In something of an amusing mashup of blast-from-the-past and very timely post, kind Aunt and Uncle sent me a copy of this little book when our daughter was born. They were well aware that Ann Benton is married to John, my old pastor, and that she and John helped Amy and I with some marriage prep, as well as him preaching at our wedding. Aren’t They Lovely When They’re Asleep? has been on bookshelves of my family home since I can remember, and so it was a rather surreal experience reading it as a parent. But I’m very glad I did.
Weighing in around 120 pages, this collection of ‘Lessons in unsentimental parenting’ is a helpful primer on loving your children well. It is thoroughgoingly biblical – though not afraid to explain what that means, and to challenge some stereotypes, and deeply practical. As well as a high doctrine of sin (even newborns can be a right pain!) there is a high doctrine of grace, for both parent and child, and this makes this little book very easy to recommend.
It is worth noting that there is a section on corporal punishment that may not be to everyone’s liking. This is something Amy and I will likely not be doing, and I know that some people have concerns. However, this doesn’t overall detract from what is a very helpful and readable (I read it in a rare hour of sunshine in the garden whilst my firstborn slept on my lap, likely disturbed by pencil marks and hurrumphs of agreement) little book on parenting. With the aforementioned caveat, I’d recommend it widely, though for giving to non-Christian friends and family, perhaps Anne Calver’s recent Baby Change: Navigating the Mess might be a safer bet. Regardless, this little book (First published in 2003 and reprinted multiple times!) is a solid and simple introduction to a potentially overwhelming area of life.