Toxic Parenting?

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A.Joseph

Puritan Board Junior
My wife sent me this. Looks like a secular source obviously. I think there is a fine line between trying to raise children to become ‘good’ adults and attempting to raise robots. I take exception to the expression, ‘children are to be seen not heard’…. Sounds like a recipe for unreported abuse. Obviously, we are raising our children in the Christian faith unapologetically. But what exactly does that look like and when should it stop? Do our kids owe us? Do they owe us lifelong submission? https://www.scarymommy.com/16-characteristics-toxic-parents/
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
A lot of that article explains pretty garden variety excesses that happen in most families at times to a degree. There are lines that can be crossed of course. The author was all over the places with ages and so on. I wouldn’t know where to start.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Junior
A lot of that article explains pretty garden variety excesses that happen in most families at times to a degree. There are lines that can be crossed of course. The author was all over the places with ages and so on. I wouldn’t know where to start.
Point well taken.

Do you think some of these lines are crossed on the regular in reformed circles with greater frequency?

Don’t get me wrong, hippie-raise-yourself-parenting will just create little heathen children. But wondering if there is a mild epidemic of more than just helicopter parenting that is commonplace in Christian Reformed circles right up unto pre-adulthood and beyond….
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
I only skimmed that article's 16 main points, but it sounds like they mostly describe an insecure parent.

Some Christian parents, without a firm grasp of the gospel, can be insecure and feel a need for their kids to live up to whatever the parent's image of an ideal Christian kid might be. And yes, that ends up being toxic.

The solution is for the parent to be a person of faith, secure in Christ whatever struggles come up with the kids (and there will be many). That security in Christ allows a parent to raise the child in the Lord, loving the child rather than being needy for the child to perform. When the parent knows the love of Jesus, the perform-for-me-and-God pressure valve is released, and the home becomes a place where true discipleship can flourish.

If Christian parents assess their parenting and find it is not like that, but instead is more like the toxic environment the article describes, they can take heart: The problem is common, and there is a solution. Draw nearer to Christ and find your acceptance, value, and security only in him—not in the performance of your kids. Then, freed from slavery to the results of your parenting, go out and love and train your children.
 

C4MERON

Puritan Board Freshman
I only skimmed that article's 16 main points, but it sounds like they mostly describe an insecure parent.

Some Christian parents, without a firm grasp of the gospel, can be insecure and feel a need for their kids to live up to whatever the parent's image of an ideal Christian kid might be. And yes, that ends up being toxic.

The solution is for the parent to be a person of faith, secure in Christ whatever struggles come up with the kids (and there will be many). That security in Christ allows a parent to raise the child in the Lord, loving the child rather than being needy for the child to perform. When the parent knows the love of Jesus, the perform-for-me-and-God pressure valve is released, and the home becomes a place where true discipleship can flourish.

If Christian parents assess their parenting and find it is not like that, but instead is more like the toxic environment the article describes, they can take heart: The problem is common, and there is a solution. Draw nearer to Christ and find your acceptance, value, and security only in him—not in the performance of your kids. Then, freed from slavery to the results of your parenting, go out and love and train your children.
I honestly feel that you wrote this last paragraph as a DM to me
 

Morgan

Puritan Board Freshman
If I had young children and wanted to know if I was raising them properly, I would find an older couple in the church with children that seemed to be raised properly and I would ask them how they accomplished it. Kids are different so just copying someone else is not always going to work but it can give some insight into what you can do. You can also see those with children that are problematic and see if some of that was tied to bad parenting. So, either way, talk to parents in your church.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Sophomore
My wife sent me this. Looks like a secular source obviously. I think there is a fine line between trying to raise children to become ‘good’ adults and attempting to raise robots. I take exception to the expression, ‘children are to be seen not heard’…. Sounds like a recipe for unreported abuse. Obviously, we are raising our children in the Christian faith unapologetically. But what exactly does that look like and when should it stop? Do our kids owe us? Do they owe us lifelong submission? https://www.scarymommy.com/16-characteristics-toxic-parents/
Sadly enough, in one branch of my family--strict, Dutch Reformed--the 'children should be seen and not heard' dictum was followed rigidly. And it did indeed correlate with severe physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. The extreme wickedness of my great-great grandfather actually features briefly in an anecdote recorded in an evangelical, spiritual growth book written by a cousin. It didn't end there, sadly, as my great-grandfather continued the cycle of abuse with his own children.

Not to minimize the failings of the latter; but in conservative, Christian circles, at least, I've seen far more damage done by overly strict parenting than by permissive parenting.

My grandmother died a very unhappy woman. In the last years of her life, she seemed to be reliving the abuse she had suffered and feeling that her life had been a failure. If I knew everything I know now, I would have liked to have told her that by God's grace she had broken the cycle of abuse, and I think that ranks pretty big as a life achievement.
 
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A.Joseph

Puritan Board Junior
Sadly enough, in one branch of my family--strict, Dutch Reformed--the 'children should be seen and not heard' dictum was followed rigidly. And it did indeed correlate with severe physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. The extreme wickedness of my great-great grandfather actually features briefly in an anecdote recorded in an evangelical, spiritual growth book written by a cousin. It didn't end there, sadly, as my great-grandfather continued the cycle of abuse with his own children.

Not to minimize the failings of the latter; but in conservative, Christian circles, at least, I've seen far more damage done by overly strict parenting than by permissive parenting.

My grandmother died a very unhappy woman. In the last years of her life, she seemed to be reliving the abuse she had suffered and feeling that her life had been a failure. If I knew everything I know now, I would have liked to have told her that by God's grace she had broken the cycle of abuse, and I think that ranks pretty big as a life achievement.
Thanks for sharing, I appreciate it.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Point well taken.

Do you think some of these lines are crossed on the regular in reformed circles with greater frequency?

Don’t get me wrong, hippie-raise-yourself-parenting will just create little heathen children. But wondering if there is a mild epidemic of more than just helicopter parenting that is commonplace in Christian Reformed circles right up unto pre-adulthood and beyond
I'll try to narrow it down. Like I said about this lady above, she is all over the place. While a few terrible parents can be characterized as altogether toxic, more often just one or two of these traits are present. Let's take "characteristic" number 5- They are often more judgmental of their own kids than anyone else's. This cuts both ways. There is a kind of parent, of all belief systems including Christians, that think their kid is nigh perfect and if it were not for those negative worldly influences their progeny's fleece would be white as snow. I find those folks ridiculous, but they stay away from me as they wouldn't want their kids around my daughters.

Most of these characteristics are ends of a spectrum. Absentee parents on one end and the father in Dead Poets Society on the other.
 
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