Preventing the Heartaches is a nonfiction book of advice on courtship, marriage, and parenting from a biblical perspective. Although the first two chapters cover dating and marriage and the back cover text states that the book answers relationship questions, the primary focus is parenting.
Author Shirley Ward tells parents to “be there” for your children by “looking for the best in your children, listening to them, loving them, praying for and over them, supporting them emotionally and spiritually, establishing boundaries, and helping them to see their strengths and value.”
Ward advocates positive parent-child relationships that preserve the parental role while also encouraging children to grow into the persons God created them to be. Her parenting chapters cover the topics of nurturing spiritual and physical fitness, dealing with wrongdoing, handling media influences, and teaching manners. Ward also includes family activities, lists of suggestions for parents, and family inventories and charts.
The back cover claims that Ward has collected “main concepts from several Christian authors (as well as her own)” and “put them together under one title.” The bibliography lists 19 resources, but unfortunately, Ward doesn’t cite any sources within her chapters. Readers can’t tell what material is original and what is borrowed. (For example, two surveys are included. “‘Family Pace” sorts families into “Carriage,” “Steam-Engine,” and “F-16” lifestyles; “Passions Chart,” is a family-interest checklist. A web search finds these charts in a book by John Trent, Rick Osborne, and Kurt Bruner. The book is in the bibliography, but Ward doesn’t attribute the charts to that source. This is a problem for readers who want to explore specific concepts by seeking the source documents, as well as being disconcerting for those authors whose material may be included.
Readers looking for the general relationship answers implied on the cover will likely be disappointed in this book. But parents willing to overlook the source issues are likely to find helpful advice in these pages.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.