In our recent podcast series called, “Dad Questions”, we address several queries brought forward by dads. Consider checking out The Faithful Fathering Podcast by clicking HERE. One question that resonated with me was, “How do you set boundaries in a world with no boundaries?”
Trying to establish boundaries in this world can be overwhelming. But establishing boundaries has always been a must for dads and moms. The goal is not to isolate kids from the world but to ensure that the world is not the primary influence as they develop decision making skills. One dad took an inventory of what entered the home via the mailbox, inbox, Internet, smart phone, smart television, Google searches and various apps. The status quo was not good. He initiated a candid discussion as a family to identify what boundaries could to be established to manage what he called ‘world-encounters’.
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does what is good is of God; the one who does what is evil has not seen God. – 3John 1:11. Kids imitate what they see. Do they see more ‘God-encounters’ – hugs; hear “I love you”; participate in family devotion time; experience spiritual discussion between Sundays? Or ‘world-encounters’ – popular apps; gaming; Internet access; streaming shows; movies with friends? Do they see appropriate boundaries exercised by dad and mom? The challenge can move to a whole new level as technology has made working from home more popular. Long gone are the days when dad would leave an office or job site and be 100% at home when he got home. Emails and texts keep coming unless appropriate boundaries are established for working hours. When dad and mom manage their own boundaries well, the kids will see discipline in action and respect boundaries established for them. Boundaries are like faith, when kids see it in action, practiced day by day, they will embrace the discipline they see and make it their own. Set appropriate boundaries and lead the way in what is of God.
Tips for dads:
- Inventory what is coming into your home - work-related, education and entertainment;
- Discuss and agree on needed boundaries with mom;
- Lead by example in honoring boundaries placed on technology and Internet access;
- Establish age-appropriate rules for each child – homework, attitude, respect, curfew;
- Establish and enforce age-appropriate consequences for when rules are broken.
Prayer guide: Thank You Lord for Your word and for family. I confess I have not even thought about boundaries for myself. Rarely do I get through a conversation or mealtime without my phone interrupting time with family. Forgive me. I need to do a better job establishing boundaries myself if I expect my kids to navigate through all they are facing. Grant me discipline to be where You have me – to be tuned-in to work when working and tuned-in to family when at home. Help me tune out technology as practicable and lead the way in what is of You in the family You have blessed me with. That is the dad You call me to be and that’s the dad my kids need to see. Amen.
A faithful father sets boundaries and leads the way in what is of God.