Stop Parenting According to Popular Opinion

Why popular opinion, social media, and online advice can derail parents

Remember, You’re Not Running for Office

I recently heard a candid mom of three young children voice what many believe but won’t say out loud: “I want to be my children’s friend, not their mom. I want them always to feel free to be themselves around me without feeling like I’m imposing what I think onto them.”

Parenting is not a popularity contest nor is it a democracy. God has given parents authority to teach and train their children. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away” (NIV). I love children, and I adore my three sons. Their curiosity and frankness make me smile. Within them, I see wonderful traits and gifts. However, I also realize that they did not come into this world choosing what is best for them. There is no shame when a child is foolish. They naturally choose ice cream over broccoli and selfishness over kindness. The tragedy is when adults are foolish because they have never been taught otherwise. Doting parents allow kids to “trust their instincts” rather than teaching self-discipline, delayed gratification, and respect for God’s authority.

Parenting should never be characterized by harshness or cruel punishment. Even moments of discipline need to be communicated with understanding. However, our job as parents is to correct lovingly and teach our children wisdom. The moment we try to be their friend or garner their approval, we have wandered from the sacred call of motherhood.

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Juli Slattery

Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger. A widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional, she co-founded Authentic Intimacy and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?

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