Parenting Is Hard and Then You Die: A Fun but Honest Look at Raising Kids of All Ages Right

Parenting Is Hard and Then You Die: A Fun but Honest Look at Raising Kids of All Ages Right


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Parenting Is Hard and Then You Die provides a biblical and comprehensive strategy for raising healthy kids in a world that is morally bankrupt, spiritually desolate, and increasingly dangerous. That strategy is clear and specific, rooted in the Bible, proved successful, and communicated in a fun, entertaining way.

Dr. David Clarke has written many books on family. This book stands out for all of the following:
  • Extremely practical
  • Clarke's trademark humor
  • Gives good attention to the teen years
  • Strategies tested in his own home and by counseling clients

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781589979765
Publisher: Focus on the Family
Publication date: 07/09/2019
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 134,630
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Dr. David Clarke is a psychologist, speaker, author, and father of four. He's a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and Western Conservative Baptist Seminary and maintains a private counseling practice.

Read an Excerpt



Do not ever sell a house. Do not buy a house. I'm serious. If you live in a pup tent next to a nuclear waste dump, stay there. It will be easier and better for your health than selling your house and buying a new one.

If you have ever sold a house and bought another one, you know what I'm talking about. "Living nightmare" doesn't even come close to describing the process.

My lovely blonde wife, Sandy, and I spent the last seven months selling our home of thirty-one years and purchasing another home. We're still in recovery.

Throwing out all the useless stuff we'd accumulated over three decades was exhausting. And a little embarrassing. Getting our house ready to sell was expensive. Keeping it cleaned and staged for showings was incredibly annoying. Searching and searching and searching for a new house was unbelievably frustrating. Packing up all the things we were taking was a brutal, never-ending job. I have decided to invest heavily in cardboard box manufacturers.

But the worst part of the miserable experience was dealing with the bank that finally ... finally ... finally decided to give us a mortgage loan.

I thought torture was illegal. It's not. Our wonderful bank forced us to reveal every penny we made and every penny we spent in our thirty-five-year marriage. Entire forests were cut down to provide the thousands of forms we signed. More forests were cut down to replace the signed forms that our bank misplaced. After inflicting the maximum amount of pain and suffering possible, our bank — two days before our closing — approved the loan.

As you can see, I could go on and on. I'll end with the two things I told Sandy as we drove away from our closing. First, I apologized for making fun of persons who need an emotional support animal. I get it now. I need at least three emotional support animals.

Second, and most important, I made it clear that I will die in our new home. Emergency responders or funeral home employees — I don't care which — will carry me out in a bag. Because ... I'm never selling this house.

I feel better after my real estate rant. It's good to get the feelings out. But the real point of my sad story is that you can't sell a house and buy another house on your own. It takes a team to get it all done. I had Sandy. I had our four adult kids. I had my parents. I had Bob and Pam Johns, our best friends. I had Liz Menendez, our wonderful Realtor. And I had God, who got us through every twist and turn of the experience.

It Takes a Team to Parent

Just as you shouldn't sell or buy a home on your own (while you can, it's not advisable), you can't be a successful parent on your own. Parenting is too hard. Too stressful. Too demanding. Too complicated. It's too much of everything to tackle without a team.

In this chapter and the next, I will introduce you to your winning Parenting Team. This team will give you the spiritual, emotional, and practical help you need to get the parenting job done right.

Without God, Forget About It

Your most important team member is God. There's no question about it. I can't even imagine attempting to raise children without God's help. Sandy and I barely made it through parenting four kids with His help.

To be a successful parent, you must have these qualities: Love. Respect.

Kindness. Compassion. Patience. Wisdom. Forgiveness. Insight. Intuition. Emotional strength. The ability to listen. Communication skills. Self-control. (A lot of self-control.) Understanding. Boundaries. Tolerance. Organization. Acceptance of rejection. Unselfishness. Generosity. The ability to speak the truth in love. Grace.

And this isn't a complete list!

Do you possess all these qualities? Of course not. I don't. Sandy doesn't. No one does.

Who does? God does. When you have a relationship with God, you have full access to Him and to all these qualities. God will give you these qualities and, by doing so, give you all you need to be the best parent possible.

You raising your kids in your own power won't work. It's simply impossible. God raising your kids through you will work.

To Know God, You Have to Know Jesus

Becoming a Christian is all about Jesus.

There is one God, and He is the God of the Bible. There is one way to establish a relationship with God, and that is through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Here is Jesus Christ, in His own words: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).

A Christian is someone who has a personal relationship with God through Jesus. God sent Jesus to die for your sins — all the things you've done wrong — to provide forgiveness, so that you can have a relationship with God. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

This is what you must believe to become a Christian: "That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

When you believe these truths — Jesus died for your sins, He was buried, He rose from the dead — and ask Jesus to be your Savior, you become a Christian. You have a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. You are forgiven!

You now have the power to improve your personal life. You have the power to parent. And, best of all, you're going to heaven when you die.

You Can Become a Christian — Right Now

If you are not a Christian yet, I urge you to become one. You can begin your relationship with God through Jesus right now by expressing your feelings and your decision by the words in this brief prayer:

Dear God, I know I am a sinner. I've made many mistakes and sinned in my life. I realize my sin separates me from You, a holy God. I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins, was buried, and rose from the dead. I place my trust in Him as my Savior. I give my life to You now.

If you prayed this prayer of belief, I am very happy for you. If you're not ready to begin a relationship with God, that's okay. What I want you to do is read the rest of this book. By the end, I think you'll see how impossible it is to raise a healthy child in your own strength. When you realize this sobering truth, I hope and pray you'll become a Christian.

Once You're a Christian, You Must Grow Spiritually

To know God through Jesus Christ is vitally important. To grow in your relationship with God is equally important. To maintain a steady supply of His power for your parenting (and all you do in life), you must stay close to Him.

A Daily Individual Quiet Time with God

To grow in your relationship with God the Father, you must spend regular time with Him. Every day invest fifteen minutes or more with God. Virtually all of your personal spiritual intimacy will occur in your daily individual times with Him.

Your quiet time with God can be at any time of the day. In a private, no-distractions-allowed quiet place, meet with God.

I want you to do three things in each quiet time.

First, begin by reading a daily devotion. This is a brief spiritual message, usually tied to a Bible passage, that helps you focus on God and spiritual things. It acts like a spiritual cup of hot chocolate: It gets your soul warmed up. There are many excellent daily devotionals, both online and hold-in-your-hands book form. Check with your pastor or Focus on the Family to find one.

Second, pray. Praying is talking with God. I say "with" because you talk to God and God speaks to you through what He has given us — the Bible. He also speaks when you sit in silence, meditate, and listen. Open up and share everything with Him: what's going on in your life, the good things He's given you, your struggles and anxieties, your fears, failures, sins, spiritual insights, spiritual doubts ... Always take time to worship and adore Him for who He is. Never, ever, forget to thank Him for all He has done. End with your requests for Him to meet your needs and the needs of others.

Finally, read the Bible. The Bible is, quite literally, God's Word. When you read Scripture, God is talking to you: comforting, admonishing, convicting, encouraging, and teaching you. Read a short passage — a verse or several verses — and meditate on it for a few minutes. Consider how you can apply what you read to your life that very day.

While God is your most important Parenting Team member, He is not the only one. In the next chapter I'll introduce you to your other team members.


1. Talk about a horrible, awful, very bad, painful experience (like selling a house and buying another one) you have suffered through in the past. Who helped you survive and move ahead?

2. Do you have a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus? If not, what is keeping you from beginning this relationship right now?

3. If you're not ready to begin a relationship with God, will you keep an open mind about God until you finish this book?

4. If you are a Christian, how strong and close is your relationship with God? If you're struggling in this relationship, why? Are you willing to follow my quiet time actions to grow spiritually?


Excerpted from "Parenting Is Hard and Then You Die"
by .
Copyright © 2019 David E. Clarke.
Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Gifts from God-or Instruments of Slow Torture? xi

Part 1 Foundation

1 Your Supernatural Team Member 3

2 Your Human Team Members 9

3 Classic Mistakes Married Parents Make 17

4 More Classic Mistakes Married Parents Make 23

5 Make Your Spouse Number One! 31

6 How to Be Happily Married … with Kids 39

7 Single Parenting: Tougher than Elephant Training 47

Part 2 Needs

8 It's All About the Relationship 55

9 "Please Love Me" 61

10 "Please Respect Me" 69

11 "Please Respect Me," Part Two 77

12 "Please Help Me Be Competent" 83

13 "Please Help Me Grow in Christ" 91

14 "Please Let Me Go" 99

Part 3 Discipline

15 Discipline That Works 113

16 Consequences for Younger Kids 121

17 Consequences for Older Kids 131

18 More Consequences for Older Kids 137

19 Even More Consequences for Older Kids 143

20 Rewards Must Be Earned 151

Part 4 Teens

21 "Help Me with My Physical Changes" 163

22 "Help Me with My Sexual Changes" 173

23 "Help Me with My Emotional Changes" 179

24 "Help Me with My Intellectual Changes" 187

25 "Help Me with My Spiritual Changes" 195

26 "Help Me with My Social Changes" 205

27 Technology and Your Teen 217

Part 5 Blended Families

28 Living in a Blender 225

29 Living in a Blender, Part Two 237

30 Living in a Blender, Part Three 245

31 You Lose, Crazy World! 251

Additional Resources 253

About the Authors 255

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