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Thursday, March 8, 2012

is my help destructive?

As parents, our natural instinct is to protect our children. from all evil and harm. and that is part of a parent's responsibility. 

But another part is to teach and train. And this is where the protection instinct needs to step aside at times [oh, how hard that is!].

When our children are very small, we [parents] are pretty much the only ones who correct and discipline our children. teaching manners, kindness, and self-control with love and patience [sometimes begging God for that proper spirit].

But when my children are older and leave me every day to attend school or go to an age-appropriate Sunday school or even just go to a friends house for an afternoon, what do I teach them about authority? about responsibility? about respect?

It mostly stems from how I react to others correcting my child. [it also is learned by how I respect/obey my own authority-but that's another post].

I must realize that my child is a sinner [aren't we all? Romans 3:23] and he/she WILL do wrong. and need correction. at school or a friend's house. even in children's church. 

And in order to teach them respect for authority, I must be willing to allow other people to have authority and correct my child. And I, as the parent, must also be willing to enforce their obedience to that other authority. Otherwise I will be teaching my child that I, the parent, can take their responsibility of obedience on my own shoulders. and one day she would have a very rude awakening.

Galatians 6:7,8- Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. [We will all reap the consequences from our OWN actions. and we must TEACH this truth to our children.]

If I do not teach the reality of consequences---
Romans 4:11,12- As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. [we are each responsible for our own actions]
I Peter 4: 3-5- For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:  wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. [there will be those who do not understand when we choose to live differently, but God will judge]
---then, when our children are all grown up, they will likely continue to expect Dad and Mom to bail them out when they have done wrong. and will probably live as though you can bail them out in heaven, too.

And here is the point: 
There comes a time [earlier than you might expect and years before they become a teenager!] when I cannot and should not protect my children from themselves. and the consequences of their actions. This is how they learn responsibility and integrity.

before a lesson is learned 
 and I do not want to destroy the most precious gifts God has given me!



  1. Great post. I'm not sure I am that good at this, but I've always let my two-year-old
    fall off something small or pinch her fingers in a door or drawer because I figured she would learn best that way.

    But then, we probably are the most protective parents on the planet so we might need to work on that. :)

    I haven't read the whole book, but, I that seems to be the basic concept taught in the book - "Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours" by Kevin Leman.


    1. Amelia-i have heard of that book but have not ready it. being protective comes naturally :) but seeking God's guidance is the best way to know when our protection goes beyond the necessary and into shielding from consequences...
      thanks for taking the time to comment!

  2. Oh, this is hard!!! Probably one of the most difficult parts of parenting but SO necessary. Now that the girls are teens and are spending more and more time away from home, they're being forced into learning some lessons the hard way. I wish they'd just learn from what they've been taught and from my mistakes, but some lessons are best learned by experience. We have to learn to walk with them through the consequences of their own decisions without bailing them out or judging them but simply loving them unconditionally as God loves us.

  3. Oh, this is a hard lesson to learn!!! Now that the girls are teens and are spending more and more time away from home, they're learning this first-hand. I wish they'd learn completely from what they've been taught but some lessons are best learned first-hand. I have had to learn to walk with them through the consequences of their own decisions without bailing them out and without judging their choices but simply loving them unconditionally - as Christ loves me.

    1. looks like you commented again :) you're so right. the older they get, the harder and yet more importatn it is that we allow them to learn from their mistakes!


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