Tuesday, September 17, 2019

"Parenting Forward": A Book About Valuing Children For Who They Are

Book cover for "Parenting Forward." Image source.
For my ex-evangelical readers, I very much recommend this book: Parenting Forward: How to Raise Children with Justice, Mercy, and Kindness by Cindy Wang Brandt. 

In this book, Brandt presents a progressive view on parenting, which is refreshingly different from most other parenting advice I've heard. It's about respecting that children are already full human beings whose thoughts and feelings have value. Children already have something to contribute to society- it's not like we should only start taking them seriously when they're "mature" enough. It's not like we teach them all the correct beliefs first, and then after that we value their opinions.

In this parenting philosophy, children are given the space to develop themselves. Parents value their children's unique creativity and individuality, instead of trying to teach them what they're "supposed" to be like. We let them experience the world and form their own opinions, instead of presenting them with the "correct" beliefs they're "supposed" to have.

The book focuses on social justice, with chapters about racism, sexism, caring for the environment, and so on. Brandt gives examples of how children experience these societal problems, and how parents can talk to their children in age-appropriate ways.

This is a good book for ex-evangelicals- and not just for those of you who are parents. When I was reading it, I wasn't thinking in terms of "this is how I will raise my children" but "I wish I had learned to value my own emotions in this way when I was a child." Personally, I have sort of picked up some of these ideas from various blog posts here and there, but I find it very useful to have the whole thing laid out in a book.

The chapters are short and easy to read. Brandt includes examples from her own childhood, from her experiences raising her two children, and from recent events we've read about in the news over the past few years and how children have been affected by them.

Overall, "Parenting Forward" gives a very good overview of a parenting philosophy which values children for who they are, instead of trying to control them and make them hold the same beliefs as their parents. I love how healthy it is.


In the 2019 Reader Survey, one of the most highly-voted topics was "being ex-evangelical." Hence this post. :)

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