Session 2 - What Kind Of Parent Are You?

1. Fear-based Parenting.

  • Scared of Hollywood, the Internet, the public school system, Halloween, the gay community, drugs, alcohol, rock-n-roll, rap, partying neighbors, unbelieving softball teams, liberals, and Santa Claus.
  • Fears determine our strategy for parenting.
  • When I look at how the standard evangelical family has formatted their strategy for parenting, most often I see fear behind the steering wheel.
  • If you took all of the categories of advice that Jesus gave us in the gospels, you’d find that the longest list is made up of verses where He says, “Don’t be afraid.” If we have put our faith in Him, we should be the last people afraid of just about ANYTHING!
  • Fear-based parenting is the surest way to create intimidated kids, and the best spawning ground for Christian kids who either don’t have any passion for lost people, who are indifferent to the things of God, or who out-and-out rebel against their parents, their church, and the Lord.

2. Evangelical Behavior Modification.

  • An offshoot of fear-based parenting, this style assumes that the proper environment, the proper information, the proper education, and the absence of negative influences will increase the chances of a child turning out well.
  • This parenting plan works from two flawed assumptions: 1. That the battle is primarily outside of the child (it’s not), and that the spiritual life can be transferred onto a child’s heart much like information placed on a computer hard drive (it can’t).
  • The behavior modeled by these families paints a beautiful picture of an ideal Christian family, but it is only one-dimensional. There is very little below the surface that draws on the faith needed to sustain the harsh “hits” from culture nor to go into a deep, mature relationship with God.
  • These are homes where God rules in the head but seldom gets to move in the heart.

3. Image Control Parenting.

  • This is a checklist method of parenting that is part of the seduction of legalism.
  • It assumes that people will know you are a good Christian parent raising strong Christian offspring by your church attendance, the way you dress (or don’t dress), the way you cut your hair (or don’t), the words and expressions you use (or don’t use), the schools you attend (or don’t attend), the movies you see (or don’t see), the amount of scripture you can quote, the version of the Bible you read, and the kinds of treats you give out for Halloween (if you participate at all).
  • The problem with this form of parenting is not in any of the things these parents either do, or don’t do, but for the most part, these are well-meaning people trying to make good choices—but they make them for wrong reasons!
  • Doing good things, but for wrong reasons, consistently brings unfavorable results. Unfortunately, kids can tell when we are living by a checklist and propping up our image rather than trusting in God to lead us.

4. High Control Parenting.

  • There is a vast difference between parents who keep their children under control and parents who control them.
  • High control parenting happens when we leverage the strength of our personality or our position against our children’s weaknesses in order to get them to meet our selfish agenda.
  • This form of parenting is fueled by a combination of toxic fear, toxic anger, toxic bondage, toxic shame, and toxic strength.
  • What makes it so difficult to address is the fact that the last people to be able to see themselves doing it are the very parents that are most guilty of using it as their primary mode of overseeing their kids
  • Another characteristic of high control parenting is the innate ability to morally justify their high-control tendencies because they are so convinced that what they are doing is right, they can’t see how destructive its effect is on their children.
  • They can’t see how they consistently slip over thin lines in their relationships with their children and assume the right to make decisions on their children’s behalf that aren’t really theirs to make.

5. Herd Mentality Parenting.

  • These are parents who follow the crowd; if the crowd is over-scheduling their kids with sports, extra-curricular activities and every event the church has to offer, they do too.
  • These parents aren’t known for individual thinking. They are families who follow the fads in how they are to eat, dress, vacation, educate their kids, play, and worship.
  • Rather than pray for guidance and study each of their children and determine what is best for that child, they assume a herd that big must know where it’s going.

6. Duct Tape Parenting.

  • Rather than figure out how to either build it right or fix it properly, these families cope by patching their problems.
  • Temporary solutions are sought when crises arise. • These families are usually running on empty, too busy, and are more focused on the immediate over the permanent.

7. Life Support – 911 Parenting.

  • These homes are much like the Duct Tape families, but with the added feature that some particular crises is dominating their focus.
  • It might be some medical nightmare they are in or the result of the deterioration or complete collapse of a marriage.
  • Sometimes it’s economic hardships that may or may not be their fault.
  • Often it has to do with a shortchanged childhood, and these parents often come to their role with some serious wounds to their heart.

Fear actually runs through all of these methods of parenting. Some of these methods can fake moms or dads into thinking that they’re on target. But the proof is in the product. For the most part, these methods are no fun for the parents and certainly steal a lot of joy from the kids. We all recognize that there are some things about parenting that will never be fun and aren’t supposed to be. But, for the most part, a home should be a place that brings the best out of everyone and grooms children for confident and effective adulthood. It should also be an enjoyable place in which to live.