GOOD ENOUGH PARENTING

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  The Core Emotional Need Of Reasonable Limits  
 
 

Proverbs 1:8
Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.

Proverbs 23:15-19
15 My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad;
16 my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.
17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.
18 There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
19 Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path.


In the book of proverbs, Solomon wrote extensively concerning the love and discipline of children. He addresses his instructions to "My Son" for 26 times in the book of Proverbs. The son is expected to hear the instruction of his father and not to disobey the law of the mother. The instruction here is for the children to be wise and reasonable in making the choices and decisions.

1 Kings 1:5-6
5 Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, "I will be king." So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him.
6 (His father had never interfered with him by asking, "Why do you behave as you do?" He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.)


Primarily, David's lack of involvement to set boundaries and limits is seen in his refusal to discipline his son Adonijah. Scripture declares that David "had not rebuked him at any time". In other words, David was totally uninvolved in the discipline of his son. David is one of the example of parenting styles without limits and boundaries.

David was a military man who was away from his children and served as the King of Israel for much of his life, but this alone was not the cause for his children's behaviour. David had a minimum of six wives and at least nineteen sons. Most likely David also had many daughters as well, though only Tamar is mentioned in Scripture.

2 Samuel 14:28
Absalom lived two years in Jerusalem without seeing the king's face.

In addition, David refused to deal with Absalom for killing his brother Amnon after the rape of his sister Tamar. David also failed to allow God's law and Israel's justice system to deal righteously with Amnon's action or Absalom's murder of Amnon.

Even after David allowed Absalom to return to Jerusalem, he neglected to meet with him to resolve the issues David was an uninvolved parent. The result is his children grow up without the guidance and expectation to live with in the limits and boundaries.

The core emotional need of reasonable limits can be defined as giving our children a sense of right and wrong, a sense of boundaries, the tools they need to get along in the world and how to work well with others.

Limits and boundaries provide markers and guides so that children know what is acceptable and what is not. Here parents should have conviction about their personal values and have their own boundaries and limits which should reflect their beliefs consistently.

Like with other core emotional needs, neither too many limits nor too few but just the right - Good Enough. Meeting this core emotional need by teaching our children limits and expecting them to live with boundaries is a very loving thing to do as a parent.

As parents we should not feel guilty about giving boundaries to our children. In fact we should feel guilty if we are not teaching them limits. Otherwise the kids grow up to be entitled or narcissistic. Parents who practice CPR : Consistent, Predictable and Reliable are more likely to produce children with good mental health.

Limits help kids to see that, they are not the centers of universe and they must respect others if they expect to be respected. So limits are ways of teaching children how to practice the Golden rule - Do to others what you would have them do for you.

Today's Practical

Working together with your spouse, have a clear and well defined Reasonable limits and boundaries for your children and have a family devotion today to communicate that boundaries to your kids.

Example : a. Kids can Disagree but Disrespect towards parents not allowed. b. Making mistake tolerable but hiding mistake not tolerated. c. Dialogue and Delay to obey will be put up with but Disobedience will not be put up.