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Help for Parents of Teens: Growing With Book Review


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Help for Parents of Teens & Young Adults

With extra time together at home, you likely need some parenting encouragement for interacting with your teen and young adult kids.

Pastor David Salazar would like to share with you a helpful book review of "Growing With: Every Parent’s Guide to Helping Teenagers and Young Adults Thrive in their Faith, Family, and Future" by Kara Powell and Steven Argue.


The Fuller Youth Institute contributes another excellent resource for parents and those who work with young people.  Growing With parenting is defined as “a mutual journey of intentional growth for both ourselves and our churches that trust God to transform us all” (17).  Dr. Powell and Dr. Argue provide fresh research and thinking in a clear and easy to understand manner.

The book presents three components to describe Growing With parenting as a process that “isn’t about meeting your kid halfway… but more about being all-in” (44).  These three words become verbs so that parents can make it the new active norm in their journey with their children: Withing, Faithing and Adulting.

Withing is the growth that happens as families support one another as the children grow more independent (37).

Faithing is “a child’s growth in owning and embodying their own journey with God as they encounter new experiences and information” (39).

Adulting is the “child’s growth in agency as they embrace opportunities to shape the world around them” (42).

The authors present a path that incorporates these verbs into the parent-child relationship.

  • Teens (ages 13-18) are at a learner stage and parents are most helpful as teachers through “learning-centered teaching,” not through commands and order;
  • Explorers (ages 18-23) who have to sort through many options in life, are best aided by parents who serve as guides shifting “away from setting goals for [their] kids and toward guiding them on the journey of setting their own goals" (61);
  • Lastly focusers (ages 23-29), have decided on general life paths. Now, they are concentrate in having a clearer focus on careers, intentional relationships and their own beliefs. Growing With parents shift their role to connect with them as resourcers during critical point of their lives to share their own experiences.

One crucial point for parents who wish to grow with their teenagers and emerging adults is that they will recognize that a “relationship with God is bigger than [Sabbath] and that not everyone sees God the way they do. They now grasp that belief isn’t simple and that doubts are real” (53).  But, the book stresses the reminder that it is not doubt that is toxic to faith; rather silence is (146).

Growing With is a great tool but does have, in my view, a major shortcoming.  Each chapter concludes with questions that are good to reflect and especially helpful if one writes in one’s thoughts, yet practical examples are limited and examples that are used tend to be quite vague (chs. 3 and 5 are exceptions).  Context is important and that maybe a reason why the book hesitates to use more narrowed example, allowing parents to adapt as they see fit; though it’s nice to see or read of examples that show what is possible.

This book is a worthy contribution to be added to a Christian parents’ library.


Ready to add this book from Fuller Youth Institute to your library?

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Pastor David Salazar is Youth Ministries director for Washington Conference. He is working on a doctoral of ministry degree in intergenerational ministry.