3 Parenting Styles Identified in Scripture

Much research has gone into parent-child relationships. As a result “parenting styles” have been identified by popular psychology. But did you know that Scripture identifies a few “parenting styles” as well?

As the parenting styles are outlined in this article, I encourage you to think of it as a continuum. As I looked over this diagram, I can honestly say my parenting slides back and forth on the scale. But, there is a sweet spot that we are to aim for. Let’s see what it is…



Parenting Style #1

Parents, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. ~Colossians 3:21

This is a clear warning to avoid causing bitterness and resentment in our children (more on that here). Paul goes on to identify the unwanted outcome – our kids can become discouraged.

So what kind of things causes discouragement (to lose confidence or enthusiasm). Some specific examples include being over-critical, pointing out the weaknesses and forgetting to acknowledge of the strengths. Comparing one siblings weakness to another’s strength is another pattern that leads to discouragement in our kids.

It’s also disheartening when we use harsh words or reacting angrily (more on why we choose anger here). Even the right words with the wrong tone and eye rolling and head shaking is damaging. The result is discouragement.

Parenting Style #2

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death. ~Proverbs 23:13-14

According to commentaries on Proverbs 23, withholding consequences can lead to spiritual decline and disobedience. It also goes on to say that a lack of discipline is equal to a lack of love demonstrated.

Parenting Style #3

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. ~Hebrews 12:11

Paul identifies “the sweet spot”. The sweet spot is the “optimum combination of factors or qualities”. Discipline is necessary. Clear rules, boundaries and consequences are part of effective discipline.

The blessing is a harvest of righteousness and peace. Reminder- this is a continuum that we all slide back and forth on.

Full disclosure- my words can be harsh when I’m impatient and I watch teachable moments pass by when I’m tired. I aim for the sweet spot and by God’s grace I sometimes hit a bull’s-eye. When I don’t – there’s more grace.


Three parenting styles are identified in scripture.

  • Don’t establish patterns of critical and harsh words.
  • Don’t establish a pattern that makes excuses for the kids and avoid the pain of discipline.
  • Do establish a pattern of discipline with gentle firmness speaking the truth in love.
    As you aim for “The Sweet Spot”, establishing that pattern of discipline, grasp onto Grace.

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