Parenting seems to be twisted up with Christianity in some strange ways. There is a certain logic to the notion that God is our heavenly parent, just as we are parents; therefore our relationship with our children should reflect our relationship with our Lord. This is a great metaphor, but it is just a metaphor. We cannot literally take on a divine role with our children. I could have all sorts of fun with the absurd notion of taking this to the extreme. By the way, sexual relations between a man and woman can also be represented metaphorically by the relationship between God and mortals. I don’t think too many modern women equate their husband with God. I think when it comes to earthly relationships it is always best to stick with the literal, the known and the observable. Christian values and parenting are inextricable, but they are not the same.
Psychologists and sociologists conduct research on all kinds of parenting topics. Studies are done to quantify the effect of various strategies. The best studies take large samples of families from a cross-section of society and multiple data points are collected. Controls are used and conclusions are drawn carefully. From these studies, parents can make informed decisions about how to raise their own children. Of course, we also apply instinct, collective good sense and intergenerational wisdom. When I was having challenges with my toddler’s behavior I sought the advice of a family counselor (after shopping for a good one) and I read some books that were based on those scientific studies. When I had a specific issue I turned to a parenting forum and solicited advice – which I considered critically. Never, not once, did I say “I read this idea on Facebook and I am trying it out on my kids.” And I certainly never said, “My pastor told me I have to do this to my kids. I am praying it works.”
I have been reading forums and blogs about “Gentle Parenting.” I have not yet read a book or scholarly article on the topic. I have not discussed the techniques with a family counselor or a pastor for that matter. Therefore I can not critique the method. All I can say is that one would be wise to consider a large body of knowledge and various sources of information before trying something radically different with child-rearing. From what I have read, Gentle Parenting is based on the notion that we can gently guide our children in the right direction without punishments. It doesn’t sound like such a terrible idea. I plan to read up on it when I have a chance. In the mean time, I am sticking to what I know works based on all the work I have already done to learn the best way to raise my Sprite & Scout.
I have heard that Liberals do not discipline their children. Their children are permitted to do whatever they will, leading to the downfall of our society. I can assure you, that my children are disciplined in a very gentle way. There is no hitting, yelling or shaming. There are some time outs. Privileges are revoked when necessary. (I don’t know if GP’ing allows that.) My children won’t be the downfall of society. They won’t resent organized religions because of the way they were raised. Though they may play a part in reshaping society and organized religion as a result of the way they were raised.