Dr. James Emery White Christian Blog and Commentary

Support Foster Kids with a Suitcase

The Unpopular Parent

  • Dr. James Emery White

    James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and a former professor of theologyand culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he…

  • 2012 Jun 14

The three keys to parenting in today’s “always on” world are being informed, involved and in charge. But somehow, someway, that gets watered down between theory and practice.

Many parents feel that the number one goal of parenting is for their child to like them. It’s not.

The number one goal is to lovingly parent them. Liking has little to do with it. The truth is that there is much that goes with loving parenting they will most certainly not like.

For example, here are ten rules every parent should have with their kids regarding media. See if you think popularity will come with any of them:

1. Limit their phone minutes, texts, and online hours. Don’t let it take over their life.

2. Don’t ever let them see a movie you haven’t reviewed thoroughly on the front-end, regardless of its rating.

3. Don’t let them sleep with their cell phone under their pillow or by their bed. The phone should be turned off at bedtime.

4. Have times of the day they have to turn their phone off, and times when texting isn’t allowed – such as family vacations or family outings.

5. Don’t allow cell phones at the dinner table.

6. Tell your kids not to share their passwords with their friends, not even their best friends. 

7. Keep all computer use in a public area.

8. Don’t allow TVs in their room.

9. Don’t let them be on Facebook unless they friend you as a parent.

10. Don’t let them join any social media prior to the stated age.

Sometimes the most important truths can be stated the most simply: parenting isn’t meant to be a popularity contest. 

It’s meant to be a child-rearing one.

James Emery White



Adapted from the message series “The Underprotective Parent,” available as an MP3 download or in manuscript form at www.churchandculture.org.

[The ten rules were compiled and written after drawing on a number of sources.]

Editor’s Note

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, N.C., and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His newly released book is A Traveler's Guide to the Kingdom: Journeying through the Christian Life (InterVarsity Press). To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, log on to www.churchandculture.org, where you can post your comments on this blog, view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.

Read More Dr. James Emery White