It’s that moment at Walmart. You’re pushing your cart and gathering a few things for the homestead, when you hear a loud voice about three aisles over.
“Hey, whadya think you’re doing? Git over here!”
You wonder if this person brought their dog to the store. Surely they’re not addressing their child with this tone?
Thus we encounter the fourth of five ineffective parenting styles.
In a previous post, we talked about helicopter parents, minivan madness parents, and BFF parents. Briefly,
- Helicopter parents hover over their child. They take over their child’s projects and shield them from hardship and disappointment. They leave no room for character development.
- Minivan madness parents have bought into our culture’s mindset that busy is best. They sign up their kids for every possible activity and then run the shuttle to make it all happen. Their driven behavior is all about image management.
- BFF parents need their kids to like them. Out of insecurity, they play the role of buddy instead of exercising their God-given authority to parent.
Ineffective parenting style number four is:
- The “Git Over Here” parent
Back to Walmart. That shouting mom or dad three aisles over is making an attempt to let everybody know they’re totally on top of their parenting game.
There’s just one problem. They’re not.
Blustering, threatening and bullying are terrible parenting strategies. Let’s not confuse exercising God-given authority with being mean and bossy.
I’ve observed even Christian parents being proud of their harsh, domineering ways. This is tragic.
Children need clear instructions and boundaries, and poor behavior on their part should have consequences.
However, the proper use of parental authority means dealing with issues in a calm, loving, firm way, without resorting to yelling, threatening, or striking a child in anger.
Here are some practical steps to exercising your authority in a healthy, helpful way:
- First, teach the principle, You are greatly loved and valued, AND your life is not about you. This principle of putting others first rather than being selfish is the foundation for all your rules.
- Next, explain your expectations for behavior in specific environments, such as a store. Create specific rules, and explain what the consequences will be if misbehavior occurs.
- Finally, if the rules are broken, calmly follow through with the consequences you already warned about.
Note: some days, character development might take priority over your errands. That’s okay. You’re keeping the big picture in mind, and you’re aware that significant parenting moments often come at inconvenient times.
One more ineffective parenting strategy:
- The over-sheltering parent
These Christian parents lock their children into the family fortress and never let them out. They are so fearful of the world’s seductive influence that they isolate their kids in an attempt to protect them.
Trying to hang out with these folks feels like tip-toeing over the drawbridge up to their castle door and then being asked for the password to get in. (I’m guessing it’s “Jesus,” or something like that.)
Here’s the thing: good parenting is grounded on faith, not fear.
Healthy Christians guard their children from spiritually unhealthy influences, but they also equip them to make an impact in the world. Without that kind of vision, a child’s spiritual growth will be tragically stunted.
Yes, build a strong family fortress to protect your children, but keep the long-term vision in mind. You’re not just sheltering your kids from spiritual harm–you’re training and releasing world-changers!
Allow the weight of your parental authority to come across with calm consistency, and trust that your children are becoming influencers as you train them.
Your daily commitment to this process will yield great rewards.