Bonding or Boundaries PART 2

Bonding-Boundaries-SignLast week I wrote a post discussing the two vital ingredients in parenting: bonding and boundaries. Bonding is the side with nurturing and play, where boundaries is structure and discipline.

In many parent child relationships, parents seems to sway toward one over the other, despite the fact that both elements are necessary. I asked you to comment and see which side you seem to “err” toward and which side you see more.

First, let me say that in no way do I see this as a ‘poll’ as to where the majority lies in the US. My audience of readers is in no way a random sample. If you want to peek at a random sample, I think McAfee might have discovered the way most US moms and dads parent in their study last summer, where they simply concluded:

The majority of parents (74%) simply admit defeat and claim that they do not have the time or energy to keep up with their children and hope for the best.

Boundaries aren’t exactly popular right now when they take so much effort… and they make parents the bad guy.

This is a growing trend in the US. “I don’t like to see my kids sad. So I won’t burden them with rules and discipline.” (low boundaries)

Combine that with the parent who also swoops down and saves their kid from any harm. Their goal is to see their kid happy. This only raises kids who have never experienced the struggle of making decisions for themselves… and sometimes even failing.

Funny, when reading the comments of my first post, It almost seems like we in the church tend to sway towards boundaries, almost becoming that overprotective parent. Maybe it’s because we’ve seen that overwhelming majority of parents who let their kids do whatever they want… and we don’t want to be them!

I think I was that parent for a while. The disciplinarian. The drill Sergeant. I swayed toward lecturing instead of listening. Monologue instead of dialogue.

Mistake.

Don’t forget the bonding!!!

Parenting is such a blend of both bonding and boundaries. Moses might have just nailed it in Deut 6 when he implored us to remember to impress these values to our children when we get up in the morning, when we walk along the road, when we go to bed at night…

He paints a picture of a parent walking through life with their kids dialoguing about truth.

Dialogue, not monologue.

Are we having these dialogues about real life? Are we listening? Or are we too busy grounding them for not cleaning their room?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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