As a parent, have you ever found yourself lying awake late at night, asking …
Am I really doing the right thing?
Will all this painful work of parenting ever pay off?
It’s likely every parent has wrestled with these same questions at one time or another.
Implementing godly parenting principles doesn’t guarantee that your children will one day “rise up and call you blessed” (Proverbs 31:28). But it does greatly increase your changes beyond what they’d be if you let your children follow their own undisciplined way.
Over the years, frustrated parents have said, “Just tell me what to do, June—I promise I’ll do it!”
But the answer isn’t a simple, one-step “it.” It’s a life-changing mindset that’s centered on the word boundaries. By definition, boundaries are established limits—lines that you, the parent, set in place that are not to be crossed.
However, boundaries are not about you getting your kids to do what you want them to do; instead, they accomplish something far greater—External boundaries are designed to develop internal character.
As a parent, your heart, prayers, and hope (along with your blood, sweat, and tears) are to be focused on the highest purpose of all—to do what is truly in the best interest of your child.
What does “best” mean? Views of this concept vary widely. Instead of polling the populous for their opinions, there is only one opinion that matters: What does God say is best? Romans 8:29 says that we are “predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” So, what is best? It’s being conformed to the character of Christ.
For your children to grow in godly character, it’s important for you to nurture a close relationship with them, a one-on-one relationship of respect and two-way trust through boundaries.
Without boundaries, kids control their parents. If they don’t get their way, they can act out dramatically.
Realize that abdicating your parental role is the surest way to produce negative results.
Undisciplined Children Typically Grow To:
- Disrespect appropriate rules
Dismiss the need for self-discipline
Despise their parents
Dishonor biblical commands
Disown personal responsibility
But…when you, the parent, establish clear boundaries—with appropriate repercussions and rewards—your child is given the choice to stay within the boundary or not.
And here’s the most freeing part for parents: This means your child, not you, is the one who chooses the repercussion or the reward!
This empowers your child to make good choices based on logical consequences.
Implementing fair and firm boundaries will equip your children for a lifetime of learning, achievement, service, and moral purity.
Ultimately, there is a best way to parent…
by bonding with your child through boundaries.
The above excerpt is adapted from Bonding with Your Child through Boundaries by June Hunt and PeggySue Wells (Crossway). In the book, Hunt a biblical counselor, long-time radio host and founder and Chief Servant Officer (CSO) of Hope For The Heart, helps parents understand why boundaries are essential in parenting, shares biblically-based principles for implementing boundaries, and answers frequently asked questions about boundaries, such as, “Will boundaries limit my child’s creativity?” and “How do I lay a foundation for boundaries to work?” She also offers multiple ideas to help make boundaries work in your family, no matter the situation.