Protecting vs. Overprotecting Part 1May 15, 2023
Protecting or overprotecting? (Part 1)
One of the concerns of those who are sceptical of living a Torah pursuant lifestyle, which often includes home schooling, is the possibility of being overprotective of our children. Controlling the environments, social setups and interests that our children are allowed to move in.
It is important to be brutally honest with ourselves about how controlling we are in our attempt to protect our children. Are we guiding them in the ways of the Father or are we limiting them, by subconsciously adding to His word?
Overprotective, controlling, limiting environments cause harm to the extent of emotional and psychological abuse. There are real families who, with honest good intentions of protecting their children, have failed them in preparing for the realities of life.
Scripture heartens parents to raise children in a loving and nurturing environment, but also teaches the importance of allowing them to grow and develop into independent adults.
“Train a child in the way he [should] go;
and, even when old, he will not swerve from it.” Proverbs 22: 6 CJB.
This scripture encourages parents to provide guidance and instruction to their children, but also implies that they must eventually allow their children to make their own decisions and find their own way in life.
When our children are still little it is more helpful to closely guide them and even give direct instruction and expect full obedience. As they grow up they are more explorative of life outside our carefully selected environment. We tend to put a tighter grip on their freedoms - All in the name of protection. The whiter our protection knuckles show, the more we damage the potential of our children.
Is there a right and wrong way to protect our children, then?
- Ephesians 6:4 (CJB) “Fathers, don’t irritate your children and make them resentful; instead, raise them with the Lord’s kind of discipline and guidance.”
This verse teaches that parents must provide discipline and instruction to their children, but also implies that they should do so in a way that is loving and nurturing, rather than overbearing or harsh. As I am sure so many of us have heard of the “gentle parenting” parenting technique. And we are all on a different scale on gentle parenting. The importance is to understand that discipline goes hand-in-hand with guidance. Guidance does not mean control. But using mercy when mercy is due.
- Having mercy towards our children, understanding that they are not adults, have not made the mistakes we made. They did not learn the lessons we learnt and that sometimes lessons can only be mastered in real live situations.
1 Corinthians 13:11(CJB): “When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
thought like a child, argued like a child;
now that I have become a man,
I have finished with childish ways.”
The natural progression of growth and development from childhood to adulthood is explained in this verse, and implies that parents should allow their children to experience this process and become independent adults.
Overall, the Bible teaches that parents should provide guidance and instruction to their children, but also allow them to develop into independent adults. Overprotecting children can hinder their growth and development, and prevent them from becoming the individuals the Father intended them to be.
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