Exploring the crossroads of religion, culture, and science through a Pagan lens

Kirk Cameron’s bad advice


Today, Patheos Progressive Christian blogger Benjamin L. Corey weighed in on a post written by Evangelical actor Kirk Cameron.  According to the actor, children should not be given explanations for their parents’ decisions.  He goes on to say, “Parents are called not to explain but to train,” and that children are better off learning to obey than to understand motivations.


I don’t really have a problem With Kirk Cameron.  If he wants to go around making Christianity look awful, that’s his choice.  What I do have a problem with is that his words contradict actual fact.

Psychologists have studied parenting style in depth.  While there are many, they boil down to four: authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive-indulgent, and permissive-indifferent.  They are rated on two axes: amount of warmth and amount of control.

Cameron is advocating the authoritarian style, where parents hold absolute control and show very little warmth.  All research has shown that this is worst of the parenting styles and has the most damaging effects on the children.  An easy overview is available at

Authoritarian parenting leads children to:

  1. Association of obedience with love
  2. Aggression
  3. Fear
  4. Low self-esteem
  5. Social awkwardness

These children follow rules, but they have no idea how to control themselves when no one is looking.

Authoritative  parenting, which Cameron dislikes, is marked by high warmth, and high control.  Parents display love and affection, yet also have control of their children.  They discuss, negotiate, and explain their decisions with them.  This kind of parenting, research says, is marked by kids who are:

  1. Happier
  2. More In control of their emotions
  3. Socially competent
  4. Confident in their ability to learn new things

Which kind of child would you want to raise?

In his short piece, Corey advised his readers to completely ignore Cameron’s advice.  Research backs him up completely.  If you are a parent who wants to raise healthy, happy children, consider the motto: “What wouldn’t Kirk do?” as your guide.  Your child will have fewer Growing Pains.


Author: Tim

I am a teacher, a theater lover, and a High Priest in the Temple of Witchcraft. I love to point out the places where the everyday world, arts, science, and religion intersect. I stand for interfaith cooperation and the belief that people of all religions, political beliefs, and nationalities have more in common with each other than differences.

4 thoughts on “Kirk Cameron’s bad advice

  1. i would first have to read the post written by Kirk cameron. I think interviewing him and asking questions would be interesting.

  2. Just a point. Authoritarian is what Kirk Cameron advocates for. What is the title of the parenting style he dislikes?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s