Raising Great Kids : A Comprehensive Guide to Parenting with Grace and Truth

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2000-01-01
  • Publisher: Zondervan
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In approaching parenting from both a developmental and spiritual direction, the authors show how biblical character includes competent functioning in areas such as relationship skills, tasks, ownership, responsibility and follow through, self-control, perseverance, delay of gratification, ability to lose and grieve, and the ability to forgive.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Elisa Morgan
Introduction: A Forbidden Topic
Part 1: Raising Children of Character
1. The Goal of Parenting: A Child with Character
2. The Ingredients of Grace and Truth
3. The Ingredient of Time
Part 2: Developing the Six Character Traits Every Child Needs
4. Laying the Foundation of Life: Connectedness
5. Developing Self-Control: Responsibility
6. Living in an Imperfect World: Reality
7. Developing Gifts and Talents: Competence
8. Making a Conscience: Morality
9.Connecting to God: Worship and Spiritual Life
Part 3: Working Yourself Out of a Job
10. Preparing Them for Life on Their Own
11. Dealing with Specific Teenage Issues
Part 4: Dealing with Special Circumstances
12. Understanding Temperaments
13. Parenting on Your Own


Raising Great Kids
Copyright © 1999 by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
This title is also available as a Zondervan audio product.
Visit www.zondervan.com/audiopages for more information.
Requests for information should be addressed to:
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Cloud, Henry.
Raising great kids: parenting with grace and truth / Henry Cloud and John
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-10: 0-310-23549-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-310-23549-1
1. Parenting—Religious aspect—Christianity. I. Townsend, John Sims, 1952–
II. Title.
BV4529.C54 1999
This edition printed on acid-free paper.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New
International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible
Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy,
recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the
prior permission of the publisher.
Published in association with Yates & Yates, LLP, Attorneys and Counselors,
Orange, CA.
Interior design by Sherri L. Hoffman
Printed in the United States of America
06 07 08 09 10 11 12 • 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19
———— One ————
The Goal of Parenting
A Child with Character
My friend Tony had asked me (Dr. Townsend) to dinner to talk
about a family problem. After we caught up on what was new
in our lives since we had last seen each other, he began talking
about his recent struggles with his fourteen-year-old daughter,
Halley. She was skipping school, drinking, and hanging around
with a bad crowd. Tony and his wife, Denise, were working with
the school, their church, and a counselor to deal with Halley’s
“It must be awful. How are you handling it?” I asked Tony.
“It’s been tough for all of us,” Tony said. “But for me the
worst part is what we’ve lost.”
“What do you mean?”
“Remember when Halley was three or four?”
I nodded, having been friends with the family for years.
“She was the sweetest, most responsive kid you’d ever see,”
he said. “We were all so close. Halley wasn’t perfect, but she
was a good girl. Then out of the blue, this angry, lying, rebellious
person seems to inhabit my daughter’s body. I don’t know
this Halley.”
I sat quietly with my friend, empathizing with his sense
of loss.
Sometime later, Tony and I met again, and I asked about
Halley. With a look of weary wisdom, he said, “We’ve all worked
hard, and things are a lot better. I’ve learned some things about
how we raised Halley. We wanted her to be good. But we weren’t
doing a lot about helping her have good character. That’s our
focus nowadays.”
Tony’s observation illustrates an important point about parenting.
Everybody wants good kids. Good children do what they’re
supposed to. This is a proper and right desire. We are all to do
what is good and right in God’s eyes (Deuteronomy 12:28). But
many good children don’t grow up handling life well. They may
become either not-so-good people or good-but-immature adults.
As Tony learned, the issue is not about being good, but about
having good character. That is the subject of this chapter.
The Importance of Being a Parent
If you are a parent, congratulations! You are engaged in one
of the most meaningful jobs in the world. Although cleaning
up spilled milk and arguing about dirty rooms may seem trivial,
you are doing eternally significant work: developing a little
person into an adult.
God understands and supports you in this endeavor. People
didn’t invent parenting, God did. He is in a parent-child role
with us, his people, forever. He loves us and wants to nurture
and develop us. He wants us to call him by a parent name:
Being a parent is one of the most important tasks God gives
anyone. Children are a blessing and a great heritage. Through
parenting, humanity continues down through the centuries, our
spiritual and cultural values are preserved, and the image of God
is revealed in every new generation.
Parenting is a huge task. Parents shoulder the burden of being
the source of life, love, and growth for their children. One of the
elements of childhood is dependency. Dependency defines a child.
Children look to and need parents for all those things they can’t
provide for themselves. Especially in the early years, the parent
takes responsibility for both knowing and giving needed elements
of life to the child. A dependent person (child) and a source person
(parent) are at the core of the parent-child relationship.
If you are reading this book, most likely you willingly chose
the responsibility of becoming a parent. If this isn’t true, you
have certainly still accepted this responsibility. Most parents have
strong values and emotions that influence them to raise kids. For
example, they want to:
Create love with a spouse, which can transfer down to
another generation
Pass on their values to others
Create a warm and caring family context
Have fun with their kids
Contribute something to the world
These are all good reasons for parenting. However, once
you have become a parent, it can be hard to get your head above
water long enough to figure out exactly what you are trying to
accomplish and how you will know when you get there. Parents
need a way to keep in mind the ultimate goal of parenting.
Creating an Adult
Most parents want their children to grow up. In other words,
we define success not by how our children are doing today, but
by what happens after they leave home. Imagine your children
as adults in the following areas of life:
School. They are investing in training for life and career.
Job. They are growing in career life.
Dating. They are choosing people who are mature and
have good values.
Marriage. They have chosen a life’s partner, and they are
working at their marriage.
Friendships. They have a close-knit group of friends who
support them.
Personal values and conduct. They have thought through
what is important to them and live consistently with
good values.
Spiritual life. They are actively involved in a relationship
with God.
All these help define what is a functioning adult. Adults take
on the challenges of life and find their niche. They know what is
important to them, and they focus on those things. They know
their limits, and what they can’t provide for themselves they
are able to get from outside resources.
God designed your child to function independently of you.
This is what is so difficult about parenting: It’

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