Permissive parenting and authoritarian parenting are both unbiblical child discipline methods.
Family Counseling Ministries -
Permissive parenting rejects the biblical principle of
authority, while authoritarian parenting communicates the false message that a
parents authority a childs life is absolute and without error. In the 17th
part of a 20-article series, Dr. Dunlap explains that parents should
acknowledge the fact that because they are sinners they cannot make perfectly
informed disciplinary decisions in every situation that arises. God is our only
ultimate and absolute authority.
Throughout my years of counseling, I have observed that
parents generally tend to be either authoritarian or permissive in their
approach to child rearing. The challenge for Christian parents is to seek to
avoid both of these extremes.
Our goal must be to discover and implement biblically balanced
disciplinary methods as we seek to raise our children in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord.
Authoritarian parenting and permissive parenting are both
unscriptural child-rearing methods.
Permissive parenting is an outright rejection of the
scriptural principle of authority and its God-given safeguards. A permissive
parent generally indulges the childs whims, allows the child to whine when he
or she doesnt get his or her way, and looks the other way when the child
throws temper tantrums.
A permissive parent usually fears the prospect of
challenging a childs will. In short, the child sets his or her own boundaries
and knows that he or she is in control.
Authoritarian parenting, on the other hand, communicates
the false message that a parents authority in his or her childs life is
absolute and without error.
Authoritarian parents seldom allow their child to make
any decisions and they tend to over-discipline every infraction that the
As parents, we must acknowledge the fact that because we
are sinners we are unable to make perfectly informed disciplinary decisions in
every situation that arises. God is the only ultimate, absolute authority.
A parent should seek to train a childs will, not break it.
Love should always be the motivating factor in parental
discipline. The goal of biblical child-discipline is not to break a
childs spirit, but to subject the childs will to his or her parents
authority and to train the child to obey willingly and cheerfully. A parent
must be careful not to over-correct a child harshly when he or she is
disobedient. Parents ought to use the minimum amount of correction necessary to
bring the childs will into submission.
There is a distinct difference between willful, rebellious
behavior and immature foolishness.
Parents should understand the difference between rebellious
behavior and foolish immaturity. It is a good idea for parents to examine their
hearts to determine whether they over-correct their child because they have a
desire to protect their image as perfect parents.
A parent must be sensitive to his or her childs emotions.
Although crying is a healthy way for a repentant child to cleanse his or her
conscience, a parent ought not assume that discipline is ineffective if the
child does not cry. Tears are not always an expression of repentance. The child
may by crying from anger or frustration, in which case the parent should
continue to deal with the child until he or she demonstrates a repentant
We will examine some practical applications of these
principles in the next several articles.