Sometimes, as parents, we care so very deeply for our children that we want to keep them safe from all things that could in any way injure them, hurt them, or even make them sad. In the process of working toward keeping them safe, sometimes we tend to overprotect to the point of unintentional emotional and social harm. How can we balance protection from the world and all the evil in it, and still allow them to be independent and confident young people who can discern truth and make good choices in friends and activities?
That’s what we will be talking about today. How to protect your children from influences you believe to be harmful while teaching them to make good choices on their own as they grow up. First, we have to revisit those three key points that are essential to raising up a child to be well-behaved and content. These are the three things every child needs to know. 1. They are loved.
2. They understand you know what is best for them.
3. They know you will use your authority to be sure what’s best for them is done. In the last session, we talked about teaching your child to look outside of themselves and to start to make determinations about the world around them. Then, to take those determinations and help them recognize their own good and bad behavior. When we are teaching them about recognizing behaviors, we are teaching them to make judgments. Some may say we aren’t supposed to judge – but really that isn’t true. We make judgments every day about numerous things. For example, you may judge this M4M article to be good or bad! By making a determination about what you think about this, you are making a judgment. What we are not able to judge is someone’s eternal life. That is not for us to judge, but for God. But, we CAN judge what is right and what is wrong. This is how we make decisions about truth and what decisions are good or bad for us and our children.
As they get older, it is important to continue to talk about things you see that are inspiring and things that are unacceptable. For instance, if you see another young person performing an act of service, treating another person with compassion or showing respect to an elder, mention it and praise those actions to your child. If you believe it is unacceptable for a young man to wear his pants so baggy they can’t stay on his hips, mention that too, and talk to them about what message that gives others. It is wise also, imv, to be sure to say things like “Isn’t that sad for him” rather than putting the person down personally. Since we don’t know the person, we want to show compassion in our words towards others even if we are at the same time using what we see as a lesson. We want to make sure the child understands the difference between making a judgment about an action or deed rather than about a person. When we are talking about protecting your children, there are two aspects of protection to consider. One would be physical and the other would be spiritual or emotional. There are a lot of articles and books