Are You Over-Parenting or Under-Parenting?

There are generally 3 types of parents and parenting styles?

While most parents are doing the best they can with what they know, many parents are doing one or the other – either over-parenting their children or under-parenting them. They’re either going overboard by doing too much and being too hard, or they’re dropping the ball by doing too little and being too easy on their kids.

Here are 3 main types of parents that will help you to understand the difference. Which one best describes you?

1. AUTHORITARIAN: Those who are Over-Parenting

An authoritarian parent is one who is rarely willing to trust their kids or give them opportunities to earn trust. They simply state that “These are the rules, and you will follow them… Because I said so!” They don’t allow their kids to ask any questions about the rules.

Anytime their child asks “Why?” they are scolded, but never informed. They don’t allow their kids to think through scenarios for themselves to come up with solutions to problems. They simply demand that this is how you will think, believe and behave. And they mistakenly think that by doing this, they can ultimately control what their children believe and become. But this is a faulty parenting philosophy.

How many times have we seen this story unfold and the authoritarian parent raises a rebel? And not always because they were simply too strict on their child (because most parents are not strict enough), but often because they didn’t balance out their expectations with love and grace. They over-parented as if God entrusted them with the role of being a military sergeant, rather than a life-coach and mentor to their children.

The authoritarian parent is generally low in love and high in discipline.

Note: This is often a parenting approach that many adults brought up in strict Christian homes were raised under themselves, where they believed what they were told to believe, and behaved as they were told to behave. Period.

2. PERMISSIVE: Those who are Under-Parenting

A permissive parent is one who goes to the opposite extreme as the authoritarian parent. They end up trusting their kids too much, and they assume the best of them in every situation. Their mindset is that “my kid would never do that”, and as a result, they are very naive and overly permissive, even to the point of often being taken advantage of by their children, sometimes knowingly, and other times unknowingly.

They allow their kids too much freedom, failing to hold them as accountable as they should for their behavior, their words, their actions, their friends, and their online activity, etc. Because this parent has convinced themselves that their own parents were too hard on them, or that their child would never do certain things, they go to the opposite extreme of the authoritarian parent by allowing far too much grace and trust.

I am a huge proponent of grace-based parenting, but even that can be taken to a dangerous extreme if we’re not careful, to where we are giving the enemy a foothold in our children’s lives by loosening our grip and allowing our kids to make choices that they were never intended to make alone. The permissive parent is often a parent who makes excuses for their child or who gives their kids multiple warnings but very rarely if ever disciplines them.

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Source: Church Leaders