The Heart of Anger: Practical Help for the Prevention and Cure of Anger in Children
Lou Priolo
Calvery Press
1997

We don’t use a rating system on this blog (yet), but if we did, this parenting book would receive my highest rating. I don’t know about you, but reading a really great, biblically based parenting book helps me “get back in the fight.” I’m not referring to fighting against my children and making them bend to my wishes; no, I’m talking about fighting FOR my children–for their souls, for their training in godliness, for their heart condition. Sometimes this involves conflict between us as parents and our children; it should involve much more, though, and books like Priolo’s Heart of Anger cover that “more.”

So what makes this particular parenting book so great? There are others out there (and I hope to review some of them, too!). But I really appreciate Priolo’s approach and wisdom:

  1. Examine YOUR heart first. Are you provoking your children to anger? (even unwittingly)
  2. Praise and encourage your child. (in addition to discipline–basically, don’t overlook the importance of the positive)
  3. The Gumnaizo Principle (train, train, train–practice makes permanent)
  4. Call a spade a spade: If it’s sin, then label the behavior/attitude/word as sin, not a “phase” or some other nonsense.
  5. KNOW YOUR BIBLE and USE it–just reading this book makes you realize how much more you need to read your Bible. 
  6. Recognize manipulation in your children–you’d be surprised!
  7. Strategies for getting at… you guessed it… the heart of anger.

Priolo does advocate spanking in the right context. I know some parents who don’t believe in spanking. But I know others who err too much on the side of spanking and don’t sprinkle in enough positive. Priolo seems to balance both. I found his approach unstinting in regard to truth, but gentle and affirming at the same time.

Bottom line: This book will challenge you to examine your own heart, to look for opportunities to discern your child’s heart, and to spend more time in the Word.

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