Over-Reacting or Interacting…What’s Your Parenting Tactic?

Posted: January 26, 2012 in Entertainment/Media, Faith/Christianity, Parents & Families
Tags: , ,

In my 41 years I’ve met a lot of different parents, and many different parenting styles.  I’ve seen the ultra-permissive parent who is more concerned about their kids and friends liking them, than they are about being a responsible parent.  I’ve seen the negligent parent who doesn’t have more maturity than their middle school children.  I’ve encountered the ‘nazi’ parent…the ones who follow the letter-of-the-law no matter what, and who feel that rules are the way to holiness and maturity.  And I’ve met many parents (actually most of the parents I meet fit this category) who try as best they can to parent with a balanced  approach with their families.  There’s one common denominator, in most cases, and that is the fact that these parents are making choices and decisions that they feel are best for their kids, and want to do whatever it takes to raise a healthy and sound family.

Along the way though, there will be times when we as parents choose to over-react to situations…like the time I got all worked up because my daughter spilled milk all over the couch.  You’d think a 3-year-old would know better!  And they’ll be other times when we actually take the mature road and decide to interact with our children…talk them through choices and explain the ‘why’s‘ behind the ‘because I said so.’  This is something Amy and I are learning to do more often now that 2 of our kids are in school, and we’re not the only influence in their lives.  It’s a delicate balancing act for parents, because there is much that happens in the life of our kids that we could easily get worked up about…choices they make in friendships/relationships, music & entertainment, attitude, etc…

I was a firm believer before, and even more since becoming a parent, that an interacting parent is FAR more effective than an over-reacting one.  That doesn’t mean we open the flood gates of experience and let our kids dive in first, then talk about it later.  But what it does mean is talking through choices together, and coming to choices and establishing consequences together.  Parents still make the rules, but they let their kids carry some of the materials and let them get a bit dirty during the construction project.  Take music for instance, there’s been a lot of hype over Rihanna’s #1 hit song and video, We Found Love.  It’s a song millions of teens/pre-teens are listening to, but many parents would have issue with.  There’s a powerful message within the song and video that has been connecting with teenage girls all over North America.  But just what exactly is the message teen girls are hearing, and should parents over-react to it…or take time to interact with our kids about the message?  It’s a great opportunity to ask questions…what is the song really saying?  What is the artist communicating about their understanding of life, sexuality, relationships, authority?  Where is God in this message, and what would He have to say based on His word?

There’s three very good blog posts from The Source For Youth Ministry‘s Jonathan McKee I’d like to direct you to that address the over-reacting vs. interacting parenting model.  The first is a direct response to Rhianna’s song We Found Love, the second addresses the parental aspect of being Too Strict, or Too Lenient, and the third asks the very loaded and potentially explosive question (at least for teens!)…Should We Read our Kids Texts? 

Jonathan is a noted author, speaker and youth pastor/worker that has been involved in ministry to teens and families for a couple of decades now…he’s got some insightful and wise things to share!  And as an added bonus, you can watch Jonathan’s talk on Parenting the Texting Generation that he gave at North Park Community Church in Valencia, California last week!


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