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

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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 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.

Read Chapter 1



Foreword by Paul David Tripp

Part 1: The Vision

  1. Parenting Is an Invitation
  2. The Invitation Is Embedded in Your Conversations
  3. How Jesus Talks to Estranged Friends
  4. Extended Story: Sacred Space
  5. You Talk with No Guarantee
  6. You Speak out of the Grace You’ve Already Heard
  7. Extended Story: “Get in the Van”
  8. Your Kids Need You to Talk to Them . . . a Lot
  9. Extended Story: Nanny’s Funeral

Part 2: The Hope

  1. Sometimes You Don’t Want to Talk
  2. Abraham Misspeaks for God
  3. God Speaks for Abraham
  4. Jesus Speaks for You
  5. You Take Words to God
  6. Practice Repenting for Misusing Your Mouth
  7. You Hear Words from God
  8. You Take Words to Your Kids
  9. Speaking Truth and Love

Part 3: The Skill of Encouragement

  1. When Should You Encourage?
  2. Encouragement Takes Time
  3. Replace the Negatives at Home and Abroad
  4. Search for the Positive in Seed Form
  5. Be Encouraged When You’re Tired of Encouraging

Part 4: The Skill of Honesty

  1. The Goal of Honesty: Rescue
  2. Think Before You Speak
  3. Be a Mirror That Invites Participation
  4. Aim for the Heart
  5. Lead with Your Worst Foot Forward
  6. Build Bridges with Your Failures
  7. Expect Your Kids to Make Mistakes
  8. Extended Story: Catching a Line-Drive . . . or Not
  9. Why You Really Do Want a Forgiving Lifestyle

Afterword: You’re a Megaphone
General Index
Scripture Index


William P. Smith (PhD, Rutgers University; MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary) is a pastor, author, and retreat speaker who has served several churches, been a faculty member of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation, and taught practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. He is the author of Loving Well (Even If You Haven't Been) and numerous other books and booklets.



“This book immediately affected the way I had conversations with my grandchildren about some teachable moments in their lives. Smith brings together Scripture and illustrations in a way that makes you want to do better in those conversations, and helps you know how to do it.”  -Ed Welch, Faculty and Counselor, Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation


“If you’re like me, you might have read the title of this book, Parenting with Words of Grace, and felt the need to stifle a moan. Oh, no . . . here comes the guilt! Please don’t make that assumption. Like its title, this book is filled with words of grace: grace to you as a parent and grace to you as a child of the only Father who knows what it is to always speak with words of grace. It’s full of deeply satisfying encouragement for your soul and is written in a winsome and honest way. You’ll be glad you read it. You really will.”  -Elyse Fitzpatrick, author, Give Them Grace


“A rich resource loaded with scriptural insight. Bible lovers will relish Smith’s use and application of Scripture. Parents will be comforted that they are not alone in some of their struggles and given helpful instructions on how to be good parents.”  -Ajith Fernando, Teaching Director, Youth for Christ, Sri Lanka; author, Discipling in a Multicultural World