Your session will end in  seconds due to inactivity. Click here to continue using this web page.
The Study Bible - A Bible that gives you instant access to all of John’s teaching on the passage you’re reading.
Friday, October 15, 2010 | Comments (4)

Have you ever noticed how many different approaches you watch parents take with their kids? Some parents treat their kids like little buddies—that accepting friend they always wanted but could never find. Others are the exact opposite, ruling over their kids with an iron fist, enforcing good behavior with intimidation and threats. It’s the dictator ruling over his subjects. And then you talk to some parents who are fulfilling dreams vicariously through the lives of their children. They enforce a strict regimen of disciplined training and study so the children will excel in sports, the arts, or education.

Whether a parent elevates the child unduly (friendship parenting), causes him to cower in fear (authoritarian parenting), or drives her to achieve (dream-fulfillment parenting), the poor kid completely misses the opportunity to enjoy what God created him or her to be…a kid. Childhood is lost because of the self-centeredness of the parent.

None of that has anything to do with God’s design for childhood. Here’s the approach God intended. It’s simple, biblical, and we think your kids might like it a lot better. Here’s John MacArthur to explain . . .

Listen to this 9-minute clip:

Launch Player  |  Download  |  Full Sermon

Now that you’ve learned what God wants from your parenting, consider these questions for the comment thread:

(1) Which comes easier for you in the task of parenting, discipline or instruction? Why?

(2) What other worldly models of parenting do you sometimes see even Christian parents adopting?


You have 3000 characters remaining for your comment. Note: All comments must be approved before being posted.


#1  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Monday, October 18, 2010 at 6:27 PM

2nd question,

I was told yrs ago, A family had a deaf son and they don't seem to

love him or how to raise the child. They lock him in a room for 15

yrs with daily food and water. After, the child comes out, the child does not know English and acts as a animal acts. This is not the first, it has happen in past. This is a true story. That's why we must love our children as Jesus loves us and raise them in the way the Lord says in His Word.

God bless.

#2  Posted by Matthew Watson  |  Monday, October 18, 2010 at 6:31 PM

My wife and I have taken custody of her 2 nieces, and it has been a challenge. They are 11 and 12 years old, and my wife and I are 28 and 30. They were not really in a structured environment due to sickness with their care giver. To me instruction and discipline are equally as hard.

I have seen people use the friend method of parenting, and the dictator method.They have been disaterous. My parents did a great job I feel. There were rules, and there were consequences for breaking them. Not sure how to push them to accomplish their ability level in school. I have tried money for A's and trouble for bad grades. I would be thankful for any advice.

#3  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 8:51 AM


Thanks for sharing your story. Of course, the most important thing for you and your wife is to study what God has to say about rearing children in Scripture. In addition to that, my advice is to supplement your study of Scripture with John MacArthur’s Fulfilled Family Series. It’s available for free download at the following link:

Also, I would consult the leadership of your local church. It would bless your pastors to hear your story, provide some practical counsel, unite with you in prayer, and encourage you and your wife in your journey. I hope that helps.

#4  Posted by Andy Bailey  |  Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 10:51 AM

To answer question 1, disciplining comes easier than instruction, for me. Discipline is a reaction to wrong behavior and attitudes while instruction is proactive. I really have to work hard at being proactive. It isn't as easy, but it is necessary for instructing my daughter.

To answer question 2, I have seen the authoritarian style played out to an extreme. The father is passive-aggressive toward his children with a quick temper. One minute, he is his children's buddy, ignoring their bad behavior altogether; and the next he is yelling at them for smallest mistakes and in his eyes, his children can't do anything right. Then he ignores them and acts as if he doesn't care about them. It's a vicious cycle that keeps repeating.

The children have quick tempers, just like their father, and are bullies to other children. Not a good situation.