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Age of Opportunity, A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens (Resources for Changing Lives) [Paperback]

Paul David Tripp
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Presbyterian and Reformed; First edition (29 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875526055
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875526058
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.9 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 227,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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IT is everywhere around us-on the television sitcom, in the magazine on the supermarket rack, on the shelves of the local bookstore, on television and radio talk shows, and yes, even in a number of Christian books on the family. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely insightful and helpful 28 May 2004
Format:Paperback
Every parent should read this book! Especially if you're struggling and don't know why. It cuts right to the heart, revealing the 'idols' parents often create without realizing it, and which are stumbling blocks to the effective parenting we desire. If you want to know what is wrong with your teen, rather than what is wrong with yourself, don't read this book! After it convicts you thoroughly, however, it does give you hope and help. Refreshingly grounded in Scripture, Paul Tripp is also believable because he has raised 4 teens. I wish he had been more generous with his anecdotes, examples, and lists, but what he has included is right on target. I am thankful for the 'salt and light' this book has been to me, and I know my pre-teen will be also.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best resources for parents 25 Nov 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read dozens of such books over a 33 year ministry I believe that this is one of the sanest, wisest most humble books and one of the most helpful I have read. There's a great balance between biblical insight and parental experience. The author focuses on the heart more than techniques for changing behaviour.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is excellent. 15 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Don't be put off by the naff cover, this really is a very helpful book. Helpful, and also poignant, funny and insightful. As my own children begin the transition to adolescence I am eager to obtain wise advice to help me in my parenting, and would see reading good books as a key component of that. When I was in my mid-20s I spoke at parenting seminars and could do so with the memories of my own teen years still being fresh and real. The sad reality now is that I am nearly as close to retirement age as I am to my teens, and it becomes increasingly difficult to remember accurately what it felt like to be a teenager! Insightful authors like Tripp can help with this inevitable amnesia.

Raising kids is not really that complicated. We often think its terribly difficult, but lots of other people have done it before us - its not like we are pioneering new territory. But parenting is an activity that can generate a lot of stress and anxiety, and where there can be a lot of conflicting advice from those other parents who have gone before us. If we are to navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of parenting we need a clear biblically informed strategy for doing so, and Tripp helps provide this.

There are several pitfalls that (Christian) parents often stumble into. One that greatly aggravates me is low expectations - the assumption that all teens have to rebel, get bored with church and backslide. Other mistakes we can make are to think the goal of parenting is simply to raise children who will be reasonably socially acceptable adults, rather than seeing our role as being to raise disciples of Jesus.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read it! Read it! Read it! 28 Nov 2013
By Monica
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are the parent of a confused self-centered hormonal teen then this is the book for you. Really focussed the heart on what it important - God and His glory.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  61 reviews
69 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it and read it BEFORE your children are teens!!! 26 Jun 2006
By Dan Panetti - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What an encouraging and challenging book for parents. Tripp doesn't pull any punches in this outstanding book that challenges parents to be more deliberate and intentional about their parenting. The primary emphasis of the book is getting through to parents that raising children is not about how they look, how well they score on some standardized test, or how many touchdowns they score, but ultimately if they have a heart for God. Tripp first deals with the perspective of parents on this issue refocusing them on what's really important, then he dives in to encourage parents to pursue their teens and accept this stage of parenting as a God-given opportunity instead of dreading it and working to avoid it at all costs.

Tripp encourages parents to find a balance between protecting them from the world and allowing them to assimilate themselves into the world. Tripp knows that many parents of teens are tired and worn out - but he thinks that the reason is because they are spending too much time and energy addressing the wrong thing. Tripp warns parents that they should not focus on behavior modification, but be willing to spend the time and energy to find out the root causes which underlie their behavior. One theme constantly running through Age of Opportunity is the emphasis given to conversation - parents making the effort to talk with their children

While the intended audience is parents with teenage children, much of the sage advice is applicable to parents with any age children and the book might be a better read for parents before their children hit the teen years. Outstanding book, easy-to-read, biblically sound, challenging and encouraging - Age of Opportunity has my highest recommendation.
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid scriptural advice from someone who has lived it. 14 Jun 2005
By No one of consequence - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I recently read this volume in my role as a biblical counselee, as my wife and I sought pastoral advice on how to deal scripturally with our rebellious teenage daughter. Having heard the author speak, both live and on tape, I knew that we would receive powerful medicine straight from the Scriptures, and I was not disappointed.

"Age of Opportunity" was written for hurting parents of teens by someone who was himself a hurting parent of teens, to give hope and help in the struggle. Paul Tripp knows exactly what it's like to be down in the trenches doing battle with our rebellious offspring, and he paints his pictures in stark, real-life terms. When he writes, he does so from first-hand experience, but with a godly wisdom and a deep humility born of many years seeking after the heart of God -- who is Himself the greatest of fathers and who knows what it's like to handle rebellious children.

The book opens with a call to stay in the fight, to shed the world's "if I can only survive until they reach age 18" mentality. God has uniquely positioned and equipped every Christian parent to model Christ and shape the hearts of their children. The real battle starts when we get a correct perspective on our role as parents, and who our kids are in the sight of God.

From there, the author backs up the dump truck and unloads heaps of great scriptural advice on how to recognize where your teen is spiritually, and how to go for the real prize -- his or her heart. We can regulate or suppress their outward behavior until we're blue in the face, but if we don't go for our teen's heart we really accomplish no permanent change. The goal is less to steer them away from the world, and more to steer them toward a hunger for Christ. Only then can we hope to turn out young adults who are able to handle life effectively by handling God's word accurately, and by having a heart that beats for the living God.

From a purely personal perspective, however, this book had limited value for us in our counseling context, because Tripp writes from an assumption that your teen is a follower of Christ. The advice in this book will not work otherwise. Sadly, that is where we find ourselves -- the parents of a rebellious teenage daughter who has no heart for Christ, and is quite content to stay that way. For now all we can do is cry out to God on behalf of our daughter to have mercy on her, and to grant her repentence. However, for our soon-to-be-a-teen son, who shows great evidence of being a believer, we look forward to re-reading this book in a few years and putting its teachings into practice. Thank you, Mr. Tripp, for sharing with us.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful and God honoring... 9 Oct 2008
By Seth McBee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Although I do not have any teenagers in my house, I thought it would be better to read this book too early, instead of too late. I believe I was right. This book reminds me a lot of Tedd Tripp's book, Shepherding a Child's Heart, but with an emphasis on teens and how to relate to the teenage populace.

I truly enjoyed the honesty and also the way in which Dr. Tripp directs us as parents at the heart instead of our children instead of fixing mere actions. Usually, we as parents believe all is well if our children would just obey us, whether they are obeying us for the right reasons or not is a totally different question. Paul's book sets up so the parent gets to the teen's heart so that they obey based on their love of the glory of God rather than merely trying to follow rules that are set up. What this will do is drive critical thinking in the teen so that they can make decisions for themselves in different situations and will not need to know, "did my mom and dad say specifically I couldn't do this or that?" Instead they will strive to seek the Lord's will and ask, "In what way does this decision either glorify God or take away from it?"

The book is set up in three parts:

Part I: Clearing the Debris

In this first part Dr. Tripp is really trying to lay the foundation of the family and how God desires it to be set up. He speaks to those involved (parent and teen) and also speaks to the parent understanding the teen so that the next parts of the book can fall into place. I sincerely appreciate the chapter on "Whose Idols Are in the Way?" Dr. Tripp drives home the importance for us as parents to seek out our idols and destroy them so that our discipline and time with our children becomes godly, instead of reactionary.

Part II: Setting Godly Goals

This is really the practical part of the book. After laying out the foundation Dr. Tripp shows what should be important for every godly parent. He helps show forth how to disciple your children to have godly convictions towards culture and wisdom in how to respond. The idea behind this chapter is so that when that day comes where the teen leaves home, you can be confident that your work in them has been accomplished and they are ready to decipher the world through godly vision.

Part III: Practical Strategies for Parenting Teens

This last part is only 40 pages of the 253 page book. It seems to be more of a wrap up instead of completely new ideas. It seems to be more of a conclusion than a separate part. Part II and Part III really bleed together to make the last half of the book the practical wisdom given from Dr. Tripp to the readers.

One of my favorite discussions in the whole of the book was found in chapter 11. Dr. Tripp sets up four verbs for parents who desire to model Christ to their teen. I believe a quick synopsis of this will give you an overall feel for how the book is laid out.

They are:

Accept: We are to accept our sinful children with the grace of Christ. We are not to enable their sin, but we are also not to be judgmental parents who are condemning to the teen. When condemnation and judgmental attitudes prevail the teen will shut themselves off and never feel as though they can openly communicate to the parent.

Incarnate: As Christ was incarnate God to the world and to us, so too we are to incarnate Christ to our children. We are to reveal love, grace, patience, gentleness, kindness, etc. and continue to show them the gospel in deeds instead of merely words.

Identify: (my favorite part of the entire book) Hebrews 2:10 says that Christ was not ashamed to call us brothers and we should not be ashamed to call our teens, brothers and sisters in Christ. We should be able to identify with them in their sin. We should not be ones who would ever say, "I can't believe you would do that, I would never have done that." If this statement is actually true, the parent is not a sinner saved by grace, but a Pharisee who sees themselves as greater than others by their works. To identify with the teen will show them that you too struggle with sin, and you can show them who you go to for comfort and forgiveness in that sin: Christ Jesus our Saviour. Without the reminder that we too are sinners, the teen will believe that you cannot relate and will run away from you during their struggles instead of running to you.

Enter: As Christ entered our world and culture for 33 years, so we too should enter the world that our teenager lives in. This means seeking them out, even if it is uncomfortable. Asking them questions and listening to what drives them, what discourages them, what excites them, what they struggle with and the temptations that they face every day. When we seek them out to find out where they are coming from, we show them that we truly have an interest in who they are and what they face instead of trying to just pigeon hole them into whoever we think that they should be and what they should be facing. It shows that we truly have interest and value them.

I truly enjoyed this book and believe it is of great help to any who have teens now or who will be having teens soon. Dr. Tripp continues to humble the parent and drive them to the greatest desire: to parent for the glory of Christ, not for the glory of the parent. Highly Recommended.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking at the heart of parenting 7 Dec 2001
By John R. Sallade - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the finest book on parenting I have ever read. A great follow up to his brother Ted's book "Shepherding a Child's Heart". You will be asked to look into your own heart to discover what idols lie in wait to interfere with God directed principled parenting. Then launch on a journey that will aid you in seeking out your teens and assisiting them to know themselves and the God who longs to know them This is a life changing book.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great practical advice for any relationship! 13 Mar 2006
By Julie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a great book. We love our children and want what is best for them. In heated moments of life it is easy to forget that we are to show them the grace and mercy that we have been given. Paul David Tripp gives great insight to the heart of a parent that helps enable them to let go of their issues and grow to be the parent God intended. Many examples of the teaching moments in life that give us opportunity to lead our family to Christ.
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