It's a good question and the answer is that we do both. Sometimes outside influences undermine the very lessons we're trying to teach our children. Kids imitate others and are sometimes easily drawn into foolishness and negative behavior patterns. Poor role models teach poor responses to conflict, angry reactions to disappointment, and bad attitudes of various kinds. Many children are easily drawn in to inappropriate actions and thinking patterns.
Although protection can be helpful for a period of time, it's also productive to have children see the contrast between their family and those that are falling apart. Furthermore, when your children can take a stand for what's right, others benefit and so do they.
Each child is different and the key questions have to do with character. Is your child responsible? We like to define responsibility as doing what's right even when no one is watching. Can your child take a stand for righteousness even under pressure? If not, then maybe allowing too much freedom too early will hinder instead of help the child's growth and maturity.
Of course, as children become more responsible and mature, they can help others who aren't. Many people lack the basic skills that your children are learning. When they're ready, your kids can be great assets to others who are struggling. When making such important decisions you have to take each child's character into account. Don't measure maturity by age. Use character as your measuring stick.
This tip comes from the book, Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. It's a book about honor and talks about how we treat one another inside and outside the family.
If this tip was published at www.biblicalparenting.org.
Sat, October 1, 2011