Parenting Questions With Dr. Tim Kimmel

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to hit the “easy” button for hard parenting questions? Better yet, if we could call in a parenting “coach” that would step in right in the middle of the current crises in our homes. Sorry, I don’t have access to either one of those.

Instead, I’ll offer you the best I can. Weeks ago I sat down with my friend and author of over 20 parenting books, Dr. Tim Kimmel. Tim has been a speaker at Pine Cove’s family camps for years, and is a highly sought-after expert for all sorts of issues dealing with families. He founded the organization, Family Matters, and regularly speaks at the Raising Truly Great Kids conferences.

As a dad with many young kids, I like to be reading books on parenting. Plus, I’ve counseled many kids over the years that were struggling with finding their footing in life, largely due to the hands-off approach their parents took in raising them. I’d encourage you to think now about your strategy in raising your kids.

Here are the six questions I posed to Tim:

1. What section of scripture most frames your theology of family, or of parenting in general?

Psalm 71:17-18:

O God, from my youth you have taught me,

and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.

So even to old age and gray hairs,

O God, do not forsake me,

until I proclaim your might to another generation,

your power to all those to come.”

These verses remind us that God put a lot of his kingdom agenda into the development of family. My favorite definition of the family comes from the late Pope John Paul. He used to talk about what he called, “The Domestic Church.” He said it was the smallest church out there.We have to be deliberate to create strong families, because I am convinced strong families make strong churches.

2. What do you feel like are some common mistakes well-meaning parents make in bringing up their kids?

I see so many well-intended actions by parents. They love God, love their children, and want to make good decisions. However, the biggest mistake I see coming from parents today is what I call fear-based parenting. Many parents are intimidated by the job. Because they are so afraid of what our culture might do to their kids, they create their parenting strategies and tactics from that.

Fear-based parenting creates problems:

  • Sin management – It is an outside-in way to alter behavior. As parents fix the outside issues with their kids, they hope these changes make their way in to the child.
  • Makes us legalistic.
  • Causes parents to subcontract out the responsibilities to churches and christian schools.

I believe we need to raise our kids the way God raises his children; in grace.

3. You have written many books on parenting. If you were to recommend one or two to parents with young kids, what would it be?

Grace-Based Parenting

Raising Kids for True Greatness

4. Outside of those you have written, which parenting book do you recommend the most? 

The Grace of God – Andy Stanley

5. After writing dozens of parenting books, and being where you are now, if you could go back and do anything differently with your young kids, what would that be?

I wish I would have savored more moments with them. I wish I would have camped out in the backyard with my kids, because there weren’t extension chords long enough for my wife’s beautiful hair products.

6. Ok, you meet a couple that has a few kids, rather young in age. If you felt like they were open to hearing anything from you on the topic of parenting, what would you tell them?

Don’t assume you are inadequate for this job. God wouldn’t hand you kids if he didn’t think he could equip you to raise them effectively. If you think you’re inadequate, you become highly insecure.

Don’t dread any ages of the kids. The two’s are great. Junior high years are fun. Adolescence was really good as well. Don’t approach any season of their life thinking it will be miserable. It doesn’t have to be. Make God’s word a part on your second nature. Don’t make it a compartment that you visit each day. Frame your life by God’s Word. Don’t let the Bible be an ancillary part of your life

Tim has provided a few copies of Grace Based Parenting, Raising Kids for True Greatness, and In Praise of Plan B to give away on this blog.

If you’d like to try to win one of these books, please do these two things:

1. Share this post on Facebook or Twitter.

2. Leave a comment below. Who knows – maybe Tim will stop by and address a question or two.

Later this week, my assistant will pick a few names at random and award you with a copy of one of these books.


  1. BlakeandDianeFord November 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    Thanks for this post Opie! The questions you asked are ones I would have too. My Sunday School class did a study on the book Grace Based Parenting this summer. My husband and I Purchased that book and have enjoyed reading it together. We would love to hear him speak at Pine Cove or attend one of his conferences. We have 1 one Month old daughter!

    • Kevin East November 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

      He is one of our highest rated speakers at PC. His material is really good, and he is an engaging communicator.

  2. Lindsey November 2, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    I think Tim hit the nail on the head with his comment on insecurity within parenting. Even when you’re as far from parenting as I am it’s easy to become entangled in the lies of inadequacy when you think nobody knows yourself better than you, and the thought of potentially raising a child with the flaws and weaknesses you know you have is terrifying. How gracious though is the then following truth that to doubt yourself is ultimately doubting your Lord and His power and ability to use even one such as yourself. It’s encouraging, Kevin, to know the abundance of resources to help you along the way, and humbled couples willing to share their experiences. Thank you for your post!

    • Kevin East November 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

      Lindsey, with what you listed in your comment, I’d say you are primed and ready to be a great parent. Those parents that think they have it all together make me the most nervous. Being aware of our weaknesses, and then boasting in them, leads to His power in and through us.

  3. Joseph Dalton November 2, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    I always wish to be a fly on the wall for these kinds of conversations, so thanks for sharing! I’m currently enjoying Raising Kids for True Greatness and my home group is planning on studying through Grace-Based Parenting sometime soon.

    I find it very encouraging to think that grace-based parenting calls the parents to rely on grace (a.k.a. God’s strength in our weakness) in order to bestow grace upon our children. Tim encourages parents to be the “gold standard” model of a life devoted to Christ so their children can have a tangible example of true greatness.

  4. Sam November 2, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing. As the parent of a 14 year old, we are entering a new phase of parenting. It can be fearful, but we know our God is faithful. We find the road often lonely for us and our daughter, but we know God is truly in control.

  5. Joseph Dalton November 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    It’s great to be a fly on the wall for these kinds of conversations. I am currently enjoying Raising Kids for True Greatness and my home group is planning on studying Grace-Based Parenting soon.

    It is great to be reminded that grace-based parenting doesn’t mean that the kids are the only ones receiving grace. We parents are given extraordinary grace (a.k.a. God’s power in our weakness) in order to extend grace to our children. I love to hear Tim encourage parents to lean on God’s grace to be the “gold standard” modeling lives completely devoted to Christ in order to give our kids tangible, visible, very real examples of true greatness!

    • Kevin East November 3, 2011 at 2:20 am #

      Great point, Joe. Being a parent definitely reminds me I’m not perfect.

  6. Idahomom1 November 2, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    Thanks so much for the suggestions. As a parent as I’ve become less legalistic I enjoy parenting more and enjoy my two girls more two. I still continue to seek him first. Thanks for Grace Based Parenting!!

  7. Cka1018 November 2, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    Best article on parenting that I’ve read in quite some time. I can’t wait to read the books. As a Dad with 2 daughters under the age of 6, I was encouraged simply by reading your post.

    • Kevin East November 3, 2011 at 2:19 am #

      The books are much better. I’m sure he has some messages recorded about Raising Kids for True Greatness. I think hearing him teach on it is the absolute best.

  8. Grimes Joann November 3, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

    Thanks so much for all you do Kevin, with the hectic schedule many of us have it is great to be reminded of our purpose here!

  9. Kevin East November 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    Thank you to everyone who shared this post and commented – we have our winners for the giveaway. I had enough copies to give everyone who commented and left their email address a copy. Please check your email and get back to my assistant with your address. Further comments will no longer count for the giveaway, but please leave your thoughts on the article if you’re getting here a little late. I’d love to hear them!