Talking to God and Your Spouse About Your Parenting Style

Talking to God and Your Spouse About Your Parenting Style February 26, 2024

What would you do to save your child? Perhaps one of the most extreme examples is what Liam Neeson’s character Bryan Mills does in the box-office hit Taken. After his daughter is kidnapped, this retired CIA agent pulls out all the stops to rescue her, revealing his strong paternal instinct to defend his daughter at all costs. While most dads do not have the technical training in weapons and hand-to-hand combat that Neeson displays in the movie, the desire to nurture and protect governs many of their decisions. What does it take to be good parents? You should talk to each other and to God about parenting.

Communicating Love

Good parents communicate love consistently. As parents, you become models for how your children will perceive God’s love. The way you parent your children will affect the way they relate to God.

The joyful love with which our parents welcomed us and accompanied our first steps in this world is like a sacramental sign and prolongation of the benevolent love of God from which we have come. The experience of being welcomed and loved by God and by our parents is always the firm foundation for authentic human growth and authentic development, helping us to mature on the way towards truth and love, and to move beyond ourselves in order to enter into communion with others and with God. (Pope Benedict XVI, 9 July 2006)

Are you communicating a joyful love to your children? Your family is the first place where they will experience love and learn what to expect from relationships. Why did God create the family? It is precisely to teach us what love is.

Bible on Family Life

As parents, God calls you to hand on the faith to your children. Each one of us is born with a mission in life; to discover that mission, we require the help of others and God’s guidance. How will you make sure to educate your children in the faith? As a family, you are called to “live with fidelity the reality of communion in a constant effort to develop an authentic community of persons” (Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 18).

Couple having a discussion
Couples need to talk about parenting style | Courtesy:

Parenting Styles

As parents, you should become familiar with the different parenting styles and discuss how you grew up and how you want to handle your own home.

Authoritarian Style

Parents who practice the authoritarian style think that children should be seen and not heard. Then, when they think about rules, they think about inflexible inexorable laws that can never be changed, in the worst case. these rules might even be arbitrary. As a joke, my dad used to say that we only had two rules at home: “1. Dad is always right. 2. When in doubt, consult rule number 1.” Now, in the case of my family this was always a joke, but some parents really do think this way and, in doing so, model an authoritarian style of parenting. This type of parenting does not take the child’s feelings into account and often produces an insecure attachment style in the child. If you want to give your child plenty of things to discuss in therapy later in life, authoritarian parenting is one way to accomplish this.

Permissive Style

These parents set rules but don’t enforce them. So, they rarely give consequences for what is going on and figure that their kids will learn best with little involvement on their part. Sometimes, this permissive form of parenting arises due to a desire to seem like a friend of the child.

Uninvolved Style

Uninvolved parents don’t ask their children about homework or school and tend to leave them to their own devices. Like the permissive style, they don’t give consequences, and most of the time may not even set rules. Uninvolved parents don’t tend to spend much time with their children.

Authoritative Style

Authoritative parents put a lot of effort into creating and maintaining a safe environment for their children. They establish a positive relationship and invest time and effort into building this environment every day. They explain the reasoning behind their rules. While this might not be possible immediately in every case, the parents communicate why way of doing things is reasonable, even if sometimes the decision itself is difficult for the child. In a good way, this parenting style results in a predictable household environment in which the child knows his or her boundaries and is aware of the type of consequences to be faced if a transgression occurs. Above all, authoritative parenting communicates to the child that his or feelings are important and respected.

A Great Conversation to Have

Now you should have the tools to speak with your spouse or fiancée about the parenting styles you experienced and how you can prepare to be good parents to your own children. Speak as well about how you want to make sure to be raising them in the faith. When you take your children for baptism, you promise before God and the Church to make sure that they have every opportunity to practice Catholicism. As parents, this is also one of the wisest things you can do, as growing closer to God is the best way to ensure unity within the family.

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Marriage Series

Parenting Style

Temperament and How It Can Make Your Marriage Flourish

5 Keys to Celebrate Blessings in Your Marriage

God’s Plan for Marriage

Contemplating Your Spouse With God’s Eyes

Love Builds Security: God’s Plan for Marriage

About Fr. Nicholas Sheehy, LC
Fr. Nicholas Sheehy was ordained a Catholic priest in 2013 for the Legionaries of Christ. He has been involved in youth work including missions, retreats and apostolic outreach in Germany, Italy, the United States and Central America. He is passionate about the New Evangelization and formation for young adults and married couples. He is a spiritual director and retreat director, offering marriage preparation and marriage counseling through the Divine Mercy Clinic and Family Center. He is currently Executive Director and Chaplain of the Newman Center at St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Pasadena, California. You can read more about the author here.
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