Book Review 13: “Reset for Parents: How to Keep Your Kids from Backsliding” by Todd Friel

***DISCLAIMER***I am not a parent; I simply read the book because its author, Todd Friel, previously wrote an awesome book called Judge Not (see my review of it here). I anticipated this book would also be a good one (SPOILER ALERT: it is).

A book with a title that states its purpose, Todd Friel, the engine behind Wretched Radio, writes Reset For Parents: How To Keep Your Kids From Backsliding. In the book’s introduction, Friel explains the necessity for a parenting reset (p. 10). He also explains what the book is and what it is not (pp. 10-11). What follows are twenty chapters and an appendix that give groundwork for this reset.

THE CHAPTERS

With the exception of chapter 20 (a chapter that essentially summarizes the questions asked in the first 19 chapters), each chapter’s title is essentially a command for the parents (i.e., stop disciplining and start discipling, don’t lose your balance, act like a good shepherd, put armor on your children, etc.). Furthermore, each chapter concludes with a “reset.” These “resets” function as a moral for the chapter. For example, for chapter 3 (which is titled “Have Your Children Submit to the Right Authority”), the reset is, “Even if your children obey you, but do not submit to God, you have accomplished very little” (p. 42). These resets are effective because they both summarize the chapter nicely and give the parent (or reader) good instructions.

In each chapter, Friel gives clear, excellent, relevant and biblically-supported information that both helps best execute the chapter title (bear in mind these titles are commands) and keeps the children’s “walking in the truth” as the focus. Friel does not really state anything that is refutable with the exception of one thing in chapter four. Near the beginning of this chapter, Friel states, “When a child is born, he/she is an innocent. Because your children cannot knowingly and willfully rebel against God at a young age, no sin is credited to their accounts” (p. 43). While he is right about that in the sense that God is merciful to infants and young children (Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 7:16; see also this post that discusses God’s mercy), to say that children are born innocent is inaccurate. David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), realized he was conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5; see also Ephesians 2:3). To be conceived in sin is not to be born innocent as Friel claims. Because God’s Word is without error, David was not mistaken when he made that statement (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6; Titus 1:2; Isaiah 40:8).

The book concludes with an Appendix titled “Submit to Me vs. Submit to God Scenarios.” These are basically seven “mini-sermons” that compare and contrast how parents would get kids to submit to them as opposed to how these parents would get kids to submit to God (pp. 187-190). These “submission to God” approaches are outstanding given they have biblical support instead of man’s mere opinion. Furthermore, Friel explains these in a way that is very easily understandable.

Aside from Friel’s statement about children being born innocent, this book is absolutely solid. While it may be limited in its effectiveness for those who are not parents (like myself), some of the practical things Friel gives can allow those who lead youth groups to reconsider how they interact with students. The way Friel explains everything in this book is also simple to understand. Without a doubt, this book is a must-have for the Christian.

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