So much of parenting is about making it to the end of the day. Sometimes we don’t like to admit it, but there are many days we’re satisfied with the kids making it through the day alive. There weren’t any major breakthroughs, but everyone is still breathing so we’re good! Life with kids can be like that sometimes. It’s trying, it’s long, it’s hard, and (most of the time) it’s wonderful. But deep down we all know parenting isn’t just about today.
We do our best to parent with the end in mind. We think about the kind of people we want our kids to be and parent in that direction. If you take the time to determine the kind of kids you want to raise, you’ll find yourself parenting on purpose. One of our most important roles as parents is “character shaper.” So much of how your life turns out is determined by the quality of your character as an individual. The problem is, character isn’t developed on accident. This is why parenting is hard.
The patterns that are established early on in our lives get lived out when we are older. If we are allowed to be selfish as children, the odds are we will be selfish as an adult. If our parents taught us how to treat other people well, our chances of being a functioning, contributing member of society are increased exponentially. Obviously there is more to it than this, but the patterns matter. As parents, it is our job to instill this in the life of our children. It’s better for them to lose privileges when they are kids than relationships when they are adults.
Think of boundaries as what defines a person. Boundaries are where one person ends and another begins. Children are not born with boundaries, they learn them from their parents and those around them. The establishment of those boundaries are what allows them to have successful relationships with other people. Unhealthy boundaries lead to a myriad of problems down the road. We’ll spend the next several weeks talking about what those boundaries should be and how to establish them. You might want to pick up “Boundaries with Kids” by Dr. Henry Cloud and R. John Townsend, as we will lean heavily on their material to facilitate our discussion.
Always remember: We love you. We’re praying for you. And we’re in this together.