Whether their children are tots, teens, or young adults, parents are always on duty—and often on edge. Religion and spirituality publishing houses have help on the way, with new and forthcoming books aimed at bolstering parents’ faith in God—and in themselves—as they deal with changes and obstacles they didn’t see coming.

Acknowledging the challenges that come with parenting, Webster Younce, v-p and publisher for Zondervan Books, says, “Parents are seeking resources to calm anxiety around their children’s future.” He points to a need for titles that inspire parents “to lead with their faith first.”

Social media is bringing an onslaught of challenges to parents, according to Brad Lyons, president and publisher at Chalice Press. “Our kids are inundated more than ever with conflicting messages about how to make good decisions,” he says, pointing to the unpredictable and sometimes dangerous reach that every viewpoint and conflict can have online, making social media “an unseen but certainly felt force that parents have never faced before.” He adds, “It completely changes the parenting game.”

Tyndale Momentum publisher Sarah Atkinson says, “In a world absolutely saturated with options, competing voices, and conflicting messages, parents are going back to the root of it all: How do I cut through the noise and focus on what really matters most? How might that look different for me versus my neighbor? How do I do the one thing that matters most—ground my family in a relationship with God?”

Jillian Banfield, a mother of three and a military wife with frequent moves, speaks from experience in her book, The Gift of the Unexpected: Discovering Who You Were Meant to Be When Life Goes Off Plan (Bethany, Mar. 2023). Her second child, who has Down syndrome, underwent open-heart surgery at four months old, and her third child underwent surgeries for multiple medical issues. She has openly shared all these experiences on social media, in free e-books she offers on parenting children with disabilities, and in The Gift. All her works center on gratitude for God, who never leaves and who “makes everything beautiful in its time,” she writes.

At Herald Press, Melanie Spring Mock’s Finding Our Way Forward: When the Children We Love Become Adults (Feb. 2023) draws on the Bible, social science research, and personal experiences to advise young adults learning to navigate independence and their parents, who grew up in very different times. Also coming from Herald, trauma therapist Jenn Hook and her husband, psychologist Joshua Hook, take a faith-based approach in Thriving Families: A Trauma-Informed Guidebook for the Adoptive and Foster Journey (Mar. 2023). It is aimed at parents dealing with psychological, emotional, and behavioral difficulties their children may have experienced in the past, according to the publisher.

In Blessed Youth: Breaking the Silence About Mental Health with Children and Teens (Chalice, out now), pastor and mental health advocate Sarah Griffith Lung shares stories of mental health challenges in the lives of children and youth while presenting age-appropriate discussions to have with young people about warning signs as well as how to get help for themselves and friends. The publisher says the book reminds readers that “we are never alone in our journey through tough times.”

Embracing uncertainty

Whether one’s family includes children by birth, adoption, or fostering, the curve balls keep on coming, says Jillana Goble, whose family has grown all three ways. Her memoir, A Love-Stretched Life: Stories on Wrangling Hope, Embracing the Unexpected, and Discovering the Meaning of Family (Tyndale, June), recounts how faith and hope can carry one through uncountable sleepless nights to celebrate the not-so-small victories of love.

Signals: How Brain Science and the Bible Help Parents Raise Resilient Children by Cherilyn Orr (Focus on the Family, out now) couples neuroscience and scripture passages to show parents how to understand and follow God’s direction in order to be more effective in connecting with their children, according to the publisher.

Tyndale Kids has partnered with Axis, a nondenominational Christian ministry that until now provided its gospel-focused Parent’s Guides series exclusively online. Between November and February 2023, Tyndale will publish 10 Axis booklets in the series, on topics such as technology, social media, mental and physical health, and sexuality.

IVP offers When Children Come Out: A Guide for Christian Parents (Dec.), by therapists and researchers Mark A. Yarhouse and Olya Zaporozhets. Using data from studies of Christian parents of LGBTQ children, the authors present “research-based insights and faithful wisdom that it accessible for parents, their friends, and church leaders” as they navigate what may be unfamiliar terrain, according to the publisher.

Author, speaker, and Warfare Parenting podcaster Laine Lawson Croft takes a fierce stance toward redirecting kids who are headed for trouble in The Parent’s Battle Plan: Warfare Strategies to Win Back Your Prodigal (Chosen, Mar. 2023). She writes that scripture is God’s sword against the devil and calls on parents to offer “prayers emboldened by the promises of God, that engage the enemy of their child’s soul on spiritual ground.”

Instilling faith

Learning about God’s love, prayer, and the Bible can be the cornerstones of a young person’s faith. Authors of several upcoming books stress how urgent it is to disciple the next generation. Ministry consultant and parenting coach Sarah Cowan Johnson begins her handbook of exercises and activities, Teach Your Children Well: A Step-by-Step Guide for Family Discipleship (IVP, Aug.), with a warning: “Raising young Jesus-followers is not for the faint of heart,” because parents are competing against “a world that does not know Jesus and his love.”

The late pastor Chris Swain, in his final book, Write It on Their Hearts (The Good Book Co., Aug.), wrote that “discipleship happens when we spend intentional time with our children.” Brian Thomasson, v-p of editorial, says Swain “shows parents how minimal their ‘window’ is to influence their children for Christ.”

Jason Jimenez says his goal in Parenting Gen Z: Guiding Your Child Through a Hostile Culture (Focus on the Family, Mar. 2025) is to motivate parents to build a lasting faith into their children’s lives. Better start early, says Pete Greig, a pastor, author, and one of the leaders of 24-7 Prayer International, which hosts nondenominational, nonstop prayer meetings. Greig has written and illustrated a guide for children to read with their parents, How to Pray: A Guide for Young Explorers (NavPress, Oct.).

Some parents face an additional challenge: they no longer feel at home in the church where they grew up. In October, Eerdmans will release Bringing Up Kids When Church Lets You Down: A Guide for Parents Questioning Their Faith, by journalist Bekah McNeel. The publisher says McNeel writes for parents like herself, who wonder, “Could they raise their kids to live with both the security of faith and the freedom of open-mindedness? To value both scripture and social justice? To learn morality without shame?”

Writer and author of homeschooling curricula Jodi Mockabee’s The Whole and Healthy Family: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Mind, Body, and Spirit (Revell, Sept.) includes service to others as a key to spiritual growth, says Revell editorial director Andrea Doering.

Engaging the world

Several new titles expand the definition of discipleship to include not only nurturing a personal faith in children but also in showing them ways faith takes action. “God is present in the middle of all we do,” says Lyons at Chalice, which recently released Parenting for a Better World: Social Justice Practices for Your Family and the Planet, edited by Susanna Snyder and Ellen Ott Marshall. The book’s diverse, international contributors examine topics such as colonialism, racism, and sexism through a Christian lens, while offering ways to transcend division, he says.

IVP executive Helen Lee teamed up with Michelle Ami Reyes, a scholar and v-p of the Asian American Christian Collaborative, to write The Race-Wise Family: Ten Postures to Becoming Households of Healing and Hope (WaterBrook, out now) with biblical insights, prayers, discussion ideas, and more. “It gives parents the tools they need to help themselves and their children comprehend and bring change to racial dynamics,” says WaterBrook executive editor Becky Nesbitt.

Jenny Book Potter, a mother and racial justice activist who leads anti-racism programs at churches, conferences, and online, advises parents to include their children in such efforts. Her book, Doing Nothing Is No Longer an Option: One Woman’s Journey into Everyday Racism (IVP, Oct.), was written in 2020, when the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black men and women were making national headlines. “Many white parents found ourselves with children watching, asking questions, and expecting us to have done some work to prepare them for a moment like this,” Potter writes. “And to be blunt, many of us were coming up way too short.”

Surviving the scramble

Balance is a word topping many parents’ wish lists when every day feels like a ride on the teeter-totter. Below is a sampling of forthcoming titles offering time-management advice, encouragement, and a touch of humor:

Famous at Home: 7 Decisions to Put Your Family Center Stage in a World Competing for Your Time, Attention, and Identity

(Tyndale Momentum, out now), by marriage and leadership coaches Josh and Christi Straub, argues that parents who are secure in their identity under God find things easier, “because you no longer have anything to prove.”

Help Me, God, I’m a Parent (Zondervan, June), by poet Bunmi Laditan, features a collection of prayers and poems for the moments when, she writes, “caring for children stretches our patience, fries our brains, and zaps us of our energy but we wake up and do it over and over again because, well, they’re ours and we love them.”

If Mama Ain’t Happy: Why Minding Healthy Boundaries Is Good for Your Whole Family (Tyndale Momentum, Oct.), by Rachel Norman, a mother of five and parenting coach, reveals how she came to trust in God and herself and become a “calm, resilient, peaceful mother.”

Parenting: Getting It Right (Zondervan, Jan. 2023), by husband-and-wife North Point Ministries cofounders Andy and Sandra Stanley, is a faith-based parenting guide that “explores the challenges and distinct stages of raising children, while equipping and inspiring parents to lead their families with confidence and grace,” according to the publisher.

Raising Amazing (Zondervan, Feb. 2023), by blogger, podcaster, speaker, and author Monica Swanson, argues that the keys to rearing “amazing” offspring with “godly character” are held by parents who are strongly rooted in their relationships as well as their spiritual and social values.

Cathy Lynn Grossman is a veteran writer on religion in ethics living in Washington, D.C.

For more forthcoming parenting books from religion publishers, visit publishersweekly.com/faithandfatherhood2022.