Love and Respect in the Family
by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Love and Respect in the Family is the most recent contribution by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs on how to build strong, Christian families. I first read his book, Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs, years ago and liked that he built the essential premise of the book on Ephesians 5. In this new parenting book, he argues that parents desire respect from their children and their kids really want unconditional love. It’s when either of those needs are unmet (or perceived as unmet) that conflict sparks sending us on what he terms the “Family Crazy Cycle.”
I liked that he includes contributions from his kids in this book and shares openly, vulnerably and honestly about both parenting successes and failures. He’s not suggesting at all that he and his wife parented perfectly or always got things right. Yet, their experience as parents helped them learn some of the concepts and techniques he shared in this book.
The basic idea seems sounds also. Parents can benefit greatly from taking a deep breath, evaluating the situation and deciding whether their kids are really intentionally being disrespectful or just being irresponsible or forgetful or whatever the case might be, and reacting appropriately. And, the truth is that no matter what our kids do, we should love them and show them love in a way that they feel and understand.
After reading the book, though, I’m not entirely convinced that it adequately covers how to earn/engage/expect your kids to respect you. There was a lot of emphasis on parental love, not so much on establishing respect. And, while it may work perfectly for many families, my personal preference isn’t to use catch phrases like “we’re on the crazy cycle” to work on communication in relationships. Nor do I want to look at my husband and say, “I’m being ‘pink’ here; help me understand how you see things as ‘blue.’ But, as I said, that might be exactly what some families need to do. It’s just not my thing.
I find myself also less convinced of the Spiritual connection between love and respect in parent-child relationships. In his book on marriage, Dr. Eggerichs can point to one passage in Scripture to see what God says about the love and respect dynamic. For parenting, though, he takes that same principle and extracts it to various Scriptures and situations. Is it essentially true that kids need love and parents should receive respect? Absolutely! It’s just that the book feels to me like a stretching a principle to fit a different situation than originally intended—kind of like what would happen if I tried to wear my nine-year-old daughter’s sweater, not quite the best fit.
All in all, this could be a great parenting book for you and your family. It’s not my most favorite, perhaps, and it didn’t exactly revolutionize or rock my parenting world, but it might do that for you, especially if you find yourself spinning through the same cycles of conflict over and over and over again. If you’re looking for a way to improve communication with your kids, maybe even primarily with a tween or teen, this might give you the insights and tips you’re looking for.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”