Are you raising a child or raising an adult?
That’s not a trick question. In fact, for many of us, it gets to an idea that may reflect a complete paradigm shift in how we view parenting.
Our job isn’t simply to teach our kids to obey a set of household rules (although learning to follow instructions is important, too). It’s to empower them to use their judgment to make good decisions in life.
How do we do that?
Well, according to Dr. Kevin Leman, it all starts with that familiar passage in Ephesians 6 (TLB): “Children, obey your parents; this is the right thing to do because God has placed them in authority over you.”
The key word here is “authority.”
Throughout the Bible, we see God directs us, His children, as our authority, but not as an authoritarian.
In other words, He doesn’t grab us by the neck and force us along a particular path. He gives us free will and helps us learn to make choices that honor Him and that benefit ourselves and others.
By contrast, an authoritarian style of parenting communicates, “I’m bigger than you are. I can inflict my will upon you.” It pushes children to adhere to our rules, but it doesn’t create opportunities for them to think for themselves, weigh their options, consider the consequences, and make positive choices. Yet, those are skills they’ll need in abundance when they step across the threshold into adulthood.
So how does parenting with authority play out in day-to-day real life in your home?
That’s what my wife Jean and I will be discussing with our guest, author Dr. Kevin Leman, over the next couple of broadcasts. As you’ll hear, we’ve got some parenting questions of our own. Dr. Leman answers with his usual wit and sense of humor, offering plenty of practical help that got us thinking. I think you’ll find his insights thought-provoking, too.