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If parenting styles were like movie genres, which would yours be?


About half of my vocabulary as an adult is derived from movie lines.

In fact, about half of my friendships were forged while watching movies over and over together.

(Anyone else willing to fess up to this?)

I've actually been enjoying this movie-truth as my kids get older and I can introduce them to some of my favorite films.

Sidenote: some of my favorites don't always click with every kid, though. I shared one particular film and heard this in my kitchen the next day:

Son #1: "I think Napoleon Dynamite is in my top 10 favorite movies."

Son #2: "It's my lowest, rock solid."

Back to the topic: movies don't merely inform our dialogue, but they also represent how we live and lead our kids. Have you ever considered which type of movie symbolizes your parenting style?

If parenting style stereotypes were like movie genres, here's what they might be like

  • Do you parent like an action movie? In this style of parenting, we expect there to be something active happening in every scene. Kids are expected to follow our lead because we call the shots and don't explain ourselves. The clinical term for this is "Authoritarian Parenting," and it turns our kids into sidekicks in our adrenaline-filled plot.
  • Do you parent like a romance? When one person is interested in the affections of another, all sorts of flexibility is present. For example, a common phrase in many courtships is, "I don't know, what do you want to do?" "Permissive Parenting" is like this, for it makes few demands on kids and gives way more than it gets. By giving but not requiring maturity in return from our kids, we become less of a parent who leads them and more of a peer they can manipulate.
  • Do you parent like a comedy? What makes most comedies funny is the presence of tension against freedom, usually involving a "straight man" and a "funny man." This is "Authoritarian Parenting" again because there are solid expectations and rules that kids are expected to follow along with grace for kids to grow into these guidelines for living.
  • Do you parent like a sci-fi film? Something interesting about movies that center around aliens, time travel, or other realms is how we can partially relate to it while realizing a large part of it is beyond us. We can unfortunately parent our kids in the same way by making sure they have what they need to get through their day while at the same time keeping ourselves distant and a mystery. "Uninvolved Parenting" like this involves little communication throughout the day and borders on neglect.

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There are plenty of other genres we might relate to, but chances are you saw yourself in at least one of the categories above. You may likewise see your spouse in a different category based on his or her parenting style.

One consistency in all of these is that our kids want to feel that we're being fair and reasonable before they agree to comply with our requests. The inconsistency, of course, is that not every approach values this. We may be driven to do things a certain way based on how we were raised or where we currently live, or opt to balance out our spouse in a tense situation.

However we approach it, our goal is to introduce our kids to the "story" of God. We don't parent to nurture our agenda, but to foster a divine anticipation toward him based on what they see in us.

What kind of movie do you think you're most like when you’re parenting your kids? Perhaps you might even relate to a specific movie. If so, which one?

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