As parents, when are we helpful, nurturing and protective, and when are we interfering?
Mothers, we need to be running interference for our children but we also need to discern the circumstance: when we are helpful and encouraging v when we are simply interfering in our children’s lives.
By running interference I mean supporting and protecting their activities, decisions, friendships and their relationship with GOD. By interfering I mean controlling, dominating and preventing them room to make their own decisions.
A parent’s point of view
As a parent I’ve made mistakes. But my intention has always been to balance health and safety: physically, emotionally, spiritually with building confidence and independence in my child.
Of course the first consideration is the age of the child. Younger children need interference: Who is a good example for them and who is not? What is a suitable activity for their age and what is not? If they don’t feel like doing their homework, that isn’t relevant; they need to fulfil their part of the “education contract” which is to do their homework and show up to school with a good attitude.
But in older children, in some instances, they need our block, boundaries and discipline — especially if they are heading in a destructive direction.
“Train a child in the way he should go and when he grows up he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6
When a child is moving toward adulthood, we need to allow them room, more and more, to make their own decisions. We can — and should offer advice. And we role model the principles we live by, sticking to our integrity rather than to compromise in order to prevent conflict. But we don’t sweat the small stuff!
Big issues v Small issues
For me, a big issue is whether my son is a decent human being: honest, kind, considerate, following Jesus. I encourage him to continue with studies of a sort because he’s capable academically. But what he studies, where or how is up to him. He happens to be interested in university, but even if he weren’t, I’d let that go. I have given advice on striving for excellence v wasting potential. But still, what he pursues and how must be left to him.
I think this means being available to advise when asked, or advising even if not asked if we can see a cliff ahead. I think it means being unafraid to disagree or to insist on certain behaviour under my roof. I think it means being true to myself in order to be true to my child.
It’s food for thought and I welcome yours.