7 Parenting Myths that Damage Kids

7 Parenting Myths that Damage Kids
September 23, 2014 Matthew L. Jacobson

A myth: By definition, it isn’t true.

But, that doesn’t matter. A myth doesn’t need truth to have the power to severely damage a person’s life.

What we believe defines how we live – not what we say we believe but what we actually believe. This truth plays out in concrete terms in the lives of our children over the course of our parenting. In time, parents inevitably discover that the myths (beliefs) under which they raised their kids are not only false, but destructive.

The good news is that even if your parenting is based on one or more of these myths, you can change course, re-establish your relationship with your child on a proper foundation and recover lost ground.

Is your parenting based on any of these myths?


Myth #1 My angry spirit in dealing with my kids is no big deal.

True Story: Anger destroys relationships. Parental anger destroys        relationships with children. Angry outbursts (regardless of how you justify them    based on the circumstances) close the heart of the child they are directed against. When young and parents have power over them, children lay low and employ avoidance techniques. When older, they leave both physically and relationally . . . which is the proper biblical response. According to the Bible, your kids should get away from you: Do not become the friend of a man given to anger. Do not go with him. Proverbs 22:24 Anger in parenting is a great big (destructive) deal.


Myth #2 Disciplining and correcting my kids matters more than loving them.

True Story:     We have to be careful here because proper discipline is a part of love in action. The Bible says that God disciplines those he loves Hebrews 12:6. Too often, love is missing from our discipline. But, more to the point of this myth, if you see your job as “Corrector in Chief” and spend the majority of time there as a parent, relationship with your child is being missed. Eventually, they’ll get sick of it and turn the volume down on your input. I like the 90/10 Rule and have to tell myself of it often: 90% positive input/fun/and affirmation – 10% discipline and correction. The foundation of the former creates willingness to receive the latter. Seeking a positive, affirming, loving relationship should have a far greater emphasis in parenting than a focus on correction. The irony here is, the deeper, loving, and open a parent’s relationship is to a child, the less need there is for discipline.


Myth #3 Quality Time with my child is more important than Quantity Time

True Story:     You can’t decide to have quality time. Quality Time is something that happens on its own (often when it is least expected) in the midst of the Quantity Time we are spending with our children.

Love. It’s the one word every child can spell perfectly but many parents don’t know how they spell it. Do you know how a child spells love? T I M E.

Many parents try to make up for the lack of time they spend with their kids with lavish gifts and grand trips. It doesn’t work. Kids eventually recognize they are being bribed. There is no substitute for the time that says, “You are a priority to me.” Quality time emerges from the time you spend with your child. It’s not something parents can decide they’re going to have.


Myth #4 My kids won’t be negatively impacted from our bad, acrimonious marriage.

True Story:    Children are massively impacted by the way their parents interact with each other. Loving, secure marriage relationships engender secure, confident children. Insecurity and anxiety are rampant among children where parents have an unstable marriage. Yes, by God’s grace, these things can be overcome but the myth has to go. Your marriage is of major influence in the life of your kids . . . for good or ill.


Myth #5  It’s effective to keep telling my kids what is right even if my life doesn’t quite match what I have been saying is true, through the years.

True Story:    Children have no respect for hypocrites, whether or not they come in the form of “parent”. The results of that disrespect may not manifest for years but it will, at some point, break forth. Whatever you plant grows. The law of the harvest is never broken.

If what you teach and how you live are at odds with one another, it’s time to stop pontificating . . . for that is all such teaching amounts to.


Myth #6 The Church is primarily where my kids should learn about God.

True Story:     If the local church is where young people learn about God, why do approximately 80% of them leave the church by the time they are 18, never to return? Relying on the local church to teach your children Who God is and how to enter into a relationship with Him is a major-league gamble. The odds say you’re placing a losing bet on a matter of eternal consequence. It’s not just a gamble. It’s an unbiblical gamble.

The Bible does not teach that the Church gathering is where your kids are primarily to learn about God, although in a Bible teaching Church they will, rightly, learn there. But, read Deuteronomy 6, where God expressly states that the responsibility of teaching children about Him is, primarily, Dad’s responsibility.

You can do it, Dad, (so can you, single Mom, though you’re carrying far more than God intended). You have a Bible. You have the Holy Spirit. Open The Book. Read a little . . . and tell your children what it says. (If you need some ideas on how to get started, click here)


Myth #7 It’s the Church Youth Group, therefore, it’s a good, safe place for my kids.

True Story:     The local church youth group might be a good place for your kids but I doubt it, based on the statistics mentioned above and a few others:

Q: How many Church kids in North American churches have sex?

A: About the same percentage as the general population

Q: How many Church kids contract STDs?

A: About the same percentage as the general population

Q: How many Church kids use drugs?

A: About the same percentage as the general population

Q: How many Church kids have abortions?

A: About the same percentage as the general population

The idea of “youth group” is not found in the Bible. Clearly, that doesn’t automatically make it bad (light bulbs aren’t in the Bible, either) but it isn’t automatically good just because it is sanctioned by someone and occurs in a building called “The Church”.

Many youth groups are in a competition with Satan trying to prove Jesus is more fun. (If you are inclined to get worked up over this statement, please reflect on the statistics prior to writing and setting me straight)

There’s nothing wrong with fun but, the youth group your kids attend is good only if it is a holy place, lead by mature, godly adults who are challenging the young people to live for God and to turn away from the illusion of this world.

Just because a myth is common doesn’t make it okay. Christian parents are called to parent – disciple their kids – in truth. God bless you as you seek to parent your children in truth and love.

3 John 1:4 – I have no greater joy than to hear my children are walking in truth.

Parenting in truth and love is a huge challenge where enticing myths abound but, if God is for you, who can be against you? And, Dad & Mom, God IS for you!


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