What does the Bible say about Permissive Parenting?
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Friends, first and foremost I want to say that The Fervent Mama thrives around community. We want this to be a place where you can come to share your heart freely, without the fear that you will be condemned or cast aside.
I even wrote a post about it a while back. Stop fussing at women who are just trying to be good mamas.
But, as much as we sort of “safe space” and “no judgment zone”, that doesn’t mean that we can’t disagree. It doesn’t mean that we won’t practice our Biblical duty as Christians commanded in Galatians 6:1 and 2 Timothy 4:2.
So, hear me out here. This is not to bash you for your parenting choices. But it is here to give you a warning as per instructed in the Bible. Which brings me to our initial discussion. What does the Bible say about permissive parenting?
But before we delve into what the Bible says about permissive parenting, we need to first grasp exactly what permissive parenting is.
Debbie Zeichner, LCSW puts it like this, “Permissive parents are warm, nurturing, and loving, which is certainly positive, yet they don’t utilize the limits, boundaries, and structure necessary for a child to feel safe and secure,”
In short, permissive parenting is ultra-free-range, and in essence, completely lacking rules of guidelines. This type of parenting usually involves adults who have low expectations for their children and avoid confrontation by “keeping the peace”.
Studies have shown that this type of parenting produces immature children that can’t cope with the real world because they haven’t been taught the necessary skills to thrive. They haven’t been taught good practices of decision making, respect, empathy, or even self-control.
These same studies show that children raised by permissive parents usually show extreme signs of aggression, poor social skills, suffer from some form of anxiety or depression, and even have trouble learning in school.
If scientific information isn’t enough to make you want to change parenting styles, then maybe what the Bible says about permissive parenting will be.
I wrote a post a while back on How to deal with a problem that the Bible doesn’t directly address, and I’ll be stemming off of that post a lot.
I know a lot of people will try to say that the words “permissive parenting” aren’t in the Bible. I can agree with that. But the Bible does speak against the tactics and actions that make up permissive parenting.
Parenting: 14 Gospel PrinciplesThe Power of a Praying® MomThe Power of a Praying® ParentJesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids
So many times throughout the Bible, God is referred to as our Father. He leads us, guides us, directs us. He reprimands us, He reproves us, He rebukes us.
If God, our Heavenly Father, gives us this example of parenting, how much more should we strive to be like that example?
If we don’t lead them, someone else will. If we don’t teach them, they won’t learn. If we do not correct them, they will not know. If there are no consequences, there will be no change. If there is no criticism, there will be no growth.
We are parents. We are not friends. The Bible says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
One of the hardest things to do is to correct a child. It seems so much easier just to let a small action go. But the Bible says that the little foxes are the ones that destroy the vine. We must be persistent in instruction and consistent in discipline. Without the two, we are raising children that don’t understand boundaries.
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12
“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left [to himself] bringeth his mother to shame. Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul. Proverbs 29:15-17
“In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,” Titus 2:7
God is referred to as the Father, yet He chastens us. But at the same time, He takes care of us, not only in the physical but also in the spiritual.
“My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” Proverbs 3:11-12
“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” Matthew 6:26
“A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.” Proverbs 15:5
See, but God leaves no one out of His grasp. Even if you didn’t have a good Earthly example of parents, Christ tells us that He is a father to the fatherless, and still lays instruction for us by being the ultimate example.
Even back in the time of Moses, the Lord instructed them in Joshua on how to teach their children about what the Lord had done in times past. He made the importance of teaching. Because teaching was the only way that they would come to the knowledge.
Looking back to Leviticus, the Lord had the same plan. To have them teach by example, to do in accordance with His plan, to put into action in front of their eyes, and then to let it serve as a visual reminder!
There is importance in teaching, there is importance in knowledge. There is importance in understanding. But all of these are underlying factors that come from instructive parenting the way that Christ designed.
When it’s all said and done, Christ also left us with a final promise.
3 John 1:4 – I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
What a day that will be to see that all the “hard work” of raising little disciples in Christ has paid off! To feel the joy of having children who serve God with their whole hearts.
Weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning, and oh how sweet is the joy that you’ll find in obeying Christ!
This article from Good Housekeeping is a perfect introduction to permissive parenting and even has some ideas about what you can do to change your parenting styles in efforts to produce better parenting results.
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