parental control

4 Kinds of Parental Control Dads Use

“Dad, can I watch this movie? It’s PG-13.” If you’re like me, your kids who are under the age mark have asked you this question often. In the past, I’ve said, “I haven’t seen it, so no. You can’t watch it yet.” But that quickly turned unrealistic with three kids. I can’t sit and pre-watch everything my kids want to watch. So what do you say? How do you handle it? As your kids age, you quickly realize parental control is about more than movies.

It’s about TV, games, music, internet usage, and more. If you haven’t already, you’re going to run head-first into this question: “What am I allowed to do?” And, for me and my home, I have to try and square up Jesus’ words—” If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)—with my own words, thoughts, and actions as a dad. What will you allow your kids to watch and why? It’s a big question and how you answer it matters—it determines how you handle parental control. Here are 4 kinds of parental control dads use.

1. The “Live and Learn” Method

This dad thinks kids can simply live and learn what to do on their own. There are no proper rules or boundaries. In a lot of ways, it’s easier to parent this way. But here’s the thing—I don’t allow my 10-year-old to drive. But I don’t let her drive for many reasons. It’s not just because she’s 10. If we let her drive, she will be harmed and may end up harming others.

2. The “Whatever the Experts Say” Method

This dad relies on rules and standards from “experts.” You put your responsibility on the shoulders of others. This way is tricky because the more you read, the more opinions you have. Don’t get me wrong—this way works pretty well when your kids are young. But, as your kids mature, while experts are helpful, they’re not the be-all and end-all.

Rules often only get our kids to do the right thing in front of us.

3. The “I Have Rules” Method

This dad says, “I decide, you abide.” And let’s be honest—this isn’t teaching kids how to make wise choices now or once they become adults. Look, I use parental controls, monitor screen time, and track every move and text my kids make on their devices. But rules often only get our kids to do the right thing in front of us.

4. The “Faithful” Method

The faithful dad assigns clear rules, but he also talks with his kids about how to make the wisest decisions. His kids understand why a certain rule exists. This dad’s goal is to teach his kids to make their own good decisions. He’s helping his kids create and use their own moral compasses. With the proper values and skills, kids ultimately will learn how to think, how to act, and what to do, even when their dad isn’t around.

Sound off: Which method did your parents use? Which method do you use?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is the toughest decision you’ve ever had to make?”