QUICK HIT: Michelle Anthony’s Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family categorizes six common dysfunctional parenting styles and teaches readers how to break about them to become healthy and whole.
I work with children. I’m a youth pastor that focuses on high schoolers and a gymnastics instructor that primary focuses on preschool through middle schoolers. I’ve seen a lot of great families and I’ve seen a lot of dysfunctional families. And as I read through Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family, I found myself relating my own personal anecdotes of each dysfunctional parenting style about kids I knew to myself.
Family is important to me. Kids are important to me. Parenting is important to me. So this book was also important to me. I don’t think that Anthony ever said anything that surprised me, but the format of the book and the strict delineation of six dysfunctional styles really helped me categorize my own thinking on the subject.
The six dysfunctions are:
- The Double-Minded Parent
- The I-Can’t-Say-No Parent
- The Driver Parent
- The Micro-Managing Parent
- The Criticizing Parent
- The Absentee Parent
Each chapter runs about twenty pages and carefully delineates each dysfunction, their source (dysfunction is usually rooted in good intentions), and ways to solve them. Above all, Anthony offers grace for those parents who fall short. This is not a book that judges your parents; it’s a book that asks you to take a look at six common parenting errors and lovingly asks you to objective evaluate yourself to see where you fit in.
Careful not to just dwell on the negatives, Anthony then offers practical tips for the positives. How do you build a spiritually healthy family? One of the biggest ideas in the book is to craft a family mission statement that serves as an on-paper on-purpose spiritual direction for the family. It’s a great way to build intentionality into your family and use the family unit as a tool to help others and grow individuals. Remember, God created the family before he created the church. Family is important and we must take care not to treat it lightly.