Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Some might wonder if the boundaries will ever be widened fully in this approach to parenting. It may seem like your children (even teens) are not mature enough to allow the boundaries to ever come out in some areas. And I know that feeling. T
There will be times when our children are moving into adulthood when we can no longer control their environments. Times in which we do not have the options of bringing in the boundaries to help them gain control of themselves and their actions. At this point, many parents try to micromanage their children rather than releasing them to their own devices.
This is why we promote a gradual release of teens and young adults from under authority. The entire idea of a child turning eighteen and becoming an "adult" is simply inaccurate and damaging to young people. We have seen this over and over again when a child graduated from a protected home and was "released" without the proper guidance in his life. It was thought that "now he is an adult,” so now he is ready to make all of his own decisions. If the boundaries were not released gradually—at a rate appropriate for that child’s maturity, decision making level, and respect for authority—the results are often disastrous.
Yes, there will come a time when you will stop manipulating his environment to help him mature (stop bringing in the boundaries), and the child will flounder often. However, it should not be abrupt; it should be gradual. And it should not be without your constant input and guidance in his life even as a young adult. (We have found that when we followed other “positive parenting” advice given earlier in this blog, our older teens and young adults desire our input in their lives. We have raised them to respect us and loved them with total abandonment—and they know that we are so crazy about them that we would never want anything but God’s best for them.)