Enabling Practices: Stop Letting Your Kids Just “Get It Out Of Their System” Early. I believe that as fathers, we always want what’s best for our children. We strive to provide and protect our children to the best of our abilities. While we may make some mistakes along the way, our hearts are usually in the right place.
Maybe that’s why most of us struggle with setting boundaries for our children. We hate the idea of upsetting our kids because we love them, and we don’t want them to get angry at us. We somehow mistakenly believe that this will hurt their esteem or damage our relationship with them.
Parenting Traps To Avoid
So we start to let things slide. We become way too permissive, and we even start enabling bad behavior. These phrases start creeping into our conversations:
“They’re just kids, it’ll be okay.”
“Kids will be kids.”
“I’m just letting them get it out of their system.”
It all seems logically sound — allow your children to have their way and get a certain behavior out of their system. We think that if they’re allowed to eat, drink or indulge to their heart’s content, act out as often as they wish or even drink and party as hard as they want, they’ll eventually get tired of this behavior when they’re older and stop of their own accord.
Why This Parenting Concept Is Flawed
I’ll outline why this parenting method sadly falls short:
- In Philippians 4:8, we are instructed to dwell on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable and worthy of praise. By allowing kids to “just get it out of their system” we’re encouraging them to do the opposite of what God wants. Instead of having our children practice good behavior, we’re enabling inappropriate conduct. Then we get surprised when they end up being undisciplined, entitled and disrespectful.
- Children thrive where there are rules and discipline. Sometimes, we parents forget that rules, limits, and boundaries are actually healthy for children. Parental boundaries help children feel safe and cared for while setting limits helps them know what behavior is expected of them. Limits also teach kids how to socialize with others and how to cope with uncomfortable feelings. If you allow your children to always get away with bad behavior, they’ll never develop the self-discipline, restraint, and self-control necessary to navigate the real world.
- It undermines the parent-child relationship. Our children trust us to keep them safe. Letting them run wild sends a subtle message that we really don’t care about their well-being. Over time, they’ll stop trusting us to keep them healthy and safe. We, therefore, shouldn’t be surprised when they start acting out as a way of seeking proof that we care about them.
In Proverbs 22:6, we are reminded to train up our children in the way they should go and they’ll not depart from it even when they’re old. We parents have a duty to not only nurture our children but to also teach them how to make good choices in their lives. This is what being a good father entails and it’s what we should all strive towards.
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