Boundaries

This is especially vital if the punishments were linked with the parents’ love for the child. It is not uncommon for the parent who told a child they were spanking because they love them to abandon spanking and find themselves with an insecure child who is doing everything they can to get the parent to spank them again. This is not because they child wants to be spanked, but, rather, because they fear the loss of the parent’s love. This can be avoided by explaining the change in how things will be done in the home.

While there are punishments mentioned in their books as a means of enforcing boundaries with children, I do still find Cloud and Townsend’s book “Boundaries” to be the best explanation of what boundaries are and how to identify and defend them. I have recommended this book for years and even the non-Christians who have read it report finding incredibly valuable information in it. So, rather than attempting to cover what they required an entire book to dissect, let me give a few key important points about boundaries as they relate to parenting.

A SEMI-PERMEABLE BARRIER

This is how Cloud and Townsend describe a healthy boundary. It is strong enough to keep the harmful out and permeable enough to let the good in.

EMOTIONS

While many people in our culture today score low in their emotional intelligence, it is our emotions that signal us about our lives and the world around us. We experience joy and fear and discomfort because things are joyful, fearful, or uncomfortable. The more comfortable we are with our emotions the more we can understand the messages we are getting from the world around us.

While happy is the goal of permissive parents, it is the individual who can understand their world at this level and seek out the joyful while fleeing the fearful and avoiding or changing the uncomfortable who reports happiness and, even more importantly, contentment in their life.

The awareness of something or someone making you uncomfortable is your first indication that a personal boundary is being threatened. It is very important to learn to set your boundaries wide enough that you make them known and act on them before a violation has occurred.

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