Thoughts on Parenting Styles

Every family has their own distinct personality, attitude and values. Students pick up how to act, think and respond the way that the family and more importantly, the parents act. Over the past few years I've observed the style that parents take when they lead their students. I am not a parent but hope to be one day! It is never to early to prepare! Below I'll list a few thoughts that I believe will be helpful to you.

Helicopter Parent - They continually stay close by in order to "rescue" their student whenever any problem happens in their life. In a sense, they are afraid that their student will fail. Insecurity is the core need of this parenting style and it is passed down to the student on most occasions. A "helicopter" parent is one that says to their student(s), "You can not make it without me." God's Word explains that the parent's role is to guide their children through example (Deut. 6, Ephesians 6). The parents motive is to help but in the end it hurts the potential for the student to develop to maturity. What students need is a healthy buffer to make mistakes and for parents to guide them to learn and become more like Christ.

Drill Sergeant Parent - "There is one way to do it and it is the way I'm telling you." Students that have this style of parent does not know how to make decisions for themselves because all of their decisions are made for them. The crucial element of this parenting style is to focus on punishment as opposed to teaching the importance of consequences. The message that is communicated to the student is, "You can not think for yourself, so I will think for you." We see this occur especially in "churched" students who graduate from high school and rebel against their parents (Colossians 3:21). Instead of developing leaders, they develop students that are performance driven and base their worth upon their accomplishments and not upon Christ. (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12)

Amusement Park Guide Parent - The parents exist to make the student(s) happy! The parent seeks to avoid conflict at any cost by giving their student the "freedom" to make all decisions with little or not responsibility for the consequences. It is the proverbial "friend" more so than "parent" mentality (Proverbs 29:17). I have seen this style many times in student ministry and it produces students that are emotionally unstable, spoiled, and down-right rude (Proverbs 13:24). Students that graduate with this type of parent usually do not know how to balance a checkbook, do laundry or have a strong work ethic. The message that this parent communicates is, "I want to be your friend." What students need is a healthy boundaries to be set in stone by the parent so that a healthy respect of authority is set in their heart. God is more focused upon our holiness than our happiness. (1 Peter 1:16)

Consultant Parent - The parent is there to provide advice as the student begins to make decisions. The goal is for their student to be equipped to make his own decisions once they graduate from high school. It is a transition from "you" to "I" language. The parent makes statements such as, "How can I help you in this decision" instead of, "You had better get this done!" The message that is communicated is, "I am here to help you in the decision making process." Although there are times that a parent must communicate absolutes, the goal is for the student to "own" the decision to follow and obey God's truth for their life. It takes time to get to this point of parenting! Once a student owns their faith in Christ and are encouraged daily through a close relationship with their parents they will impact the world for Christ! (Proverbs 22:6)

"He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge." Proverbs 14:26

Where do you see yourself in the parenting style list? How is God leading you to develop and equip your family to follow Christ?!

The basis for this post comes out of this book: