*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest and un-biased review*
A while back I received a copy of Love No Matter What by Brenda Garrison (with insights from her daughter, Katie Garrison).
After going through a tumultuous time with her own daughter, author and speaker, Brenda Garrison, realized that there are right and wrong ways for a parent to deal with their child's rebellion. In response to the exodus of young people leaving the church, Brenda wants to share timely advice about how to "Love your child, no matter what" even "when your kids make decisions you don't agree with." This book follows the natural process a parent goes through as they work from grief to coping with their children's actions and decisions. She includes insights from her own daughter, Katie, as they both reflect on what they've been through.
My thoughts on the book:
I found the book initially interesting because I am approaching the teen years with my own children. Families very close to us have gone through this kind of grief with their own children and each family deals with it in a very different way. I've seen everything from ex-communication to ignoring the problems and empowering the child to continue, and I have seen how much damage a parent can do. I take my role in my children's lives very seriously, and as a result, wanted a fresh perspective.
I must confess that this book struggled to hold my attention. I'm not sure if it is because my children aren't yet in this situation (no urgency on my part) or because the author tends to re-rash the same information over and over, but I really struggled to read this book. I received it in February, and read it off and on over the months. I'd pick it up and push onward, but honestly wouldn't have finished but that I had committed to give my honest opinion. I usually finish a review book in about 4 weeks, I'm not the fastest reader in the world, but 6 months is a length record for me.
I really did appreciate how Brenda points out that we need to get our egos out of the way and instead point our children to Christ. We can't do that if we react in anger and push them away. Keeping the lines of relationship open can be the only way we can show Christ to our children through a difficult time. She touched on the fine line between loving your child and enabling them. Although I will admit some of the examples she gave about her own daughter seemed like enabling to me.
One great asset of the book is the discussion questions at the end of the book for each chapter. I could see this being used as a discussion jumping off point for a parenting support group. In fact, I'd recommend this book in that way very heartily. It would be a wonderful thing to use this book, with Bibles open, as a way to encourage each-other as parents in a group setting.
So, while I don't think that she ever conveyed Biblical truth improperly, I'd say that application in these kinds of situations is really something we need to lean on the Spirit to lead. I could find a little, but not much Biblical ground for her points. She relies heavily on her own experiences. This book could have been more concise, and while I'd recommend the viewpoint to parents who are hurting for their children, I'm not sure I'd call this this book a "must read". Overall, I'd give it 3.5 stars.
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