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Middle Ground

Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning.
Proverbs 10:13

Some mothers and fathers favor an authoritarian style of parenting for their families, while others tend toward a permissive approach. We encourage you to be wary of both extremes. In an oppressive home, a child suffers the humiliation of total domination. The atmosphere is icy and rigid, and he lives in constant fear. He is unable to make his own decisions, and his personality is squelched beneath the hobnailed boot of parental authority. Parents who employ this method at home might want to reread Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children.”

On the other hand, the child who is given no adult leadership believes the world revolves around him. He often has utter contempt and disrespect for those closest to him; he rebels regularly against his parents. Anarchy and chaos reign in his home. His mother is often the most frazzled and frustrated woman on her block. These parents would do well to embrace this passage from Scripture: “Discipline your son, and he will give you peace” (Proverbs 29:17).

The healthiest approach to child-rearing is found in the middle ground between these disciplinary extremes. Your sons and daughters will thrive in an environment where love and control are present in nearly equal proportions. If a house is built by wisdom (Proverbs 24:3), then a harmonious home is built by the consistent, balanced, and godly attitudes of parents. 

Before you say good night…

  • Is your parenting style more authoritative or permissive?
  • Do you need to change to a more balanced approach?

Heavenly Father, grant us wisdom! We confess to making mistakes in the way we raise our children. Help us to achieve the right balance of love and leadership that You desire for our family each day. Amen.

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.