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Parenting with Words of Grace: Building Relationships with Your Children One Conversation at a Time

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How you speak to your kids today will impact your relationship with them tomorrow. As a parent, your words are powerful. What you say and how you say it has the potential to either invite your children into deeper relationship with you or push them away. What's more, in a very real sense, your words represent--or misrepresent--God's words to his children-- meaning they have How you speak to your kids today will impact your relationship with them tomorrow. As a parent, your words are powerful. What you say and how you say it has the potential to either invite your children into deeper relationship with you or push them away. What's more, in a very real sense, your words represent--or misrepresent--God's words to his children-- meaning they have the power to shape how your children view their heavenly Father. Offering practical guidance for grace-filled communication in the midst of the craziness of everyday life, this accessible guide will help you speak in ways that reflect the grace God has shown to you in the gospel.


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How you speak to your kids today will impact your relationship with them tomorrow. As a parent, your words are powerful. What you say and how you say it has the potential to either invite your children into deeper relationship with you or push them away. What's more, in a very real sense, your words represent--or misrepresent--God's words to his children-- meaning they have How you speak to your kids today will impact your relationship with them tomorrow. As a parent, your words are powerful. What you say and how you say it has the potential to either invite your children into deeper relationship with you or push them away. What's more, in a very real sense, your words represent--or misrepresent--God's words to his children-- meaning they have the power to shape how your children view their heavenly Father. Offering practical guidance for grace-filled communication in the midst of the craziness of everyday life, this accessible guide will help you speak in ways that reflect the grace God has shown to you in the gospel.

30 review for Parenting with Words of Grace: Building Relationships with Your Children One Conversation at a Time

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bambi Moore

    This book surprised me at just how good it was. If you can easily get too full of parenting books and want to choose them wisely, this one is a keeper. The book is all about how to speak with words of kindness and humility, “that impart grace to hearers.” The context is in the form of parents to children but I found myself applying the scriptural principles to any relationship be it marriage, friendships, church relationships, etc. If you fail at consistently speaking to your children with patien This book surprised me at just how good it was. If you can easily get too full of parenting books and want to choose them wisely, this one is a keeper. The book is all about how to speak with words of kindness and humility, “that impart grace to hearers.” The context is in the form of parents to children but I found myself applying the scriptural principles to any relationship be it marriage, friendships, church relationships, etc. If you fail at consistently speaking to your children with patience and grace (that would be all of us), you will appreciate this book. But you will not feel “beat up.” The author repeatedly drives home the truth that God is still parenting the parents. He often uses our own children to do so. And in the same way he forgives us, loves us and welcomes us back into loving relationship with him when *we* are the ones who’ve “blown in”, we are to also do likewise with our children. If your knee jerk reactions to the sins of your children are anger or harshness or resentment or withdrawal or (in the case of teens/young adults) retaliation, the author reminds readers in a very winsome way, that God has never done this to his children. The author points to scriptures that show us how God’s corrections are to draw us back to himself into loving fellowship. Lastly, the book is an easy read. This may actually frustrate some of us who enjoy heavier reading. Sometimes I wished the author would dive a little deeper theologically 😬. However, the nice part is that you don’t need a cup of coffee in hand to read this one. It’s light enough to read before bed and not feel like your brain might explode or have you in tears. I’ll be returning to my highlights in this book for a good while.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Ray

    Book 178 of 2019. All parents have the best intention. However, not all parents communicate with their children in a way that effectively communicates the lessons that they wish to impart to their children. Smith, as a pastor and a parent, has some ideas about how to best match our communication with our children to our goals. His idea is to add more grace to those conversations. As a parent, I freely admit that my use of my tongue is one of my weak areas, so I’ve read several books on using grac Book 178 of 2019. All parents have the best intention. However, not all parents communicate with their children in a way that effectively communicates the lessons that they wish to impart to their children. Smith, as a pastor and a parent, has some ideas about how to best match our communication with our children to our goals. His idea is to add more grace to those conversations. As a parent, I freely admit that my use of my tongue is one of my weak areas, so I’ve read several books on using grace-filled words. Smith’s book is made up of stories as much as ideas and the chapters dare short than easily digested. His exegesis of Ephesians 4:29 is powerful and throughout the book there are many little gems for the reader to find. This is not, however, a step-by-step guide on how to change your communication (Sam Crabtree’s Practicing Affirmation is good for that.). Instead, this shows how Smith’s family works through this communication and how they also fail at it. Perhaps the most powerful idea in the whole book is the realization that your relationship with God and your experience of his grace is where your ability to give this kind of grace to others springs from. Overall, this is a good book and a great reminder to be more aware of the power of our everyday interaction with our children. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ #bookstagram #books #bookreview #parenting #parentingwithwordsofgrace #theunreadshelfproject2019

  3. 5 out of 5

    Keri Higgins

    Cannot recommend enough!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Samantha // fictionfigurine

    I read Parenting with Words of Grace because I enjoy books that contain scripture references and also comparing scripture to parenting-life in modern times. While there were chapters and chapters with references to the Bible, I still felt like the book missed a lot of opportunity to use real examples of “Parenting with Words of Grace”. Don’t get me wrong, the author is clearly a smart pastor and knows his scripture, but the “real life” examples where he spoke to his own children with Words of Gr I read Parenting with Words of Grace because I enjoy books that contain scripture references and also comparing scripture to parenting-life in modern times. While there were chapters and chapters with references to the Bible, I still felt like the book missed a lot of opportunity to use real examples of “Parenting with Words of Grace”. Don’t get me wrong, the author is clearly a smart pastor and knows his scripture, but the “real life” examples where he spoke to his own children with Words of Grace seemed to be unauthentic and not very realistic (at least in my opinion). I was hoping for more examples of how to speak with children or family members based on the title, however the book kind of missed the mark. I feel like the book lacks overall structure, there were too few parenting examples (some but not many and unrealistic), and just a disorganized flow of the book in general. The book did not meet my expectations based on my initial impression of the title and book description. Thank you Crossway books and #netgalkey for my free e-book arc in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Your kids mature through conversations. That is the main idea of this book. Through our conversations, we teach our children. Just as we learn from our conversations with God, our children learn from us. They not only learn who we are and how we treat them, but they also learn who God is. Every time you talk to your child, you are communicating "This is what I am like as a person- this is what I value; this is what's important to me; this is how I think about life; this is how I think about you. Your kids mature through conversations. That is the main idea of this book. Through our conversations, we teach our children. Just as we learn from our conversations with God, our children learn from us. They not only learn who we are and how we treat them, but they also learn who God is. Every time you talk to your child, you are communicating "This is what I am like as a person- this is what I value; this is what's important to me; this is how I think about life; this is how I think about you." There are aspects of this book that I loved, the mission to speak thoughtfully to our children was great. However, I felt like his personal stories were completely unrealistic. Overall, I would recommend this book. "Teach and talk everywhere. Verbally communicate not simply what God says, but how his words intersect with daily life as you're home or on the road...Fill your children's world with God's words so that they develop a sense of who he is, who they are in relation to him, and how they must live in this world."

  6. 4 out of 5

    NinaB

    Being a mom of two adults and only one teen still living at home, I didn’t think I needed to read this book. I thought it was too late for me since I’m 2/3 done with parenting. How wrong I was! Yes, the author mostly addresses parenting smaller kids, but the principles he explained work with older children, and even in other discipleship-type relationships at church or elsewhere. It is helpful for any kind of pursuit of relationship with anyone. But, I think what I like most about the book is th Being a mom of two adults and only one teen still living at home, I didn’t think I needed to read this book. I thought it was too late for me since I’m 2/3 done with parenting. How wrong I was! Yes, the author mostly addresses parenting smaller kids, but the principles he explained work with older children, and even in other discipleship-type relationships at church or elsewhere. It is helpful for any kind of pursuit of relationship with anyone. But, I think what I like most about the book is the author’s constant reminder of God the Father’s love for His children. I was deeply encouraged by Scripture references that show God’s patience, grace and mercy toward His sometimes rebellious children. And when parents realize what and how much God has done for them, it leads to treating their children the same. One of my favorite passages in the book is this, “What changed me—what keeps changing me—is the Word of God, spoken from the Father to me, his child. His words help me know his heart: that I am absolutely safe with him. That my reputation is secure because he has my back. That I am far more deeply loved than I have yet dared to imagine. That he is working in me now and will not quit until I am pure and perfect, just like Christ. That he has taken away every wrong thing that I’ve ever done to him, along with the penalty of doing wrong. That at this very moment he is not angry with me. That he likes me and wants to be friends with me.”

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Beane

    Are you a parent who feels like you say the same things over and over to your children? Do you wish you had fresh vocabulary, Grace filled perspective in the way you think about your relationships with your kids? At the bottom of all of these desires lies the deeper question of how has God in Jesus spoken to us, how has He condescended to communicate to His creatures? Parenting with words of grace answers these questions and more. I’ll be re-reading this for years to come!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Not just helpful for parenting, but for communication in all relationships.

  9. 5 out of 5

    James Ruley

    The core idea of this book - how you communicate with your kids impacts how they see Jesus - is spot on and critically important. Some of the examples and comments in this book were really helpful, especially in thinking through how to use sin and frustration to point back to Jesus, and how to use your words to build others up. Unfortunately, this book really struggled with formatting and structure, so the idea flow felt disorganized and confusing to follow at times. 3.5/5

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    Wonderful book about about speaking in light of the gospel Do read this book! Whether you have kids or not you will be challenged to reevaluate your speech and approach to relationships in light of your relationship to God. This book will encourage you to think about the way God has been kind to you and to respond with kindness in your human relationships. Very challenging and encouraging!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeanie

    The things we choose to say or not to say, along with the way that we say them, are either an invitation to, or a warning against, greater relationship. Parenting then is the privilege of wooing potential future peers-smaller, less developed images of God-inviting them, if they so choose, to vertical and horizontal relationships that could outlast time. Parenting can't work if you force your children to love you or work well with you but you can woo. You can give them an experience of living in The things we choose to say or not to say, along with the way that we say them, are either an invitation to, or a warning against, greater relationship. Parenting then is the privilege of wooing potential future peers-smaller, less developed images of God-inviting them, if they so choose, to vertical and horizontal relationships that could outlast time. Parenting can't work if you force your children to love you or work well with you but you can woo. You can give them an experience of living in God's world that invites them to have more. You can use words to love them, pursue them, train them, and engage them like God uses words with you. In doing so your kids, will have the chance to sense his character and nature through you, which will help them decide whether or not they'd like more of you and more of him. It is an invitation for a long lasting relationship. There is a balancing act in parenting your children. Parenting can be tough love when needed but it also can be filled with grace. It is through our everyday conversations that we can build a relationship that woos our children to us and to the Father. Words are powerful. They can be death or life. It is taking the opportunity to give life in our words to lift them up that they have the confidence to love others and serve. There can be misconceptions on what grace is and the author makes those misconceptions plain. Grace is not enabling your children but showing them a better way. The distinction in itself can be harmful to the child if we are not mindful of it. The goal of parenting with words of grace is to help connect our child to the love of Christ. It is by understanding the love of Christ, we can love others and Christ well. Words of Grace can give us opportunities to say 3 very important things. What kind of person am I. What kind of relationship can you expect to have with me in the future, and most more important, you represent God to your children and do they want to know him based on your representation. Highly recommend. A Special Thank you to Crossway Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    E

    This book had some good things to say about the power of our words. Do we speak like people we ourselves would like to be around? Often not. And yet my fear is that this book will lead its readers to use words to manipulate. The thesis seems to be, "You're using words in this way because you want a certain result. But if you want that certain result, use words in this other way instead." It seems to be all about achieving a certain outcome, not about changing hearts. After all, "Out of the abund This book had some good things to say about the power of our words. Do we speak like people we ourselves would like to be around? Often not. And yet my fear is that this book will lead its readers to use words to manipulate. The thesis seems to be, "You're using words in this way because you want a certain result. But if you want that certain result, use words in this other way instead." It seems to be all about achieving a certain outcome, not about changing hearts. After all, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matt. 12:34)--not the other way around. My other concern rears its head every time I read a parenting book from a Baptist--why do we assume our children are unbelievers that need converted? Why not raise them as believers and expect the Spirit to effect the grace promised and sealed at baptism? That seems the far more Biblical way. How else can a parent teach his child Ephesians 6:2? If he's not a part of the people of God, that "promise" ain't for him! I'd steer away from this book. Read something by Doug Wilson or Paul Tripp instead.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Regina Chari

    This book is good. It's not perfect and if I had to choose between Parenting with Words of Grace and a few other books about parenting, I would likely choose another. The author appears to be quite religious which should seem obvious from the cover, however when a book is about relationship I'm looking more for the outworking of faith in relationship that religion. His use of scripture, especially in the way we speak to our children is helpful. This may be a book my husband would enjoy more than I This book is good. It's not perfect and if I had to choose between Parenting with Words of Grace and a few other books about parenting, I would likely choose another. The author appears to be quite religious which should seem obvious from the cover, however when a book is about relationship I'm looking more for the outworking of faith in relationship that religion. His use of scripture, especially in the way we speak to our children is helpful. This may be a book my husband would enjoy more than I did. It's pretty well written and easy to read. I am not disappointed I took the time to read it, I simply didn't find much that was new in here and could likely gather the same information from book I would enjoy more. The publisher provided an ARC through Netgalley. I have voluntarily decided to read and review, giving my personal opinions and thoughts

  14. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    I absolutely love the premise behind this book, and I learned a lot about the character of God. If we look to how God speaks to us, we will see a beautiful example of how we should speak to our children. This book is full of scripture passages to help us truly see the character of God, and then helps us think about how we can implement what we learn from God into our relationships with our children. I didn’t love the writing style of the author. I felt like it was a bit choppy and there was no go I absolutely love the premise behind this book, and I learned a lot about the character of God. If we look to how God speaks to us, we will see a beautiful example of how we should speak to our children. This book is full of scripture passages to help us truly see the character of God, and then helps us think about how we can implement what we learn from God into our relationships with our children. I didn’t love the writing style of the author. I felt like it was a bit choppy and there was no good flow between thoughts. Thanks to netgalley and the author for the ARC. I truly enjoyed reading it!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Larimer

    "Parenting with Words of Grace" by William Smith is a practical book for parents. It teaches parents the importance of keeping open communication with your children. It shows the parents to always be open in the way they communicate and accepting . He warns against turning your children off so they will not listen. The book uses good examples and ties in scripture . It reminds us of God's love for us and His patience and reminds us to do the same for our children. I appreciate the publisher , au "Parenting with Words of Grace" by William Smith is a practical book for parents. It teaches parents the importance of keeping open communication with your children. It shows the parents to always be open in the way they communicate and accepting . He warns against turning your children off so they will not listen. The book uses good examples and ties in scripture . It reminds us of God's love for us and His patience and reminds us to do the same for our children. I appreciate the publisher , author and netgalley for allowing me to read and review this wonderful book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    What an amazing book on parenting! This book was encouraging, convicting and so well-written. The author shares stories from his own parenting experience but constantly points back to the power of the Gospel for parenting and investing well in our kids. The principles in this book can be used no matter what stage of parenting you are in - and the principles can be applied to all relationships. Very highly and wholeheartedly recommend!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christina Li

    This is an excellent book, challenging and full of grace (just like its title!) In this crazy world we live in, parents need this kind of guidance and encouragement, that, when put into practice, shapes the next generation in love, giving God the glory, and bring hope to a lost and desperate world.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Vigneault

    I'm Thankful for this Book! This book was a great encouragement in how our speech is used as parents. Words are not a means to get our kids to do what we want but rather tools to point them to the loving Savior. I'm Thankful for this Book! This book was a great encouragement in how our speech is used as parents. Words are not a means to get our kids to do what we want but rather tools to point them to the loving Savior.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    With more time spent at home recently, opportunities for our family to communicate and build relationships have not been lacking. This book has been a helpful reminder about the importance of conversing with my kids… not just talking but listening too. There is much to teach them about the Lord, His Word, and the world, and William P. Smith writes well in "Parenting with Words of Grace" about developing the skills of encouragement and honesty. He speaks about the power of words infused with grac With more time spent at home recently, opportunities for our family to communicate and build relationships have not been lacking. This book has been a helpful reminder about the importance of conversing with my kids… not just talking but listening too. There is much to teach them about the Lord, His Word, and the world, and William P. Smith writes well in "Parenting with Words of Grace" about developing the skills of encouragement and honesty. He speaks about the power of words infused with grace and points to the Redeemer, “the God of unlimited second chances who continues to talk to me, inviting me to a friendship with him—a friendship that can’t help but change the way I talk to others.” This is especially helpful in an age where so many words are used on social media platforms that are the inverse of James 1:19. Instead, we look to Jesus, who came into this world and dwelt among us full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Recommended reading for parents as well as anyone wanting to “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Danielle W

    This book is not really a parenting book. This book is probably 10% about parenting, 50% about the character of God, and 40% about relationships in general. The book is easy to read all at once or in little pieces. Each chapter is 5-8 pages, so super short. The last third of third of the book pulls it all together. Smith does a really good job of using personal examples as well as examples from well know people in history to emphasize each point. Ultimately the message here is that God is good, w This book is not really a parenting book. This book is probably 10% about parenting, 50% about the character of God, and 40% about relationships in general. The book is easy to read all at once or in little pieces. Each chapter is 5-8 pages, so super short. The last third of third of the book pulls it all together. Smith does a really good job of using personal examples as well as examples from well know people in history to emphasize each point. Ultimately the message here is that God is good, we are called to be God’s mouthpiece and to reflect God to those around us. Nothing new to me but always a good reminder that my focus in parenting (and all relationships) is to show God’s love, truth, grace and forgiveness to my kids (and my spouse, and my friends, etc).

  21. 5 out of 5

    Heather Gibson

    One of the best parenting books I have read. It’s such a simple concept, but it is outlined perfectly. Every conversation we have with our kids matters. We all fall short of the glory of God, but we can dust ourselves off and keep showing up to show our kids Jesus through our own words and actions and demonstrate humility when we inevitably get it wrong. We can show them we need Jesus too. Loved this one! Will absolutely read it again.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura Weir

    Here I am feeling excited about finishing a book (it only took almost 3 years... The irony of trying to read parenting books with babies and toddlers around), but knowing it was good enough I should read it again. It's a great read with Gospel encouragement and everyday examples to help parents love more like Jesus. Here I am feeling excited about finishing a book (it only took almost 3 years... The irony of trying to read parenting books with babies and toddlers around), but knowing it was good enough I should read it again. It's a great read with Gospel encouragement and everyday examples to help parents love more like Jesus.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Has made me think long and hard about how my words land on my kids and how words are something you never get to take back. I liked how he brought it back to every interaction is telling my kids “this is how I treat people I’m in relationship with.” And every interaction helps them answer the question “Will you choose to have one with me when you’re grown?”

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Douglas

    Great Reminder of God's Grace How can I give grace, unless I remember how much grace I have been shown. If you want a parenting how to book, then this is not the book for you. If you want to find pathways to bring conversations back to God and His grace, then read this book. Great Reminder of God's Grace How can I give grace, unless I remember how much grace I have been shown. If you want a parenting how to book, then this is not the book for you. If you want to find pathways to bring conversations back to God and His grace, then read this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Megan Haughery

    This is one of those books I feel like I will be referring back to for years to come. It was just the right combination of biblical guidelines and practical helps. I appreciated the authors honesty and transparency, and especially the vision he lays forth for being in relationship with our kids.

  26. 5 out of 5

    John Henschen

    This is a great book. Super practical and seemed to speak especially to me in my current place of life. Highly recommend. The sections on encouragement were very convicting and useful. I’ve seen immediate dividends from the book. Buy it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Spencer Carpenter

    Excellent book on wise speech and parenting and otherwise. Refreshingly challenging, insightful, and helpful.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Lloyd

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Parenting is hard. It is easy to lose your cool and spout off with words that you will regret. It seems that the older your children get, the easier you can lose your cool. While we know that we should not parent this way, this is our default mindset unless we are aware of our words. This book by William Smith seeks to correct that. I love that he is never speaking in a condescending tone towards us about any situations that we should have handled better. Instead, he offers a morale booster in he Parenting is hard. It is easy to lose your cool and spout off with words that you will regret. It seems that the older your children get, the easier you can lose your cool. While we know that we should not parent this way, this is our default mindset unless we are aware of our words. This book by William Smith seeks to correct that. I love that he is never speaking in a condescending tone towards us about any situations that we should have handled better. Instead, he offers a morale booster in helping us understand that we can do better. Smith offers personal examples from his own life of instances where things should have went better in an effort to pull us into a better understanding of why he is able to communicate about these issues. I have read quite a few parenting books and a lot of the time it is the same things over and over. I found refreshing stories and encouragement in this book to help shape me as a parent. I would highly recommend this book to new parents or parents that are simply seeking to become a better a parent. A physical was sent to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The words above are my own and have not been influenced in any form outside of the written manuscript.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Faith Shelton

    One of the best books on conversation with anything, not just our kids. I will definitely reread this one.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shaun

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