Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family – Week 2 Response
Do I have to answer these questions? As I read this week’s chapter, I was somewhat dreading the questions at the end of the chapter. I knew they would require a raw authenticity that is uncomfortable. In looking at the parenting style overviews from this chapter, I see myself (dys)functioning to varying degrees in each one – in different ways.
Michelle Anthony provides a glimpse into the next six chapters with an overview of each dysfunctional parenting style. Included are quotes you might hear from someone that parents with that particular style. Her frank assessment of each style might leave you feeling as if it were a bit harsh but the conclusions she draws about how a child raised that way could end up are not too difficult to agree with.
If you have been keeping up with the readings each week, I encourage you to chime in with your answers in the comment section below. It’s not too late to go back and complete week 1 and if you need an overview of what this book club is all about, click here!
- Which dysfunction best describes how you were parented?
- How has that dysfunction shaped the person and parent you are today?
- What potential flaws in your character or in the way you interact with others need healing from this dysfunction?
- In what ways has God redeemed that dysfunction? In what ways can He use its manifestations in your life for good?
- What dysfunctions do you see yourself repeating in your role as a parent? In what ways are you compensating for your parents’ dysfunction by swinging the pendulum the other way?
- How will you submit these things to God, your Father, today?
Anthony, Michelle (2015-01-01). Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family: Avoiding the 6 Dysfunctional Parenting Styles (pp. 31-32). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.
- This question and number 5 might be the most difficult ones to answer. The good news in response to this question is that I have watched as God has been redeeming my parents’ parenting styles and I know they recognize some of the dysfunction in how they raised me. That being said, I was parented with a combination of the “Criticizing” and the “Absentee” parenting styles. Neither one neatly describes either of my parents but there was a fair amount of criticism as well as times when I wish my parents were more present. Thank goodness that my parents know a God that doesn’t give up on them and have allowed Him to continue working in their life to redeem and reconcile.
- The way these flaws have shown up in my own life are through approval seeking. I think I reacted as a young child through a need to gain approval by “being good.” I was motivated by knowing I had acted rightly and would be praised for doing a good job. I see this in my own parenting in that I want to be (and be seen as) a good dad. I get approval when I feel I am doing a good job as a father.
- The approval seeking shows up in my ability to overwork. My tendency to escape into my tasks (absenteeism) and to look on what others are doing, especially my children, and place expectations (criticizing) that are too high are the two main flaws which need healing.
- When I get into my “critical mode” I feel a deep conviction over how I may be crushing the spirits of my little girls. He calls into check just how important it is that things be done my way. When I get so involved in my work that family time suffers, he calls me back to center (sometimes not so gently) and gives me the chance to refocus on what is lasting.
- As Michelle Anthony describes in the chapter, grown children can adopt the style of their parenting or they can reject it and choose it’s opposite. I do find myself having both of these tendencies at times. Again, I don’t feel that I fall neatly into one category. As she quoted parents from each of these dysfunction genres, sadly, I heard my voice. The pendulum does swing back the opposite way though and I feel this is God’s way of bringing balance to my life as as way of redeeming things. When I respond without criticism or press into my family instead of withdrawing from them, he is redeeming these qualities.
- I think the act of submitting these to Father happens with every decision. I have to ask him to catch me quickly when I fall back into these traps. When I’m not in the moment, my prayer is that he would prepare my heart to reject those dysfunctional parenting styles and when I’m in the moment, criticizing or being tempted to withdraw, to remind me that he has something better planned. This is where the decision to surrender is both most difficult and most rewarding.
So, anyone else want to take a risk? How would you answer these questions in response to Chapter Two from Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family?