Establishing Healthy Boundaries with Our Kids

Feb 24, 2021

The word ‘boundaries’ can be a loaded word. As a parent what emotions surface when you hear the word ‘boundaries’? This is an important question because it will bring self-awareness to your family of origin and how you were parented. By becoming aware of how you feel and respond to boundaries as a parent is a key to establishing a culture of healthy boundaries for your children and your family.

There is a heap of advice out there on how to set boundaries for your kids and you will find that you will agree with some and cringe at others. You can digest all the knowledge out there, and that can be good and helpful. You can take in what sits well with you and spit out what doesn’t resonate with you, but what often isn’t discussed is the role of the inner world of the parent.

Luke 6:45
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Our inner world has everything to do with the fruit of our lives, and the truth is our family of origin has shaped our view of the world and established patterns of thinking that have shaped our reality. The curious question is ‘Is the way we see the world helpful to how we parent?’
There is widely considered to be 4 major styles of parenting.

They are:

  1. Authoritarian

  2. Permissive

  3. Uninvolved

  4. Authoritative

Let me briefly explain each major style.

Authoritarian

Authoritarian parents believe,

  • Believe kids should be seen and not heard

  • When it comes to rules believe 'It’s my way or the highway!'

  • Don’t take children’s feelings into consideration

  • Kids should do what I say and not question me

Permissive

Permissive parents,

  • Set rules but rarely enforce them

  • Hardly ever give out consequences

  • Believe their children will learn best without parent interference

  • ​Rarely discourage poor choices or poor behaviour

Uninvolved

The uninvolved parent,

  • Doesn’t ask their child about school or homework

  • Rarely knows where their child is, or who they are with

  • Doesn’t spend much time with their child

  • Provides very few rules

  • ​Rarely provides guidance, nurturing, or parental attention

Authoritative

Authoritative parents,

  • Put a lot of effort into creating and maintaining a positive relationship with their child

  • Explain the reasons behind their rules

  • Enforce consequences but take children’s thoughts, feelings and opinions into consideration

  • Validate children’s feelings but make it clear that ultimately the parent is in charge


After reading through this brief summary of the major parenting styles maybe you have become aware of two things;

  1. How you were parented in your family of origin

  2. What parenting style you naturally gravitate toward

The parenting styles may have become a mirror for you to reflect on your heart. How has your heart has been influenced by your parents and how is your heart is influencing your relationships with your children?

Current research strongly recommends the ‘Authoritative’ style of parenting. Research indicates that children raised by this style of parenting are generally happy, successful, are more likely to make good decisions and evaluate safety risks with wisdom.

So, as a parent has your past influenced your inner world? What parenting style does your inner world reflect? And is your inner world reflecting the type of parent you want to be to your child?

Can I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit a few questions and to journal your answers?

  1. How has my family of origin negatively affected who I am as a parent today?

  2. How can I become a better parent?

  3. How can I establish healthy boundaries as an individual and as a parent?

  4. What needs to change in my heart to create a healthy family culture for my children?

My hope and desire for you is that you go on a journey with the Holy Spirit, and as a result become the parent you have always desired to be. Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father,
You know me inside-out, you know the family culture I was raised in and you know how that culture has shaped my parenting style in both positive and negative ways. Father come and do an inner work in my heart, establish my heart in wise patterns of thinking and healthy personal boundaries so that I can create a healthy family culture for my children, that they are well prepared for the good and perfect plans you have for them. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

ANDREW AUSTIN
Childrens' Pastor

Being His Presence In Every Place