6 Signs That You're a Dysfunctional Parent

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scared girl
If you are one of these parents, here's why you need to change. (Charisma archives)

Let's for a moment take God out of the picture of our families. Frightening, perhaps, but something we actually do without even thinking about it. When we choose to "go it alone" in this thing called parenting, the result is inevitable dysfunction that has no promise of the abundant life.

Sin is a reality of our lives. Without God's love and forgiveness, the spiritually healthy family is impossible. Without God's help, dysfunction is our only option.

Some dysfunction is the reality of living in an imperfect world with imperfect people, but it will be especially present when we omit God from our lives.

While there are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of types of dysfunction in today's families, let's unpack six dysfunctional parenting styles that without God's redemption will leave a negative impact on our families. You might be surprised to see yourself fall into one of these categories:

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1) The Double-Minded Parent

Some may call you a Double-Minded parent, but you call it being emotionally healthy. After all, just because you are a Christian, what is wrong with making sure that you are whole and happy and indulge in all that this life has to offer? You see adulthood as a time to fulfill all your dreams in this life, and your children are just one small part of those dreams. You think about how wonderful it is to have all that God offers, as well as what the world offers too! These are the mantras that you live by:

  • "I have worked hard my whole life—now it's time for me!"

  • "God wants me to be happy, so I know that He is OK with my making choices that fulfill my needs even over my children's, because their day will come when they are older."

  • "Who says you can't have it all?"

  • "Of course I love God, but this world is pretty cool too, don't you think?" 


Children raised by the Double-Minded parent will often grow up having codependent tendencies, seeking acceptance from others, being unrealistic in their view of "self," and feeling insecure. They are confused about what it means to follow Christ, and might avoid their parents in adulthood.

2) The I-Can't-Say-No Parent

The world is such a negative place. The home should be a positive place where one can say "Why not?" I-Can't-Say-No parents love to say yes because when they do, everyone seems happy. These parents think that becoming a mom or dad is a perfect way to expand their social life as well. They truly enjoy the company of their children and don't see a need for hierarchy in the family sector.

In order to cultivate a "friendship" from an early age with their children, these parents make sure that they confide in their children and seek their opinions at every turn. These parents also sacrifice many personal opportunities for the sake of their children's needs. An I-Can't-Say-No parent might try to justify his or her actions by saying:

  • "I want to give my child all that I didn't have when I was growing up."

  • "Discipline is exhausting for me and my child—so I don't do it! I create no boundaries, and therefore there is no need. Besides, I really, really, really want my kids to like me."

  • "Unpopular no more, I now have a junior companion in life!"

  • "Sure, I rely on my child for emotional and social support—that's what friends do!"

  • "In order to create intimacy and trust, I don't have any boundaries on the topics that I discuss with my child."

  • "I had a kid because I want to spoil someone. I like to spend money and be generous—what's so bad about that?"

  • "My child is very mature for her age." 


Children raised by the I-Can't-Say-No parent often grow up too quickly, suffer from chronic boredom, think that rules don't apply to them, become poor money managers, are unable to cultivate healthy emotional boundaries with others, and have an unhealthy attachment to you in adulthood.

3) The Driver Parent

While the parent who has always been referred to as "driven" will see this as a compliment, others will label this way of parenting with a raised eyebrow of judgment. If you are a Driver parent, you view being driven as the secret to your success, and you want this same success (if not more) for your child. You wonder why people are always telling you to "lighten up" in the way you interact with your child, while you conjure up these justifications:

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