Parenting Styles


As parents our job is to do all things with love, especially when we parent our children. God wants us to bring up children who love Him, live for Him and make an eternal impact in their world.  (Deuteronomy 6:5-7).

I believe good parenting is achieved by loving our children well. We need to be careful not to be either extremely legalistic or permissive. Scripture teaches that God has rules, structure and guidelines. But God’s discipline in parenting is balanced by his love, affirmation, and grace. This is considered to be the authoritative parenting style as coined by Sociologist Reuben Hill.

One of God’s primary attributes is love. I John 4:8-1 1, “…God is Love.”  Since God loved us, we also ought to love one, another especially our children.  Our job is to train our children to be what we want them to be. In our home we desired our children to have Godly character. Our job begins at each birth and continues on until our children reaches maturity.


God’s model for parenting demonstrates a healthy balance of both discipline and love.

Focus on The Family used the research by Reuben Hill who conducted a study of thousands of teens and parents in Minnesota. Mr. Hill put all of his research on a grid with an x-axis, a y-axis, and four quadrants. The horizontal axis measured how much discipline or control parents exercised in their relationship with their child. The vertical axis measured love. Hill found that different parenting styles produced different responses among children.



High love, low discipline/control

These parents are usually indulgent and are more interested in being best buddies with their children.  Appropriate boundaries are not established. These parents rarely discipline their children. Life lessons are often learned later in life at a higher cost.

Children brought up in this home environment tend to rank low in happiness and self-regulation. These children are more likely to experience problems with authority and tend to perform poorly in school. (1)

Proverbs 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

When Parents are… Children become…
  • Overprotective
  • Spoiled
  • Yielding to pressure
  • Manipulative
  • Desperate for harmony
  • Disrespectful
  • Rescuing
  • Irresponsible
  • Too helpful
  • helpless
  • Lack of boundaries
  • insecurity

Biblical example: 1 Samuel chapters 2 and 4 (Eli’s was a permissive parent as seen with his sons, Hophni and Phinehas.  Eli was fully aware of his sons sins as were the people but Eli never discipline them.


Low love, low discipline

This is the worst of the parenting styles.  Parental involvement is very low as is communication, love, and responsiveness. There is very little attachment or affection between the child and parent due to neglect. This parenting styles is often seen in homes where both over achieving parents work and are driven by worldly success keeping them uninvolved. Parents with addictions or mental issues may also fall into this category.

Children brought up in this home environment tend to rank lowest across all life domains. These children tend to lack self-control, have low self-esteem and are less competent than their peers. (1)

1 Timothy 3:4 He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him.

When Parents are…
  • Children become…
  • Apathetic
  • Self sufficient
  • Ambivalent
  • Emotionally hardened
  • Uninvolved
  • Rebellious
  • Lacking follow-through
  • Underachievers
  • Lacking boundaries
  • Insecure

Biblical example: 2 Samuel chapters 13-15 and 1 Kings 1:5-6 (King David)


Low love, high discipline

Children are expected to follow strict rules and failure to do so results in punishment. Often there is little or no reason behind given rules.  A common phrase of a parent to the child when asking why is, “Because I said so.” Communication is difficult and usually combative, especially as the child gets older which often leads to rebellion. This parenting style is seen in homes where there is an angry alcoholic parent who rages.

Children brought up in this home environment tend to be obedient and proficient, but they rank lower in happiness, social competence and self-esteem. (1)

Colossians 3:21 (NLT) Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.

Ephesians 6:4 “Parents,’ do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

When Parents are… Children become…
  • Domineering
  • Rebellious
  • Not flexible
  • Fearful of failure
  • Performance-oriented (vs. people-oriented)
  • Under or overachievers
  • Critical
  • Overly sensitive to criticism
  • Black/white thinkers
  • bitter

Biblical example: Genesis 29:1 through 31:55 (Rachel’s father, Laban)


High love, high discipline

Children are expected to follow establish rules and guidelines which are clearly understood. Parents are responsive to their children and tend to listen to questions. These parents are more nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing.

Children brought up in this home environment tend to result in children who are happy, capable and successful. (1)

Luke 2:40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

When Parents are… Children become…
  • Loving
  • Secure
  • Encouraging
  • Confident
  • Comforting
  • Compassionate
  • Sincere
  • Honest
  • Teaching
  • Wise

Biblical example: 2 Timothy 1:5-7 and 3:14-15 (Timothy’s mom and grandmother)

What parenting style did you most identify with? What parenting style does your spouse identify with?  As informed parents what parenting style will you use?


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