Note: A free copy of this book was sent to me by Baker Book Bloggers for purposes of review.
Growing With: Every Parent’s Guide to Helping Teenagers and Young Adults Thrive in Their Faith, Family, and Future is a helpful book for Christian parents. Based on their research, both teach at Fuller Seminary in the area of youth ministry, and their experience as parents, they write to help families be healthy together.
Powell and Argue introduce what they call “Growing With parenting,” which they define as “a mutual journey of intentional growth for both ourselves and our children that trusts God to transform us all.” To this end, they create some new words to talk about distinct areas of parenting. “Withing” refers to “a family’s growth in supporting each other as children grow more independent.” “Faithing” refers to parents and children intentionally engaging with and developing their relationship with God together. Their third term, “adulting,” is in more common use and refers to equipping children to make the transition from dependence not only to independence, but also to interdependence. In their chapters they deal with each of these three elements in relation to three stages of maturation. They call these stages “learner” (childhood), “explorer” (teenagers), and “focuser” (young adults), showing how each stage differs and builds upon what has gone before.
One thing I appreciated about the book was that they mentioned the presence of disabled children at a couple of places. Our own oldest child is disabled, now an adult still living in our home and dependent on our care. Most books on parenting that I’ve read in the past don’t even acknowledge the presence of disabled children. Furthermore, their research led them to recognize differences among racial and ethnic parenting and family styles (very broadly conceived). In both these cases the book mostly just points at these differences and doesn’t develop material to help parents who are not middle class white people with “normal” children.
This book would be of primary value to parents dedicated to raising Christian children and open to a non-authoritarian style. Powell and Argue assume that parents have as much learning and adapting to do as children, so parents who are convinced they know all they need to know and are committed to acting as if the parent is always right will be frustrated by their advice. Style-wise, the book would work well for a parent’s class or discussion group.