I had an interesting conversation a couple of weeks ago with a friend of mine who has had a number of challenges with his oldest daughter (18).  They have had a strained relationship, to say the least, and are in the process of getting some great counseling.  As he and I talked and discussed some of the issues that he and his wife have been dealing with, it occurred to me that they were so afraid of what might happen to their daughter and what she was going to do now that she was graduating that they were parenting her out of fear.  The filter that all of their parenting decisions were sifted through was fear.  I know this guy pretty well and I know that he is a man of great faith.  So, it didn’t add up.  Where was the disconnect that was causing him to react to his fear and not to live by faith?

Fear parenting is really about a desire to maintain control; control of not only behavior but, control of the outcome.

Faith parenting is about trusting God with the outcome of who our kids become.

We are given guidelines and instructions in the Bible about what to teach our kids and how we are to love them.  However, who they become and what they choose to do later in life is not up to us.  Don’t get me wrong, we have to make choices for our kids and protect them from destructive decisions in their childhood but, at what point do we let go of the controls and let them fly on their own?  The answer is somewhere after birth but, before they leave home.  Our kids need to be given freedoms and abilities to make decisions on their own before they leave.  Yes, they may make some dumb and destructive decisions but, we will be there to love them through it and guide them in their own faith journey.

Develop a strategy to slowly hand over the reigns of control to your kids.  The ultimate outcome is that they are making wise choices by the time they leave home.  We are still there to pass along wisdom and guidance when it is asked for.  Acknowledge to your kids that God is their eternal father and they need to rely on Him.  Faith parenting is more likely to result in our kids developing their own faith.  Isn’t that our ultimate goal?

Recommended resource: The High Cost of High Control by Tim Kimmel