Parent Leadership Styles and Biblical Anthropology -- By: S. Bruce Narramore

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 135:540 (Oct 1978)
Article: Parent Leadership Styles and Biblical Anthropology
Author: S. Bruce Narramore


Parent Leadership Styles and Biblical Anthropology

S. Bruce Narramore

[S. Bruce Narramore, Associate Professor of Psychology, Rosemead Graduate School of Professional Psychology, La Mirada, California.]

The present generation is experiencing an explosion of Christian literature and seminars on the family. As helpful as this material is, however, much of it suffers from a serious lack of theological moorings. Even books utilizing reams of Scripture tend to do so in a proof-texting manner and consequently fail to grapple with the underlying theological concepts that could provide a solid biblical and theological frame of reference for relevant family applications. Books on rearing children are a good example. Literally hundreds of books are available for parents, from the secular classic Baby and Child Care, by Benjamin Spock,1 to the latest manuals from Christians’ pens.

Unfortunately, these books offer a mass of conflicting theories and advice. Even Christian authors cannot agree on some very fundamental issues. On physical discipline, for example, Fabrijio writes:

My obedience to God to train my child requires that every time I ask him to do something, whatever it is, I must see that he obeys. When I have said it once in a normal tone, if he does not obey immediately, I must take up the switch and correct him enough to hurt so he will not want it repeated.2

On the same topic Hendricks writes, “There are too many people running around with a biblical two by four who really don’t know

very much of what the Scriptures teach regarding discipline.”3 Writing on the topic of obedience, authority, and respect, Dobson says:

First, the parent should decide whether an undesirable behavior represents a direct challenge of his authority—to his position as a father or mother. Punishment should depend on that evaluation…. In my opinion, spankings should be reserved for the moment a child (age ten or less) expresses a defiant “I will not!” or “You shut up!” When a youngster tries this kind of stiff-necked rebellion, you had better take it out of him, and pain is a marvelous purifier. When nose to nose confrontation occurs between you and your child, it is not the time to have a discussion about the virtues of obedience. It is not the occasion to send him in the room to pout. It is not appropriate to wait until poor, tired old dad comes plodding in from work, just in time to handle the conflicts of the day. You have drawn a line in the dirt an...

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