Fear or Respect? Democracy or Dictatorship?

Are you a parent? Do you rule your household with an iron fist? Do you have a Democracy or a Dictatorship? Would you prefer your children to FEAR you or RESPECT you?
As a parent one of the hardest things to do is to find a parenting style that is multifaceted. Your parenting style has to be Firm but Loving, Strict but Lenient, Strong but Flexible. You want your children to listen to you and obey your rules, but you also want to be a friend and confidant to them. You need to have what I like to call a Democratic dictatorship, which gives you the best of both worlds. HOWEVER, finding that balance is very tricky!

The main differences between a DEMOCRACY and a DICTATORSHIP are pretty simple.


There is Voting;
Voice your opinion;
You are asked, NOT told;
Your voice will be heard;
You have part ownership; and
You have input on decisions.


There is No voting;
The Ruler decides;
Your opinion does not count; and
You are told, NEVER asked.

So which of these do you have at home? Would you rather your child did EVERYTHING you said without questions or objections? Or would you prefer that your child made some of their own decisions and learned from their own mistakes?

When I was a younger parent I wanted my kids to TOTALLY FEAR ME!! BUT then (well not right then, maybe some years later…) I came to my senses! I would much rather have my children’s RESPECT than their FEAR.
Ephesians 6:4 says
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Proverbs 22:6 says
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

But the bible does NOT say make your child fear you, or respect you to get what you want.

However, the bible DOES SAY
Deuteronomy 5:16 …
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

So, the bible does not tell you to make them respect you and the bible does not tell you to make them fear you. Hmmm.

When I was a child growing up I had a definite perception of my mother’s parenting style. In my mind I saw her tyrannical reign as a Dictatorship. I saw her as the “DO AS I SAY and NOT AS I DO” type of parent. I am not sure if that is what she was aiming for. I’m not even sure if she really knew or cared how I perceived her. But in my mind, she ruled with Fear. I think I rebelled against the perception of being dictated too. However as I got older I saw that her parenting style wasn’t really a dictatorship or a democracy. It was more of a “Let’s Try This and See If This Works” type of parenting. I think she was confused and wasn’t really sure how to go about effective parenting, which in turn confused me! Don’t get me wrong, I in no way had a bad childhood. As a matter of fact, looking back I can honestly say my childhood was pretty darn good! But at the time, I didn’t know if I liked it very much!
So not only do we have to be effective in our parenting, but we have to watch what perceptions we exude.

I do not want my children to fear me and I can not make them respect me, BUT I can treat them in such a way that they honor me! Oh and guess what HONOR is RESPECT! So you can not force them to respect you, but you can act, behave, perform, treat them in such a way that they will give you Honor (Respect)!

What Kind of Parent are You?

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Mema
    Nov 02, 2010 @ 18:06:05

    When I was raising my children I had what I called a Democratic Dictatorship. Let me explain. I had the final say, but my daughters were always able to voice there opinions. There opinions sometimes swayed my final decision and sometimes not. It depended on what was best for the family. In being a parent and not trying to dumb down and just be their friend, I believe my daughters came to respect me, even when they didn't understand me.

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