book b/c I have been so blessed by Sally Clarkson's books and podcasts. I appreciate the Clarksons' approach to parenting with grace and intention. This is not a method book. There is no promise of a "new kid by Friday." ...more
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

I really enjoyed this perspective on discipline (disciple-making). I would classify this as "inspirational" rather than methodic, because in the words of Clarkson, "The 'method' comes from the Holy Spirit, who lives within your heart and guides you to become the parent your children need as you walk together with God." While at the moment I don't agree with everything 100%, I can see the logic behind his arguments and will continue to ruminate on things for a while. However, it
Jillian Armstrong
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The overall encouragement is to focus on God’s heart for our children and rely on His Spirit as we lead them, rather than focusing on formulas to get them to behave in a certain way. I love how deeply he delves into Scripture. I’ll want to read this again as my children get older. I highly recommend!
Matthew Hodge
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian, hard-copy
I always find Clarkson a bit wordy but his heart for how he suggests we parent our children is sound, compassionate and resonates with me. I must admit, I feel like I would struggle to keep up with how well he seems to parent but that is no reason not to aim high, right?
Meleah87 Rubino
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Best parenting book from a Biblical perspective that I’ve ever read. Highly recommend.
Kimberly Lovell
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
There are some good points and perspective in this book. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you evaluate truth as you read through.
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a gentle approach to discipline.
Allison M
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Although it's practically impossible to agree with everything in a parenting book, this one has a ton that I agree wholeheartedly with and it was a very encouraging, challenging, and inspiring read.
Good book written from a Christian perspective on child rearing and on discipline in particular. Deals with whether corporal punishment, i.e. spanking is MANDATED by Scripture.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Already one of my top recommended parenting books. I love the more wholistic Biblical look at discipline/discipleship/training of children, with an emphasis on keeping open and honoring relationships. Clarkson also takes on the traditional conservative Christian teaching on the “rod” passages in Proverbs with a solid exegesis that shows that spanking small children was not the writer’s intent.
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The one parenting book I wish I had read when my oldest was two. The most biblical and gentle treatise on parenting I've ever read (and I've read most of the Christan ones). The only lack is addressing discipline for the very young, less than 2.
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book challenged my view of parenting and discipline in big and humbling ways. I learned a lot and appreciate his wisdom.
Delvin Guggenheim
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such a refreshing view of childhood discipline with a focus on training (the actual meaning of “discipline”) and remembering our goal that our children love the Lord. I love that Clarkson actually takes on the subject of spanking and offers a counterpoint to the popular “whoop they butts” party line of most evangelical bodies, yet I find his hermeneutics a bit troubling. His main argument about a particular Hebrew word falls apart with a quick use of a concordance (I’ll leave it vague so as not ...more
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Clay Clarkson is director of Whole Heart Ministries, a nonprofit family ministry he and his wife, Sally, started in 1994 to help Christian parents raise wholehearted children for Christ. He is the author of Educating the WholeHearted Child, Our 24 Family Ways, Heartfelt Discipline, Taking Motherhood to Hearts, and The Lifegiving Parent (with Sally Clarkson). He writes online about Christian ...more
“The first step to making God a part of every minute of your day is to meet with God daily. The more the Word of God permeates your own life and heart, the more you’ll be able to bring God’s Word into the lives of your children.” 0 likes
“The more the Word of God permeates your own life and heart, the more you’ll be able to bring God’s Word into the lives of your children.” 0 likes
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