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What Does Healthy Parenting Look Like?

By Bev and Tom Rodgers 

Our nation’s families are under attack. Traditional marriage once seen as a revered institution and covenant to last a life time has been minimized to a sentimental ceremony or overlooked altogether. This is possibly because of the high divorce rate in our country, and the marriage rate is dropping as singles are deciding to delay marriage while cohabitation rates are skyrocketing. Satan has the family in his evil sights if he can break up a marriage, tempt a teen to rebel, or make a father believe the negative messages of childhood and provoke his children to wrath then he can destroy the family for generations to come. It is for this reason that we wrote the book Becoming a Family That Heals which was published by Focus on the Family. We delineated several premises about healthy families and we will share a few of these with you in this blog. 

Healing Premise #1: Whether you know it or not your childhood does affect your adult relationships. 

Your past does inform your present and future, in fact, if you don’t deal with your past, you could be destined to repeat it. These are psychological premises that are disturbing for those of us who were wounded by our own parents in childhood and vow never to be like our parents. 

We call these wounds from the past soul wounds. A soul wound is defined as a basic need probably from childhood, that was not met that, in some way, impacts the soul. Internalizing this wound will, in most cases, create basic fears the individuals learn to adapt to. For Example, if you were never told that you were loved you may give too much to your child and allow them to get away with behaviors that need boundaries. If you were not affirmed and told you were good enough you can carry that feeling deep in your heart and over do this with your child causing him to believe that they can be unrealistic about their expectations of themselves and 

others. You may do the exact opposite and withhold affirmation from your child because it was done to you and that is all you know of parenting. 

Learning that your past traumas and soul wounds can be stored in your unconscious and leak out on to your children can be sobering but it can also lead you to getting the help you need to heal those wounds and be a healthy parent. The Soul Healing Love Model couples’ psychological principles with Scripture to provide that healing. This dovetails into premise number 2. 

Premise #2: Discipline is a better option than punishment. 

There is a big difference between discipline on punishment. Often punishment is done to teach a child a lesson, to make them pay for their bad deeds. The objective is less to make them pay and more to shape their behavior for the Lord. Discipline does that. Discipline is instructive while punishment is punitive. Too much punishment with loving instruction can provoke your 2 

children to wrath and cause them to rebel. We have seen it many times in family therapy. Not enough discipline can lead to creating a brat who wants his way and has no respect for authority so there is balance you must strike. 

The goal of disciplining your children is to know them so well and love them so much that you find a way to share to ways of the Lord in a language they will understand. Then teaching them about God’s ways is second nature. They will consciously ad unconsciously follow God’s principles so that they will know Him and His soul healing Love like the back of their hand and for them not to follow them would take an act of their will. James Dobson has said many times you want to break their will without breaking their spirit. Punishment breaks the will and causes resentment but discipline breaks the will with out breaking the spirit. For more on this check out our book Becoming a Family That Heals. You can order it on 

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