A parent’s job is never done. You have to wear so many hats throughout the day it’s not even funny. You’re a protector, authority, clown, cook, personal hygienist, magician, and everything in between. When it comes to setting appropriate boundaries for our children, parents have several roles to play. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll unpack them. The first one is this: Guardian.
A parent is a guardian, not just in the legal sense of being responsible for the child, but also for caring for, protecting, and preserving the child. Guardians are responsible for giving children freedom, and setting limits. It’s an important job, because if you don’t give a child enough freedom, they will never grow up. However, if you give them too much freedom, they may find themselves in danger of hurting themselves or others because they aren’t mature enough to handle it. Therefore, a major role of parenting is balancing freedom with limitations. It’s about giving them room to grow while protecting them. Dr. Henry Cloud outlines some things kids need protection from in his book, “Boundaries with Kids.”
- Dangers within themselves
- Dangers in the outside world
- Inappropriate freedoms that they are not ready to hanle
- Never appropriate or evil actions, behaviors, or attitudes
- Their own regressive tendency to remain dependent and avoid growing up.
Setting boundaries as a guardian is difficult. A child will often resist the limits placed on them by parents. Most of us struggle to maintain the balance between freedom and limitation. It’s why some parents are the “strict” ones and others are more lenient. But finding the balance between these two will help your children grow in wisdom and over time they will learn to take care of themselves. And let’s be honest, that’s the goal.