The Problem with Popular Parenting

September 26, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age. And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.

Genesis 21:1-11

The birth of a child is normally an occasion of joy and celebration for married couples – young or otherwise! However, that initial celebratory period can be quickly dampened as a more comprehensive view of reality starts to take hold. The time to prepare for this, and to begin to formulate a parenting strategy, really should begin before children are born – perhaps even before they are conceived. However, for parents who did not have this foresight, it is certainly not too late, and, practically speaking, most couples who have children together end up forming their parenting style without even realizing they are doing it. In these cases, the first step is to analyze which category you have slipped or stumbled into, evaluate it based on Biblical standards, and determine if a change is needed.

One common category of parenting is what Dr. Joel R. Beeke, in his book, Parenting by God’s Promises, calls “majority parents.” Majority parents make parenting decisions – especially those involving what to allow and not allow their children to do – based on majority vote. This method seems somewhat reasonable until child number three comes along, at which point the parents are outnumbered by the kids! The bigger problem with this approach, though, is that it fails to recognize the truth of appointed authority.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Ephesians 6:1 (emphasis added)

A recognition that God has ordained parents to make parenting decisions that are unpopular with their children does not mean that children may never be allowed to participate in preferential choices. Letting the kids vote to determine whether the family will play baseball or football in the backyard is probably harmless, but parents must not present an opportunity to vote on what is “right” and “wrong” as revealed by God’s Word, or in matters where an immature choice could prove detrimental to health or well-being. As parents we not only have a God-given right to exercise authority over our children, but we have a God-given responsibility. And, since our kids are really God’s kids entrusted to our care, we won’t be giving an account on the day of judgment to our children, to our parents, to our government, to society in general, to our Sunday School teacher, or even our pastor, for the parenting decisions we made. We will be giving an account to our Lord.

Next time, we will take a look at a second parenting category.

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  1. […] 27. The Problem with Popular Parenting (Genesis 21:1-11; Ephesians 6:1) […]

  2. […] 48. The Problem with Popular Parenting (Genesis 21:1-11; Ephesians 6) […]

  3. […] a previous lesson I critiqued the parenting category in which parents make decisions concerning their children based […]

  4. […] of the problems with parents who surrender their God-given authority in order to try to be more popular with their kids. Then we looked at the danger of bribery as a parenting strategy. Now we see that […]

  5. […] we have seen some of the problems with popular, pecuniary, and petulant parenting. The most Biblical, and therefore best, model for parenting is […]

  6. […] Jesus always taught with great authority. He was not a mealy-mouthed teacher. It’s almost as if the crowds who followed Jesus were […]


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