Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Posted by Debra Ann Elliott at 7:02 AM
Boundaries. From birth until high school graduation parent's set established boundaries for their children. As a Christian parent the boundaries you set have to differentiate from those of secular parents. Although some boundaries are comparable, a Christian parent's duty is to establish different boundaries for their child(ren).
I interviewed several Christian moms for this article to get their take on the subject. Christian parent's believe there is a moral code in which as Christian's you should live by and a parent is not being too strict when establishing different boundaries. They desire to help their child become a better person. The mom's I spoke with also believe boundaries are set to protect children.They all agreed a Christian parent must encompass the following boundaries with their child.
1. Entertainment: From toddlers to teens entertainment has always been a major issue. Television, music and technology are main concerns of Christian parent's. The boundaries regarding the three venue's must be clear and concise.
Begin early: A toddler is like a sponge. They absorb everything they hear and see. The ground rules should be established as soon as possible in regard to boundaries for TV, music and computers. It's up to you to be in charge. Whether you choose to let your toddler watch television, listen to music or get on the computer the boundaries you set now will follow them throughout their lives.
Stay connected: The boundaries you established when your child was a toddler need to carry over into the teen years. With television shows, music and internet that promote sex and anarchy a Christian parent must stay connected to their teenager. Boundaries need to change to reflect a secular society. What your child absorbed as a toddler is no longer part of their teen years. Television, music and the internet are now geared specifically toward the teenager. A Christian parents responsibility needs to also reflect this change. From twelve through eighteen boundaries are tested. Parents need to stay firm in their decisions.Your teen may hate you now, but remember the boundaries you set today will grow better Christian adults.
2. Events: For eighteen years you are in charge of setting the boundaries to which your child will respond throughout their life. Christian parent's should have four concerns in the life events of their children. Friends, school, driving and dating need to be the focus of new boundaries.
Establish parameters: Friendship is one of those boundaries that will cause friction if not handled correctly. Christian parent's cannot pick and choose their child's friends, but they can establish the parameters. Ask questions, be involved and the most important aspect; meet your children's friends' parents. You want to make sure whomever your child hangs out with is a positive influence. Where school is concerned parameters are basically already in place. The only option for a Christian parent is to make sure their child knows to obey the school's boundaries. As always, ask questions and be involved. Driving and dating have combined boundaries. When your teen begins to drive most likely he or she will also begin to date. Of course this is a major concern for the Christian parent. Your child is now sixteen and independent. Regardless, boundaries still have to be in place to protect your teen. Remember, ask questions, set limits and be involved.
Define what is expected: Your child will test any boundary you set forth. A Christian parent must clearly define what is expected from their child. Are the boundaries concise? Are the boundaries realistic? A child needs to develop social skills through friendships, school, driving and dating. The boundaries you have in place need to clearly reflect this need for social skills. Christian parent's should make sure their child knows what's expected so boundaries cannot be compromised.
For further reading I recommend Boundaries With Kids: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Children by By Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. This book will help set limits for children and teach the concept of boundaries.
I would love your feedback on the subject of boundaries. Do you feel Christian parent's should set different boundaries than those of secular parents?