Josh Christophersen

Reign In Life

Four Types Of Parents

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I’ve had the chance to spend time with a lot of young families in the last thirteen years since my wife and I started having kids.  I’ve observed four different types of parents:

1) Parents Who Don’t Discipline

There are some parents who refuse to use “the rod” of discipline on their children.  Most have replaced the rod of discipline with time-outs, counting to 3 (still haven’t figured that one out yet), yelling, ignoring, or giving the child the freedom to figure it out on his own. I would venture to believe that almost every parent would say that they love their kids.  But the bible has a different word for parents who “spare the rod”: hate.  “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” (Prov 13:24)

2) Parents Who Discipline For The Wrong Reasons

Some parents do discipline their kids, but the reason they do it is because they are irritated, inconvenienced, embarrassed, or offended.  This type of parenting is punitive, rather than corrective.  Often times this type of parenting becomes abusive.  A parent has no right to punish their kids.  A parent’s job is to discipline their kids.

Disciplining out of irritation, inconvenience, embarrassment, or offense, teaches children that the problem is between child and parent, rather than child and God.  It’s ultimately God who is disobeyed and dishonored when your child disobeys and dishonors you and the way we discipline as parents should teach this.

If parents make the problem a problem between parent and child then they’re indirectly teaching their kids that they can do whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t bother the parent.  They’re teaching that it’s wrong if it annoys the parent, but not wrong if the parent is able to tolerate it.  A perfect example of this is when a child is throwing a tantrum because they did not get what they want and the parent tells the child to go scream and cry in their room, “so I don’t have to listen to you”.  Although this may eventually end the tantrum; it doesn’t address the heart or teach the child their need for the gospel.

3) Parents Who Discipline To Correct Wrong Behavior

Some parents discipline their kids to correct them and to teach them the difference between right and wrong while failing to set healthy boundaries.  This type of parent disciplines their child when they physically hurt another child, steal another child’s toy, or say something mean to another child.  However they don’t discipline a child for throwing food on the floor, whining, or for climbing all over the furniture.  Why?  Because the bible teaches not to steal, hurt others, or be mean to others, but it doesn’t say anything about throwing food on the floor, whining, or climbing on furniture.  Although this type of parenting may teach a child to a certain degree the difference between right and wrong; it won’t teach them authority.

The truth is that right and wrong is determined by authority.  It doesn’t exist outside of authority.  If authority isn’t taught along side right and wrong, then whatever right and wrong is taught can easily be dismissed out of a lack of respect for the authority that says it’s right or wrong (in this case, the parent) or establishes right and wrong (God).  A parent’s job is not just to teach right and wrong, but authority as well.

4) Parents Who Discipline To Correct And Teach Authority

Biblical parenting involves lovingly disciplining one’s children in a way that teaches children that being disobedient and dishonoring to them as parents is wrong because it is disobedient and dishonoring to God himself.  This type of parenting involves a great deal of self control during times of irritation, inconvenience, embarrassment, and offense, to keep the issue between God and child.  This type of parenting is corrective, not punitive and abusive.  It involves a greater level of consistency that teaches children that something is true not just sometimes, but all the time, because God has said it’s true, and not because it happens to inconvenience the parent at the time.

Biblical parenting is careful to establish rules and boundaries for a child’s good and the well being of others and the home, teaching children to be under authority.  This is so that they learn to submit to God, teachers, bosses, coaches, and other authority figures, and so that they continue to believe what the bible says about right and wrong long after they leave their parents house.  This is only possible if they’ve learned to respect and appreciate the authority of the one who establishes right and wrong, God himself.

(Image Credit: Yogendra174)

About Josh Christophersen

Josh is a software engineer, church planter, and blogger with a passion for helping people do their life well. He lives in KC with his wife and 7 kids.

5 Replies

  1. Would you have any book recommendations on this? Other than scripture, of course… We can often find ourselves switching between one of the four you describe due to lack of good examples from our own parents. Thanks!

  2. Hey Steven. Good to hear from you. Yes I do have a great book recommendation: Shepherding A Child’s Heart. That book is gold.

  3. Thank you so much! Available at the library, too! Hold placed…

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