Monica Portogallo reviews Greg and Lisa Popcak's updated parenting book, which encourages a grace-filled parenting experience supported by science and Catholic tradition.
Nearly eight years ago, when I was expecting my first child, I sat on a beach in Mexico and read Parenting with Grace by Greg and Lisa Popcak. It was the first parenting book I ever read, and one of the most helpful. Their description of attachment parenting rang true for me. As someone who waited for a long time for God to give me my first child, the idea of treating my child as a gift to be loved and gently guided, rather than a force to be conquered (a common theme in other parenting books), made a lot of sense. So far, it has worked well with my first child.
Now that I am expecting my second child after an even longer wait than I had for my first, I jumped at the chance to read and review the new, and I would argue improved, version of the book I read several years ago: Parenting Your Kids with Grace: Birth to Age 10.
One of the revisions I appreciated the most was the emphasis at the beginning of the book not to become scrupulous about parenting the “right way” and not to grudgingly engage in Attachment Parenting, or what the authors describe as Discipleship Parenting. Too often, there is both societal and internal pressure for parents to be perfect, and addressing that right at the beginning is so important, especially for new parents and those prone to scrupulosity.
Another improvement that struck me was the greater emphasis on the rich Catholic tradition that supports Discipleship Parenting, in addition to the science. Throughout the book, the authors quote the Catechism, the work and writings of saints like St. John Bosco, and Pope Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. The Popcaks make quite a compelling argument that Discipleship Parenting is truly a Catholic way to parent.
While this book does a lot of things well, I did find the self-promotion in it a little excessive. There were frequent recommendations to “see our other book, XYZ, for more information on this topic,” and they rarely recommended books by other authors. Granted, the recommendations were related to the topics at hand, but I found it a little distracting.
Nevertheless, I highly recommend this book for any parent who is looking for ideas for how to have a more grace-filled parenting experience that is supported by both science and the Catholic tradition.
Copyright 2021 Monica Portogallo
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About the Author
Monica Portogallo is a wife, mother, and registered dietitian nutritionist who does her best not to miss the lessons God sends to her through the joys and struggles of daily life. She lives in California.