5 Signs You Might Be A Fear Based Parent

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Episode Summary

If you don’t disciple your kids, you might grow into fear-based parenting and not even realize it. We give four other common reasons well-intentioned Christian parents become fear-based that dramatically hurts their relationship and Spiritual maturity. Regardless of your kid’s ages, this is a must listen to episode.

In this episode of courageous parenting, we discuss five signs that you may be a fear-based parent. Now, of course, nobody wants to be a fear-based parent but unfortunately, if we are honest with ourselves some of the things we will discuss in this episode can easily creep into our hearts and minds making us fearful in the parenting of our children. 

If we are realistic about the world we live in today and we don’t ever have fear it would be reasonable to question whether we are even human. The reality is that everyone has struggled with fear at one point in their life, we have struggled with fear before but what is important is what you do with that fear. It is important to recognize that if you are fearing circumstances or if you are fearing man or the world, then you are not fearing God and ultimately that is what it comes down to. Fearing God instead of the devil and the finite things of the world. 

It’s interesting, often what we think is the right thing to do, or what we naturally do, which is to be concerned about the world that we are launching our kids into is the opposite of real wisdom when we are close to God and fearing him only. So when we in our humanity are walking in our flesh and we start struggling with something that we are fearing we need to ask ourselves if we have been in the word and if you have been choosing to walk in the spirit.

Let’s dive into the five signs that you might be a fear-based parent, but before we do it is important to take a step back and make sure that you have a humble and receptive heart, because if you don’t and your so eager to make sure that you don’t relate to any of the five signs we are about to share then your perception of yourself and the reality might be skewed by pride. So we encourage you to take a second and pray that God would reveal in you anything that needs to change or be improved upon because if you are not honest with where you are at then you cannot improve. 

So, let’s dive in

The 5 Signs That You Might Be A Fear-Based Parent

  1. You Don’t Fear God, But You Do Fear Man And Circumstances

  2. You Fear The Day Your Child Leaves The Home. 

  3. You Don’t Let Them Learn From Their Mistakes

  4. You Continue To Control Their Lives In The Teenage Years

  5. You Do Not Disciple Your Kids

1. You Don’t Fear God, But You Do Fear Man And Circumstances

  • This is the first sign that you might be a fear-based parent. 
  • Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
  • Do you believe that? Do you believe that God is with you wherever you go? Now, your initial reaction to that might be “yes” but if you analyze how you go through the day, week and month are you acting that out in your life? Do you have a real trust in God that he is going to take care of you as long as you stay strong in your faith and walk righteously?
  • An example of fearing man instead of god would be peer pressure, more specifically parental peer pressure. Maybe your kid wants to go to a friend’s house for a sleepover and you feel pressured by your kid and the other kid’s parents and if you say no you are the bad guy. 
  • If you are truly doing it for the lord, then you should not feel like you need to defend yourself to anyone. If you feel like you need to defend yourself and make people understand why you are making certain decisions then maybe, just maybe you are fearing man, not God. 
  • Do you stand for your convictions and act upon them in your life? If you can’t stand for your convictions then you are not living in freedom. 
  • Are you doing what you are doing because of man or are you doing what you are doing because of God? Are faith and walk with God should never be changed because some human changed. Whatever you are doing whether it be homeschooling or anything in life, you should be doing it because you have your own personal convictions to do it and because you believe it is what God wants for you, so if the leaders of your homeschool community stop homeschooling that does not mean you should too. 
  • Proverbs 14:26 says “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.”
  • If you look like the world, then you are probably not fearing God and you are probably easily swayed by the culture.

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2. You Fear The Day Your Child Leaves The Home. 

  • Have you struggled with the thought of your kids moving out or going to college? I’m sure every parent has! But not just because you are attached to them and you love them but because you are scared of the world and what it might do to your child. 
  • We have heard it spoken from many people, even from the church pulpit that if your kids go to college they will lose their faith. Yes, it does happen. However, to just flat out say that and to put a high statistic on it is not wise and it is cultivating a spirit of fear. We as parents should not decide whether our kids should go to college based on other children deciding to walk away from God. we should be making that decision based upon spiritual maturity and that is where most parents get it wrong. 
  • Now, is it college’s fault? Many colleges are completely liberal and anti-God but is it the college’s fault, or the parenting? By the time your child is ready and old enough to go to college, they are probably too old for you to make those decisions for them anyways but it is your responsibility to equip them and raise them up in the Lord and teach them to have a personal relationship with God so that by the time they are young adults and ready to head off to college they won’t be swayed by other people and their corrupt beliefs.
  • No matter what your child decides to do with their life they will receive equal temptation as everyone else. It is your job to teach them when they are young how to fight that temptation and lean on God. Ultimately, everyone has to choose God for themselves and there is nothing we as parents can do to earn our children salvation, but our parenting has a major impact on our kid’s spiritual maturity and walks with God. 
  • If we are in fear and dread of the day that our children leave the home and we make our decisions based upon that fear, we could potentially be holding our children back from the purpose that God has for them. Often the things that we fear we tend to inadvertently encourage. Often when you are overly controlling of your kids especially as they get older it will backfire on you. And the reality is that if you had been more controlling when they needed it when they were younger they would have developed more respect for you by the time they are older. 
  • Matthew 5:13 says “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
  • We are called to train up our kids to be salty, how can you do that if your kids don’t know what’s going on in the world? How can your kids know what it means to be salty, to stand out and be a light for christ if they don’t know what the world looks like?
  • If you are scared of the world then you are unlikely to properly equip them for it because you will isolate them. 
  • Psalms 127:1-4 says “Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.”
  • Philippians 4:6 says “Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.”
  • If you know that scripture if you love that scripture and if you look at it often guess what you are going to tend to do, you are going to teach that scripture to your kids. It is a trickle effect. If you fear the world, your kids will fear the world and how can they be arrows that are shot into the world to make a difference if they are in fear? Your children will mimic your behaviors. 
  • You must surrender your path to God’s path for your kids. Subconsciously we are often pushing our path and if we let that happen we will ill equip our children for what God truly wants for them, and if we parent in fear we will cause more problems than if we were to trust in God and fear him only. 

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3. You Don’t Let Them Learn From Their Mistakes

  • Do you let your children experience the natural consequences of their mistakes? If you are constantly picking up their messes and cleaning up after them they will not learn. Generally speaking, we all need to feel at least a little bit of pain in order not to do something again. The most independent strong-minded kids need to learn from their mistakes the most, and if you helicopter parent them, they might just go off the deep end later. 
  • If you helicopter parent your kids then they might grow up with a rosy view of themselves and not ever realize their sin and that they have a need for a savior. If your kids do not understand that they are sinful then they will believe that there is no reason for Jesus. 
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 says “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
  • First of all, God does give us more than we can handle, because if he didn’t then we wouldn’t need the holy spirit. With the holy spirit, we can handle way more than we could if it were just us in our flesh. 
  • What this verse in first corinthians is saying is that God will not allow us to be tempted to the level that there is no escaping it. When we are tempted to sin we have a choice either to sin and be separated from God or to choose God and remember what he did for us on the cross. 

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4. You Continue To Control Their Lives In The Teenage Years

  • The keyword here is control. This level of control is micromanagement, now, you should always want to be an influence in their life but if you are still controlling every little thing in their teenage years then you are making a huge mistake. If you micromanage your teenagers you are preventing them from ever taking responsibility and making wise choices. As parents it is important that we realize that at some point we need to take a step back and let them be more independent, now you shouldn’t treat them like they are all on their own. When they are in their teenage years they are still living under your roof they are not self-reliant and they should still abide by your rules but you should not treat them the same way you treat your eight year old or twelve year old, but at some point, you need to allow them to reap and sow and when you don’t allow that growth to happen you end up with men who act like boys and women who act like girls, and this is something that we see all around us in society!
  • Their needs to be a transition in parenting. And this is something that a lot of parents don’t see a need for but at some point, while they are still in your home you need to transition from directing to asking questions, from teaching and training to mentoring and encouraging.
  • Now, you may not have teenagers yet and you might be wondering if this podcast is even relevant to you. Here’s the thing, everything you do before your children reach the teenage years will determine whether they will respect you, whether they will want you as a mentor in the future and whether they will accept your wisdom. 
  • Proverbs 19:21 says “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.”
  • The Lord’s plans are what matter, if you are making decisions out of fear and you are controlling your kids you may be preventing them from going to the Lord and pursuing what he wants for their life. Do you want your kids to fulfill your will for their life or God’s will for their life? 

 5. You Do Not Disciple Your Kids

  • The final sign that you might be a fear-based parent is that you do not disciple your kids. The more you disciple your kids and prepare them biblically the more they will understand with a biblical point of view the issues of the world and the more prepared they are the more excited you will be to launch your kids into the world. Now the opposite of that is this, if you are not reading the word to them, if you are not discipling them, if they are unaware of what is going on in the world then you are probably very fearful and have major anxiety. Now this might be you right now, you might be realizing that you have not done what you need to do in order to successfully launch your kids into the world but here is the encouragement, it is never too late. 
  • If you have kids that are under thirteen to fourteen years old right now and you are not discipling them, the chances are that you will be a fear-based parent when they are teenagers. 
  • If you are a parent of teenagers right now and you’re struggling with being a fear-based parent then that is a reflection on how much spiritual maturity you believe your child has and how well you think they can make wise choices. If these two things are true about your beliefs of your children then that means there is probably a lack of spiritual maturity in your child and that might not necessarily be your fault. If you have discipled your kids and read the bible to them and taught them diligently and they are still not walking with the Lord that is not your fault. It is not your responsibility to save your kids, there is nothing you can do to earn your child salvation that is something that the Holy Spirit does in their heart so you need to lay that down at the altar of the Lord and that might not happen while they are in the home. They might get launched into the world without believing in Jesus as their Lord and savior. 
  • If you have done everything that you can do and you lay it before the lord you can be walking in peace. That doesn’t mean that you’re never going to be fearful for your child that doesn’t mean that you are never going to be crying out to God for them when children are walking through trials and hardships parents are lead to their knees for their children. 
  • Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
  • This verse is something that we can bank on. This is a promise. But this is also a warning of reaping what you sow and if you neglect your God-given role to raise up your child in the Lord you will reap that in the future. We are praying for you guys and we are hoping that you are sowing good fruit in your family and that you will reap a bounty. We pray that you will look back on your legacy and just praise God for the legacy that he has trusted you to be a part of. 

Scripture In This Episode:

Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Proverbs 14:26 – “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.”

Matthew 5:13 – “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Psalms 127:1-4 – “Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.”

Philippians 4:6 – “Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 –“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Proverbs 19:21 – “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.”

Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

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Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of CourageousMom.com, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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