Have You Overparented Your Kids?

 2 Timothy 1:7 – for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Overparenting is “too much involvement by parents in the lives of their children, so that they try to help with or control everything that happens to the child.” (1)

Overparenting is the common overreaction to someone who has experienced a nodal event such as abandonment or abuse. Unless the parent processes and heals from negative nodal events, their trauma can push them to fear, anxiety, and overparenting to prevent the child they love from suffering like they had. 

While the intentions may be good, the results are from fear and not faith and so the results are bad. In extreme circumstances, a fearful parent can bring a demonic spirit of fear into the family system, triggering fear and anxiety in family members. 

2 Timothy 1:7 speaks of this sad state saying, “God gave us a spirit not of fear”. 1 John 4:18 (NLT) says, “love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” 

In some form or fashion, the most common command in the Bible is “fear not”. Why? Because life is painful, which causes the future to make us fearful. Nearly every time that the command is given, we are reminded that God goes with us into the future, which should bring faith instead of fear. Philippians 4:5-7, for example, says, “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Fear never leads us into the will of God. Only faith leads us into the will of God. 

As a general rule, the father pushes toward independence in most families, while the mother pushes toward dependence. Fathers, especially with their sons, generally understand that the journey from man to boy comes with a lot of pain and failure that builds strength and character. 

Mothers, especially with their sons, want to do all they can to minimize or eliminate pain and failure. This often leads to conflict between mom and dad over how to raise the child. When our sons hit the pre-teen years, growing taller as their voice got deeper, they were less inclined to listen to their mom and adept at baiting her into arguments so that she was more like a sister than a mother. 

I stepped in at this time, telling my wife Grace she had been a wonderful mother but that I was moving into the driver’s seat, and she was moving to the passenger seat in raising the boys, because it takes a man to raise a man. 

What practical lessons for investing in your own children or grandchildren did the Holy Spirit highlight for you in this lesson? Are you more prone to over or under parenting? 

  1. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/overparenting

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