Blog & Mablog
Theology That Bites Back
Friday, March 6, 2015 By Douglas Wilson
Be strict when they’re young?
Yes! The happiest children are the ones that learn to accept “no” from a very early age!
Not strictness for the sake of strictness/restriction/strictures/keeping the kid completely under dad’s control ad infinitum, but strong, involved authority for the sake of protection, training in righteousness, and blessing with the gift of self-control, which allows the kid to grow up into freedom.
The funnel. Think of the funnel. You keep things tight when they’re young. Teach them to internalize self-control and love of the good, true and beautiful. Then you release them to increasing levels of freedom thru the teen years. OR you turn the funnel around. Let them do what every they want when they’re little. Pretend they can find their own way. When that doesn’t work, you tighten the screws when they hit the teens. One problem: that doensn’t work either.
Ouch! Spelling. Wish there was an edit option.
The strictness is tempered by love, involvement, and the building of a close relationship. I avoided a lot of teenaged pitfalls not because I feared my parents but because I didn’t want to hurt and disappoint them. Without that bond the child is likely to go off the rails as soon as he or she is released from constant supervision.
Well said, Jill. That also somewhat echoes Doug’s approach of teaching them to “love the standard.” Teach them that doing the right thing and making the good decisions is something actually to be desired, not just because it’s “right,” but because the right things are lovable and the good decision bears good fruit. Along the way that requires some discipline that will not be pleasant, but it transcends teaching them just to avoid the discipline.