Focus Publishing produced my booklet, How Not to Raise an Addict, to help parents to raise children that love God. Obviously, parents are not in control of their children’s hearts or their children’s decisions to follow Christ, but they can learn parenting skills that instill a humble, Christ-like mindset rather than an addicted one.
How Not to Raise an Addict was challenging to write because all parents, except for God the Father, are flawed and inadequate without the grace of God. I think this booklet helps parents in three ways:
- Kids are responsible for their choices but parents are responsible for their actions as parents. There are ways parents can either change or strengthen what they do in their parenting regardless of the age of the child.
- It is urgent that parents learn biblical principles for parenting to instill the mind of Christ in their child so that when temptation comes the child will be ready to say “no.” Based upon two passages of Scripture, I examine five mentalities of an addict which are subtle when a child is young but so pervasive in our culture today. One additional note is that each mentality often leads into the subsequent mentality, yet the goal for parents is to instill the mind of Christ in their children.
- There is no guarantee. This is not a book of legalistic to-do lists but rather a booklet to reflect upon mentalities that either need to be discouraged or encouraged in parenting.
Portions of this booklet were excerpted from my larger book, Addiction-Proof Parenting, released in 2010 in English and in 2013 in Korean. The larger book offers general parenting strategies and a fuller look at the mind of an addict versus the mind of Christ. God’s Word offers us incredible insights into parenting in ways that are loving, full of truth, and full of grace.
This book can be used in several ways:
- Counselors can assign it as homework for counselees to reflect upon their attitudes in parenting, examining where they can improve as well as what they are doing well.
- Pastors and church lay leaders can lead a short, six-week class on parenting using this booklet. Each of the five mentalities could be discussed weekly with either an opening week of teaching or a closing week. Six weeks is a good time frame for a parenting class.
- Those who counsel and work in the addiction field will gain valuable insights about the nature of addictive thinking and how it can be instilled not only by parents but by other authority figures.
- Anyone can read the booklet and glean parenting insights or even in general, how a Christ-follower can learn to think more like Christ. It could benefit any reader.
God’s sufficient Word has much to offer us in the realm of everyday problems. My hope is that parents will be helped and encouraged by this booklet even though it may be convicting at times. Conviction for the believer is good because it provides an opportunity to grow spiritually for the ultimate goal of glorifying God.
Mark E. Shaw (D.Min., CADAC II) is the Founder of Truth in Love Ministries and currently serves as the Vice President of Ministries at The NewDay Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Author of 20 publications, he is a graduate of Birmingham Theological Seminary and a certified counselor with ACBC, IABC, and ICAADA, with a strong passion to glorify God through producing disciple-makers in the arena of biblical counseling.