I remember my son Trent’s first science project when he was in fourth grade. Jean and I agreed that we needed to let him do the project on his own. After all, the whole point was for him to learn, right?
Well, at the end of the semester, we discovered not every parent shared that view.
The school had an open house, so the parents could see the work the kids had done. It was pretty obvious whose mom and dad had been involved in their child’s schoolwork – like the rocket ship that had been built from scratch by an actual astronaut!
I walked away that night scratching my head. Those students may have gotten an A+, but did they really learn anything? I’ve even heard of parents sitting in a Starbucks late at night doing their child’s homework.
Think of the impact on those kids long-term. If nothing is expected from them in childhood, what will happen when they’re twenty-five? They’ll think they deserve a trophy just for showing up to work on time.
That story illustrates a critical understanding about parenting. Creating healthy boundaries is rarely just about the child’s behavior in that specific moment. It’s almost always about the child’s future.
Effective parenting isn’t just about kids getting their homework done, keeping their room clean, or about how they treat their brothers and sisters. Those moments need to be channeled into something greater – the long-term maturity of your child.
The further out we see as a parent the better the decisions we’ll make today. The only way children will develop the skills they need to live a successful life is to learn how to take responsibility for things. And that all happens in childhood.
But consistently setting healthy boundaries isn’t easy.
Focus on the Family receives thousands of emails and Facebook comments every week, and this is routinely a key area where parents struggle. “Are we doing it right?” “How do we do it better?”
On today’s and tomorrow’s programs, we want to provide you with some tools to evaluate where you are in your parenting journey and to equip you to move forward with confidence. Our guest is Dr. Henry Cloud, and he’ll be sharing practical, nuts and bolts advice to teach parents how to transfer the responsibility for life to their children.
That process is how kids learn to be in control over themselves, which gives them autonomy and freedom. It’s what enables them to tie their own shoes and get themselves up and dressed for school. And when they’re adults, they’ll have the inner character to be disciplined with their money, to get a career and perform well in it, or to raise healthy kids themselves.