We Should Teach Children Boundaries

I’ve noticed that a lot of young parents do not discipline their children and let them do whatever they want. I don’t know why they shun discipline. Perhaps they think that discipline crushes a child’s spirit. Maybe they just don’t know how to discipline their children. They might also simply be lazy. But regardless of the reason, by not providing discipline parents are harming their children. If children don’t learn proper boundaries between the things they can and cannot do, they may become antisocial when they grow up, unable to handle all of society’s restrictions. Some may even turn into criminals or live lives isolated from society.

I think one of the reasons young mothers and fathers do not discipline their children is that they themselves were not taught to respect boundaries.

Nowadays, all boundaries are becoming less and less clear. For example, boundaries between men and women are becoming muddy. Korean male actors undergo so much cosmetic surgery that they look like pretty women. American actresses are so thin and muscular they look like boys. Boundaries between the young and the old are also becoming fuzzy. Teens try to look older by wearing revealing clothes or by smoking cigarettes. Middle aged men try to look younger by dying their hair black. The boundaries between husband and wife are also becoming unclear. More and more wives are becoming the major breadwinners of their families and more and more men are staying home, taking care of house duties and raising children.

The boundaries between what people can and cannot do is also rapidly being erased. Being raised without a strong set of moral boundaries, young parents don’t have clear sense of right or wrong. As a consequence, they themselves do not set moral boundaries for their children and let them do whatever they feel like doing.

These parents may not realize that total freedom terrifies children because they are not ready to handle it. They may feel like they’re being left alone in the middle of a busy street and asked to find their way home all by themselves. This is why children who have received caring discipline appreciate their parents when they grow up whereas children who are not disciplined at all grow to resent or even hate their parents.

Starting this year our children’s Sunday school is putting more emphasis on having the right behavior based on Biblical truth instead of just teaching the Bible. Training them in right behavior requires parents’ full cooperation. So children and youth pastors will offer parenting classes to train children consistently both at church and at home.

The first thing we’ve started to do is teach them to observe rules. One rule we’ve begun to impose is that at church, they may eat only in designated places. Let me ask parents to cooperate fully so that the church and parents work together to raise healthy, disciplined children.

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