Friday, May 19, 2017

Loving our Children Well

One of my favorite books that has been incredibly encouraging to me as a wife and mom is Boundaries.  Written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend way back in 1992, it has been revised and become part of a series with other books added through the years.  This series replete with Biblical principles has impacted my parenting, and when my children started to approach their teen years, I eagerly picked up another Boundaries book Boundaries for Teens.  There is very practical and applicable information that has helped me to navigate proper boundaries and still show love to my family.  As an only child dealing with conflict is definitely one of my weaknesses.  Because of this, I have a tendency to avoid conflict at all costs.  This is perilous as a mother! This series assisted me in moving through all the new relationships and the changes in seasons as we went from toddler years and adolescence.

According to their website (click here) the Boundaries books help answer the following questions:
  • How do I set limits and still be a loving person?
  • What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
  • What does a legitimate boundary look like?
  • Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider telling someone “no”?
  • What can I do when someone wants more of my time, love, energy, or money than I’m comfortable giving?

Possibly these questions resonate with you like they did with me. While I wish I could say I’ve employed all of their recommendations well, I can’t say that I have perfected this in my life. It has helped me many times though to deal logically with things that I tend to react emotionally to.  Understanding that I’m not responsible for others negative reactions has been very liberating. 
As a “yes girl”, this has given me freedom to give myself permission to say “no” when I count the cost of what a commitment or project someone asks of me to do.

Navigating the teen years can be especially daunting and I appreciated the clear practical advice for dealing with the normal teen angst and what to expect. There were 4 important anchors in the Teen book chapter 17 that I think bear repeating:

·      Anchor #1 Love – “I am on your side.”
·      Anchor #2 Truth – “I have some rules and requirements.”
·      Anchor #3 Freedom – “You can choose to respect or reject the rules.”
·      Anchor #4 Reality – “Here is what will happen.”

As a mom, I find it very difficult many times to reconcile being loving and unselfish with helping my children become responsible adults.  Understanding that holding my children to a high standard was indeed more loving because I was preparing them for the future has been an incredibly helpful mindset.  Receiving consequences for not meeting the standard even for something as simple as keeping their rooms clean, or remembering their lunch for school is so much better while they are still home.  They have the opportunity to learn to be responsible in a protected environment. As they mature and go out into the world the consequences for bad behavior increase exponentially.  Helping them experience this discipline will likely prevent more egregious disciplines later in life. 

Also, the ability to transfer responsibility to my children for their own decisions is ultimately the goal! This helps a tired mom many days, if she has trained them to handle their own responsibilities.  I believe that we as moms have a tendency to do too much for our growing children and end up hindering their growth into adulthood, and overwhelm our own selves in the process.

Parenting for the future requires us to always be looking ahead and not just dealing with behaviors for today.  Loving fully sometimes means dealing with difficult behavior head on instead of letting things slide.

Just as Proverbs teaches us, we should continue to read His word, pray for our children and for guidance in their development. 

In case you wondered, this was not a paid advertisement from me for the Boundaries books! Honestly, they are not even aware about my post, these are truly my thoughts and I have encouraged friends with these books through the years.  I hope you are encouraged as well as I consider each of you my friends as well!


  1. Thank you for the resource. I'll have to check that out.

  2. Yes! I have appreciated the practical advice through the years! :)


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