I want to thank EP Books for sending me a copy of Parenting Against the Tide in return for my honest review, and for providing a copy for the giveaway.
We’ve all seen the social media memes addressing the difference between parenting in the old days and parenting today, haven’t we? I mean, in addition to grandparents walking both ways backwards in the snow to school, and kids drinking from the hose outside on hot days, parents required obedience—and kids complied or suffered the consequences (and, baby, there were consequences). Families of yesteryear weren’t child-centric like they are today. Kids weren’t only required to obey, we were required to contribute to the family. At least, that’s the way I remember it. Judging from the child labor laws in this country, that’s the way our great-grandparents remember it, too. I also remember culture being really different when I was growing up. Not only was every child’s gender assumed to be set by God from birth, we didn’t have access to electronics and interconnectedness from toddlerhood. The shifting environment we live in creates new challenges for today’s parents.
Ann Benton—a teacher, pastor’s wife, and graduate in Developmental Psychology—runs parenting courses, writes books, and speaks at conferences on family issues in England. She’s seen the new obstacles and expectations in parenting, she observes a biblical standard for parenting, and she has some wisdom to share. Parenting Against the Tide: A Handbook for 21st Century Parenting (EP Books, 2014) is a well-organized topical guide to fourteen issues facing parents today. Mrs. Benton discusses the current views on each issue before outlining Scriptural teaching about each subject…..
Ann Benton addresses the importance of mothers and fathers and their authority, the concept of self-esteem, relativism and morality, delighting in children, obedience, discipline, gender roles, sex and marriage, technology, financial stewardship, religious instruction, school options, church, and parental ambitions.
I think each chapter in Parenting Against the Tide is vital to parenting today. In addressing such hot-button topics, Ann Benton ventures into closely guarded territory. In most cases, I agreed with her emphatically on the points she made. There’s something about the hindsight gained when children are adults that changes the way you see parenting. I know I have two grown children and two still at home. We’re raising our second “set” of kids differently than we did the first. Because… hindsight. Ann Benton has that hindsight as well.
I love that after Ann Benton addresses the current cultural ideas on each subject she presents, she applies biblical principles to those areas, liberally quoting verses and passages from Scripture. Each chapter ends with a couple of application questions or ideas to consider, and a list of biblical resources on the topic covered in the chapter.
Anytime Scripture is used topically, rather than explained exegetically, we run the risk of taking it out of context and misapplying it. I think that overall, Mrs. Benton does well in her topical application of Scripture. There were some moments that made me tilt my head a little. For example, her biblical support of the argument that relationships should be face to face rather than online using 3 John 13-14, Deuteronomy 34:10, Exodus 33:11, and Numbers 6:24-26. I agree that it may indeed by unwise for teens to focus all their time on social media, or to allow friend requests from strangers. But I think it’s a stretch to use the verses she did to argue for only face-to-face relationships.
I read a number of church history and theology books from across the pond, and the language doesn’t usually throw me too much. After all, we’re all speaking English, right? Ann Benton’s voice is a bit more informal than my normal literary fare and once in a while, I was a little thrown by her colloquialisms. It took me several pages to realize the “naughty step” meant “time out”. In most cases, though, I had no problem understanding her meaning. For instance, “smack” means “spank”. No big deal.
For me, reading Parenting Against the Tide was like having a discussion with a biblically-informed, wise friend. I think Ann Benton makes some excellent points, and her admonitions are worth considering seriously.
Be sure to enter to win a copy of Parenting Against the Tide below! The giveaway closes on April 24, 2015 at 10am PST.
Parenting Against the Tide: A Handbook for 21st Century Parenting by Ann Benton
You can find Parenting Against the Tide: A Handbook for the 21st Century at:
Other parenting books reviewed on Thinking Kids
- You, Your Family, and the Internet by David Clark
- Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young
- Organic Outreach for Families by Kevin G. and Sherry Harney
- Engaging Today’s Prodigal by Carol Barnier
- Intentional Parenting by Tad Thompson
- Your Child’s Profession of Faith by Dennis Gundersen
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.