Guardrails and Parenting

As parents, we often find ourselves micromanaging the little minions that run amuck around our house.  We are constantly on them about eating at least one bite of that vegetable, the rest of that… no… wait, (you take half of whatever “that” is off of their plate) the rest of that. You also are watching on your video monitor as they are playing in their playroom or are falling asleep for the night. Our lives as parents are about protecting and directing our kids and to be certain, there are definitely seasons which need to be micromanaged.  The season my wife and I are in, the one with our lively little one year old and almost 4 year old, is one of those seasons where micromanaging is a way of life and keeping our kids alive.

I wish I had a good answer for what to do and how not to be stressed or worried in this season where one little thing could send our worlds into a tailspin, but I don’t.  The one answer I do have is that while our kids are young we need to be constantly training them up in wisdom, love, and most importantly, grace.

Grace can really come into play as we start to set up guardrails for our kids.  No parent needs to be monitoring every, little, moment, every, single, day.  That is a great recipe for burnout.  What we need to do is set up guardrails so that as our kids hit up against them, they start to “parent” themselves and quit doing whatever action is leading them closer to “falling off the edge” and getting in trouble.

Everyones guardrails will be different, just as everyones parenting style is different, but the fact remains that our children long to have structure.  Structure in our kids lives helps them know they are safe, and what is right and wrong.  Kids, mine especially, will hit these guardrails what seems like a million times a day, but it is in these moments that we gently, in the loving gracious character of Christ, remind them of the rule, speak to their heart, and guide them safely away from the guardrail.

We will have hundreds of opportunities a day as parents to correct our children.  It’s in these moments where we want to get angry, yell, spank, or ground our kids that we need to remember to breath, show them grace, and respond as the Lord does with us every day.  Guardrails are key to parenting, but guardrails without grace is a recipe for lots of anger and disaster.

What guardrails do you have in place with your kids that are helping you parent well?

#Guardrails #Grace #Trust

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