Typically a fence means no freedom, or does it?
We all want our kids to have freedom right? Freedom to make great choices, and live a life better than our own. But what if I told you that giving your kids REAL freedom, meant you had to place boundaries around that very child? You might have heard about a study dealing with fences around a playground, and what children would do if the fences were removed. The question was raised after people feared that placing fences around schoolyard playgrounds, would limit the creative, exploring characters in developing children. “Hey if we get rid of this fence, then all these kids will have freedom! And explore what is OUTSIDE of the fenced area!”
Sounds pretty logical right? Remove the fence and the kids will become great explorers and creativity will be bursting forth from their little minds! Well guess again. Much to the surprise of everyone involved, the children did NOT explore, they did not become more creative, they did not experience freedom. In fact when the children saw that there was no fence, they all congregated near the doorway of the school! The exact opposite took place, rather than freedom being achieved, they achieved bondage!
Now I hear the argument, “Hey, it’s because of fear, and our labeling of gender and giving of titles, and the prison that law creates! MY kids would explore because I teach them about ‘No limits!” … Well you would be wrong again. And you are not teaching your kids about freedom at all! You are teaching them about lawlessness.
Lawlessness does NOT in anyway promote freedom! And if we live a life based on lawlessness, we end up being imprisoned by the law itself! A ‘hands off’, or in today’s term, ‘friendship’ parenting approach, DOES NOT PRODUCE CHILDREN THAT WALK IN FREEDOM! It ensnares them. Here’s why. Our children are not our friends… They are our kids, and we are their parents! When we place a child in a friend capacity, we place that child into an improper level of development.
Think about this: A young child needs to spend time in a playpen while next to a pool to limit his movement, why? Because he cannot swim! It’s not because I don’t believe that he COULD swim one day, it is because at this stage, the child needs to be taught how to swim first, and is not capable of being taught. First the child must be taught that the water is to be respected, then the child can enter it to swim, guided at first, then eventually on his own. Placing a child as a friend into your life, is like letting that child enter the deep end without being able to swim! They are not ready! They need help, they need you to be there, watching, teaching, CORRECTING. Giving that child “friend status” will eradicate your ability to correct them, ESPECIALLY later on in life.
Kids DO NOT thrive under lawlessness they cannot! A fence around a child does something incredible for them. It allows that child to explore inside that fenced area COMPLETELY, and here it is, SAFELY! Safety is built right into our DNA, we instinctively protect ourselves. A small child will do this, because they have learned it from birth. “I fall when I am not careful where I step” and there it is, you cannot change this, it is a part of us. They understand boundaries, and THRIVE inside of them!
Still I see parents that want to friend zone their kids, this does not produce respectful children, with freedom. It produces brats! What’s more, is after we do that to a child, every adult, every employer, and law or rule, does not apply to these children because “My mommy and daddy are my friends! And I don’t have to listen to you because you didn’t give me a treat before you asked me to do something for you!” I have a hard truth for this, EVENTUALLY that very kid will turn on the very parents that gave them this status! At some point a parent will need to install a fence, and bring a correction. But for 16 years they have been taught that ‘no fence’ can hold them, nor should, because freedom has no bounds…
Freedom is earned, it can (and at times should) be removed. Freedom is beautiful, and if allowed to develop over a child’s life, by placing them into correct areas, they WILL recognize what you have done for them, and turn around and thank you for it, eventually. If you find yourself in this situation that I am writing about and have no clue what to do, just make the change, now, don’t wait for later, it only gets harder to install boundaries the older they get! Do not be afraid if you are not your childs “best friend”. When they grow older they will recognize that when you placed boundaries on their freedom, and taught them that freedom is earned, it meant that you loved them deeply, and wanted the best life for them!
How can we as parents help place these boundaries correctly around our children, and how can we be sure when they are ready to be expanded? Comment below!!