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Is the Book Love & Respect in the Family a Spin-Off of Love & Respect in Marriage?

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Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D.
Author, Speaker, Pastor

What do we say to those who suggest Emerson applies the principles of Love and Respect to parenting as though he simply had to come up with something to say to parents and so used the same message?

For example, one gal commented on Facebook in response to this post about the Family Crazy Cycle, which says: Without love a child reacts without respect, and without respect a parent reacts without love. 

She writes,

“I really appreciate your wisdom and found it super helpful in my marriage. I however find this post much too general almost as if your taking the same concept and pasting it on to an entirely different family dynamic. While I agree in theory I don't think the article addresses many of the natural normal issues children work through. Sometimes and I would say even often times loved children act disrespectful. They need to be corrected with balance through love, discipline and with patience. I sometimes get frustrated when authors attempt to take a theory or concept (in love and respect I believe a truly divine concept for marriage) and then attempt to broad stroke it to other family dynamics.”

First of all, we can safely assume she has not read the book. If she had, she’d find us developing her ideas in depth. Yet, she offers her critique.

Second, she would realize that the ideas of love and respect/honor come to parents from the Bible, and we list out those Scriptures in the book. Emerson Eggerichs (M.Div, Ph.D.) studied the Bible for 30 hours a week in sermon preparation for nearly 20 years as the Senior Pastor of Trinity Church in East Lansing, Michigan. He looked at every passage in the Bible addressed to parent and child. These truths were hidden in plain sight, and what he found staggered him with excitement.

Third, a short post cannot cover everything. We always solicit prayer for ourselves on this matter of writing posts. If we say too much people say, “These are too long to read and I don’t have time.” If we say too little some pen, “I find this post much too general and superficial.”

Fourth, we want people to understand that Emerson intended to write about parenting before he addressed the topic of marriage, but he also wished to wait until his children were grown. Love & Respect in the Family hit bookstores in November 2013, and interestingly enough, his three children (all of them in their 30s) endorsed the book and spoke the good, the bad and the ugly back into it. People need to know that Emerson earned a Ph.D. in Child and Family Ecology and did a national study and dissertation on effective fathering.

The concepts in the marriage book stand alone for marriage. What he espouses for parents is a separate matter, but the Bible and research reveal it as equally revolutionary--children need love and parents need respect. He is not trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. All the research reveals that children need love. And pray tell, what do parents and teachers complain about as the number one problem they encounter? Disrespect.

We urge everyone to read Love & Respect in the Family before presuming it is a spin-off on the concepts from the marriage book. Some folks see the Love and Respect message applied to parenting and jump to the conclusion that this is Emerson’s attempt to apply the message everywhere. What’s next? A book about Love and Respect for cats and dogs? That would be a colossal mistake.

Emerson doesn’t have a cat, only a dog.

Even so, the parenting book is not a spin-off. We need to say this since a percentage of people feel strongly that it is and we need to respond to that criticism with the hope of clarifying this misconception. Emerson waited 40 years to address the parenting topic and the unique discovery he made on the family.

Fifth, read all the blogs we post on parenting. We are trying to keep our blogs shorter in length, which means making one point and stopping. That, of course, leaves much unsaid in any one post and opens us up to criticism. This is okay, since it keeps the discussion going; but to serve people like the woman mentioned above, we hope they read what we have written elsewhere because it will answer their concerns.

Sixth, we would be honored for one and all to read Love & Respect in the Family, especially if you wish to discover why we negatively react to each other in the family, how we can best motivate a child and what to do when a child isn’t responding as we expect. Enjoy!

Seventh, as for cats, they do respond to love, though they continue to be disrespectful as they disregard us. Cats are so unpredictable. One never knows exactly when they will ignore us next. However, now that we think about this, maybe a book on the Crazy Cycle with cats could benefit cat-owners. Of course, Emerson wouldn’t write that book for two reasons: he doesn’t have cats and he doesn’t write spin-off books.

Questions to Consider