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?


Advice To My Youngest On Turning 13

Dearest Cayley,

Photos for Blog

I can never say I Love You enough nor will I stop 😉 It’s crazy you are now thirteen. What would I be doing once your sisters left home if you had not come along? How blessed I am to be given a second chance at mothering. In some ways I have grown and often times I feel green.  You are very unique and so different from your sisters.  A decade later I have found that technology has changed the parenting dilemma.  Regardless, I know God choose to bless us with you for such a time as this.  Together we sharpen one another. So I complied 10 thoughts I desire for you to remember as you continue your life journey.


1) Never forget you are fearfully and wonderfully made, yes made in the imagine of Christ who delights over you as He is a masterful creator.   (Psalm 139:13-16Ephesians 2:10 ) Comparison is the joy killer of being content with your many beautiful features. Never allow the media or others to dictate what true beauty should look like.

Baptism Cayley and Riley's 54

2) Love the Lord with all your heart and get into the habit of beginning your days by putting Him first. You will often feel that there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Time is something we all treasure, something we wish we had more of, but it just seems to slip so quickly through our fingers. We think if only I had more time I would spend it praying or reading the Bible, helping people, or making a difference.  (Proverbs 16:3; Luke 4:42, Matthew 14:13)  The poem The Difference is a good reminder of keeping God first.

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3) Remember to love and listen to your sisters as they are two of the wisest women I know.  Support one another. Talk to one another regularly by being the initiator as you have more free time. Be there when they need you and they’ll be there for you. They really do love you that is why they both flew in to surprise you for your 13th birthday. Sisters are forever friends.P1050675

4) Be bold, take chances as those who don’t take chances don’t make advances. Dream big because you serve a BIG God. Strive to reach the full potential of your calling in life. (Jeremiah 29:11).   Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to everyone through your speech,  by the way you live your life, in your authentic love, your faith, and your purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)


5) Continue to travel while you are young. We hope that through our various family excursions we have given you a love for adventure, exposed you to various cultures, taken you out of your comfort zone, and shown you how big and yet small the world is. May you bring the good news to those wherever you go in the future. Isaiah 52:7; Romans 10:15


6) Enjoy life! Gather often with your friends, have fun, laugh a lot and enjoy the relationships God has given you. Also your best friends will be those who bring out the best in you. Never substitute face-to-face interaction with that of the internet or social media. According to a study, people are happier and laugh 50% more when talking face-to-face with friends or via webcam than when they use social networking sites.


Cari, Cayley, & Laurena

7) Cherish your human connections with friends and mentors who invest deeply into your life and you will grow wiser and richer.  Appreciate and remember those who have poured richly into your life (your sisters, grandparents, teachers, Sarah T. Danielle A., Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Teresa, Ritz, Mrs. Cheryl D., Grandma Coleen). Allow them to speak truth into your life so you can learn something new. Proverbs 13:20


8) We love you unconditionally, always, and forever. No one will ever love you like your dad and I love you.

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9) Be humble, teachable, and enjoy the learning process. Be a lover of learning as you gain the education needed to carry out the tasks for which God has designed you.  (Proverbs 9:9; 12:15; 11:14; 19:20-21; 15:22; Psalm 1:1-5).

Some of my greatest lessons have been learned through the pages of books. I have gained incredible insight, knowledge, and experience of various authors.  Reading exposes you to a world of imagination, showing you nothing is impossible.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” Charles William Eliot


10) Smile a lot and keep singing God’s praises. A smile draws others to you. The joy and love of the Lord are yours – so smile! Aim for joy found when putting Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last which creates true JOY. Being happy and enthusiastic is always a good choice and the joy of the Lord is your strength.   (Psalm 28:7; Nehemiah 8:10)


In conclusion, do all things with Love. Love is so important to God that is is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible. Love is referred to as the greatest commandment of all. Christ is love. John 13: 34-35 As we learn to love God’s way we provide the world with a tangible picture of Christ to the world.

I look forward to finishing the book Love As A Way of Life by Dr. Gary Chapman who writes, “Love is an attitude, that says, “I choose to focus my life on helping others.”  I appreciate those who use the following seven characteristics to define a loving person providing so much room to grow:

  • Kindness: Discovering the Joy of Helping Others
  • Patience: Accepting the Imperfections of Others
  • Forgiveness: Finding Freedom from the Grip of Anger. Life’s way too short to constantly be mad at someone.
  • Courtesy: Treating Others as Friends
  • Humility: Stepping Down So Someone Else Can Step Up
  • Generosity: Giving Yourself to Others
  • Honesty: Revealing Who You Really Are

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An Awaking to Vulnerability

Photo by Caryn Noel @

Opening ourselves up leads us to deeper, more intimate relationships, but it is dependent on us being vulnerable.

Have you ever noticed that when we open ourselves up to one another it often leads us to a deeper, more intimate place and that being vulnerable is essential to connecting? Dr. Brene Brown, Professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, explains this phenomenon: “Vacillating between I am here and I love you…and I’m going to reveal my innermost to you…and I am scared to death that you’ll reject me.” Ironically, the vulnerability we try desperately to avoid may be the key to a successful relationships.

What does it look like to be vulnerable? Honestly, I’ve been doing some soul searching to better understand and grow in this area myself, especially since it has come up numerous times in the last three months. Yes, God has my full attention as I hope I have yours. 😉

In August I had someone review my blog as my desire is to be the best at whatever I do. Surprisingly, the feedback I was given said, “your writing is authentic but you are not vulnerable.”

My initial response was, “Why of course I’m not vulnerable, it’s scary and I’ve been burned too many times.” Because of previous hurts I had erected a wall of protection around my heart. While trying to appear perfect and having it together, or intelligent in order to connect with others, that actual pretense tended to have the opposite effect. Fear makes it hard to be authentic. (Fear becomes an obstacle in creating authenticity and connectedness.)

Our culture bombards us with messages to be strong, bold, and powerful while frowning upon being vulnerable. However, vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, rather it is understanding our identity in Christ as God created us to be without pretenses. It is in acknowledging our weaknesses that God is able to work in our life, for His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in our weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Last weekend I attended the Idea Camp on Human Care, where Mark Horvath shared how being vulnerable was one of the most profound lessons he had ever learned and suggested that we listen to Dr. Brené Brown’s audio tapes. In fact, several other speakers mentioned the importance of being transparent. Yes, God has captured my attention. Daily I am asking Him to show me what vulnerability really looks like and what messages are lies I have come to believe.

As I reflected on my childhood and past hurtful relationships I realized some of my faulty thinking, “I have to be perfect” and “I should only share pleasantries.” I was unable to turn off the broken records that fill my head with messages like “You’re not good enough” and “What will people think?” These messages were impeding me from fully connecting with others for fear that I would mess up or be rejected, as I have experienced abandonment issues in the past. I had considered abandoning this article out of fear of being too real, too vulnerable. However, God has had me on a love journey and is continually showing me the areas in my life where I need to be more open to fully love others.

I like what C.S. Lewis said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

If connection gives purpose and meaning to our life I feel that social media is breeding a false sense of being connected as the underlying premise that interacting with more people is better. Jay Baer said, “Fundamentally, technology and our use of it isn’t – as we’ve all hoped – bringing us closer together. In fact, it may be driving us farther apart, as we know more and more people, but know less and less about each of them.” Our computers, Smart Phones, iPad, etc allow us to hide behind a screen and never truly be known.

I’ve only watched a few Ted Talks, one of which was Brené Brown’s, The power of vulnerability.” She defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.

WOW! I want all of these.

If you haven’t listened to this talk, I highly recommend it as there is a reason that more than 10 million have listened to it. Next week I will share what stood out to me plus a few ways I personally plan to be more vulnerable.

Do you struggle with being vulnerable? If so, what has it cost you?