How Defensive Parenting Changes Kids

How Defensive Parenting Changes Kids - Parenting Like HannahDid you take our quiz, Are You a Defensive Parent? How do you think you did? How many “Yes” answers did you have? Unfortunately, the number of “Yes” answers isn’t as important as to which questions you answered “Yes”.

Defensive parenting really has two parts to it. Both are equally critical to the ultimate results you may have in attempting to dedicate your kids to God. Your ultimate goal of course is for your kids to end up in Heaven. A more immediate goal is to have them become active, productive, faithful Christians. To accomplish both goals, you need to help your kids build strong faith foundations and reach their godly potential.

That’s where defensive parenting plays a huge role. If you have developed a defensive attitude about your parenting, then your goals for your kids are in danger. We don’t talk about it very much, but defensiveness is often a sign of a lack of humility. We like to think it is protecting ourselves from being hurt, but in reality when we become defensive about our parenting, we are saying their is no one (and sometimes that also includes God) who can teach us anything worthwhile about parenting – especially Christian parenting.

Granted, you have to be careful to whom you listen, but you need to really listen to everyone. Take what they say and compare it to what God teaches in the Bible. God is the perfect parenting expert. Often experts on television and on best seller lists aren’t giving godly or even sound parenting advice. Well meaning Christians don’t always give godly advice either. New and modern are not necessarily better. Neither are old or classic. Godly parenting is what your kids need and you will have to work to find out what that means.

Often, we are blind to our failings as people, as Christians and as parents. Our kids can have their futures torn apart by our parenting mistakes. Yes, God’s grace may cover our mistakes and sins, but why make unnecessary mistakes on our kids by being defensive when others offer advice?

Listen and think it through. Is the person godly? Do they have kids or work with kids a lot? If they have kids, are they godly or has the person learned what mistakes they made and are trying to help you avoid the same mistakes? And don’t forget your parents. They made mistakes, but did they point you towards God? Did they teach you how to obey God and live a Christian life? It’s toughest to listen to our parents because we want some separation, but if they did a great job with you, then they may just be giving you really good advice – even if it differs from the guy on Good Morning America!

And what about the other defensive parenting? You need to protect and defend your kids from Satan. Yes, I’m using the “S” word because Satan will fight hard for your kids. And he’s tricky and insidious. He lulls parents into a false sense of security. He encourages you to let your kids be popular and fit in – even if you think some of the things those kids are doing are probably not great for your kids. He will convince you baseball is more important than Church and good grades are more important than knowing what God wants from them and for them. Did I mention Satan is tricky?

Protecting your kids is the right kind of defensive parenting. Your kids shouldn’t be naive though. They need to understand why you are protecting them and what you are trying to help them avoid. They need to understand how to eventually develop their own defenses against Satan. Just keeping them totally naive to the very existence of evil can and often does have negative consequences when they are suddenly introduced to it in situations they are not prepared to handle.

Does defensive parenting help your kids? Not if you are defensive about learning from God and others how to be the best Christian parent you can possibly be. If you are defending your kids from Satan and teaching them how to defend themselves from Satan’s tricks, then being a defensive parent is great! You just need to practice defending without being defensive!

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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