Parenting – control to influence

Parents are not owners or dictators of their children but stewards. “Children are a gift from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3).

Parenting is a divine assignment to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Our sons and daughters belong to God. He owns them as Creator and our desire is to see them experience His ownership as Redeemer.

  • Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.”
  • I Peter 1:18-19 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ.”
  • I Corinthians 6:20 “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

The goal of parenting is to raise our children to release them into responsible adulthood.  

Our aim should be to provide a foundation of gospel-centered instruction in a context of godly mentorship leading to responsible adulthood. 

Parenting starts with control and should progressively prepare children to take control. We want them to learn to do more and more on their own as they move toward responsible adulthood.

There is something wrong when a parent remains in control for too long. Parents who do not transition well from control to influence often unnecessarily lose influence as their children push away from control. 

The classic example occurs when a child comes home from college and readjusts to life under his parents. When parents drill their young people with questions they didn’t hear at college, they will face tension at home. This is a good time to talk with them about the nature of the transition and the need for courtesy, respect and responsibility in doing life together at home.  

Parenting is a kind of transfer of responsibility. Its aim is for less dependence on parents and increased independence — based in confident dependence on the Lord.

A common threat to effective parenting occurs when parents tie their identity, purpose and meaning too closely to their children. These parents are sometimes tempted to micromanage their children rather than risk failure.

Transitioning from control to influence is often a scary reality for parents. Trusting our children to take responsibility involves risk but it is necessary for their development.

We must resist all tendencies to parent in a way that serves our needs as parents. 


1. Revisit the five idols parents must avoid. Five Idols of Parenting

2. Know your child’s temperament

3. Be honest about your parenting style

Steve Cornell

About Wisdomforlife

Just another field worker in God's field.
This entry was posted in Family life, Fathers, Parenting, Parenting teens, Teenagers, Wisdom. Bookmark the permalink.

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