Love And Respect In The Family: The Respect Parents Desire, The Love Children Need, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Booksneeze/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.]
Unlike a friend of mine who reviewed this book , I have not read any other books in the Love & Respect series before, so I cannot provide an explanation of how this book presents within the larger context of the author’s work. It should be noted, though, that this book does fit within a context of general parenting books for believers from a Christian perspective  in its navigation of a very difficult set of constraints in seeking to provide comfort and encouragement for parents struggling with perfectionistic tendencies as well as a spur towards correcting some difficult mistakes that are hindering parenting success, between conveying an understanding and appreciation of God’s unmerited grace as well as the reality of God’s judgment, between a theoretical discussion of love and respect and how it relates to generational and gender politics as well as practical instruction and checklists for parents wishing to raise children in a godly fashion. For the most part, this book manages to navigate that set of constraints successfully.
Let us make no mistake, this is a book directed at parents. Although both parents and children are vitally interested in the issue of parenting, this is a book that really focuses on parents and their issues and responsibilities and looks at children from the point of view of an outsider. That is not to say that the author does not speak a lot about his own (unpleasant) childhood, mainly that neither children, teenagers, nor adult ‘children’ without their own families are the intended audience for this book. Instead, this is a book that is focused on parents who wish to become better parents from a Christian perspective. Others, of course, will be able to draw insights from this book, but it is not written for those who are not (yet) parents themselves.
This book is divided into three parts. The first part deals with the “family crazy cycle” where children act disrespectful in parents because parents lack love for their children, and vice versa. This particular section looks at parents exasperated by the lack of respect their children have (along with their unrealistic expectations of those children) along with the need to decode what is really going on in difficult situations and to defuse the difficulties that result. The second section of the book examines the “family energizing cycle,” which focuses mostly on what parents are supposed to do in balance: give, understand, instruct, discipline, encourage, and supplicate (pray). There are also chapters in this section on the need for parents to work together as a team in parenting and some advice on the differences between the most vital needs of boys (respect) and girls (love) from their parents. The third section looks at the “family rewarded cycle” and tells the reader why to parent God’s way (because ultimately God is our judge), about unconditional love because God loves us unconditionally but does not trust us unconditionally, and the “outcomes trap” that is difficult at times to distinguish from the fruits that we should be looking for, concluding with a chapter on the legacy that we leave as parents through our example and two appendices looking at goals and checklists for applying the principles of love and respect within the family. Those readers who are parents or are looking to be good parents in the future will find much to appreciate here, even if the book is a bit repetitive and insistent about its aims.
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