Monday, August 4, 2014

Boundaries, Structure, and Responsibility

Hey Everyone! Has this been the busiest summer you have ever had or what?? I know it sure has been at the Noffsinger household. We've hardly had time to sit on the patio and enjoy a cold glass of tea and watch the hummingbirds! (one of my favorite summertime things to do. If you haven't gotten there yet, trust me, one day you will be old enough to enjoy it, too!)

I can't believe school is already starting! My Mom used to say that she was always ready for school to be out, but she sure was ready for it to start again. And as a Mom of 3 boys I soon understood what she meant. School means routine and I like a routine.

Recently a Mom was sharing with me about her daughter's obsession with her new phone. We talked about all the advantages of kids having cell phones and she feels that her daughter is mature enough to handle the responsibility, but she had some concerns. She said to me, "All she wants to do is face time her friends, take selfies, (selfies, really? what's next?) text and play games." I shared with her that my boys often express relief that kids didn't have cell phones when they were in school because I would never give them a minute's peace; I'd be calling to check on them all the time! So true. We talked for a while about some things she could do to lessen her daughter's phone time, and with school starting this week, I thought I'd share 3 of those things on the blog.

(to my friend in Uganda we will do a marriage post soon, I promise.)

With kids it's all about boundaries. Boundaries say to a child, "You are loved. I care too much about you to allow you to do whatever you please, whenever you please." I asked her, "Who bought the phone?" And she said, "Well I did." And I said, "I thought so. Children usually don't have the money to buy their own phone, ipad, notebook, or ipod. And since you are the one who bought it, doesn't it just make good sense that you should be the one to decide when it is used, where it is used, and how it is used?"

It's amazing how secure kids feel when parents establish authority in their home by setting boundaries. Ipads are great tools for school and work, plus they're fun. But children need balance and too much Iphone or Ipad time will get the best of kids off balance, quickly. You bought it, you set the boundaries.

Children don't just need boundaries for Iphones; parents need to set boundaries for how their children speak to them, for how they speak about them, for how they speak to other adults and their peers. Children also need boundaries in what they wear, (who buys their clothes?) who their friends are, where they go, and what time they are to be home.

So Mom, talk to Dad and together you set the boundaries for your family.When you do, you will be amazed at the level of respect that will be present in your home. Respect for you, but also, you will treat your children with more respect. Remember, you are the Mom; you bought it, you set the boundaries. You are the Mom; you decide how you are treated by your children, tell them what you expect, then tell them what the consequences will be when they step outside the boundaries, and follow through. Here's a great Bible verse to teach your children about the importance of living within the boundaries that you set for them;
Psalm 101:2; I will behave myself wisely in a mature way.

Children need structure. Parents create structure in their children's lives by developing a routine that works for your family. A set time for homework, family devotions, mealtime, bathtime, getting their backpack ready for the next day, laying out their clothes and a set bedtime all work together to make your kids feel secure, and gives them the structure they need to be successful in school. Structure and routine will give your kids the edge they need to be prepared physically, mentally, socially, and scholastically. A sleep deprived kid, without his homework complete, and all fueled up with sugar and junk food does not make for a pleasant student. And there is no way they can have a good day when it gets off to that kind of a start. Mom, you are the key; work out a routine that works with your family's schedule and stick to it as much as possible. You will be amazed at the difference almost instantly in your kids when they adjust themselves to the routine you put in place.
A great verse for teaching structure; Eccles.3:1; To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.

Children need responsibility. When you create boundaries in your child's life, then build structure into their day, giving them age appropriate chores will build confidence and self esteem. Work is an important part of our lives. And next to our identity as believers in Christ, our work identifies us. Our work is a display of our talents and spiritual gifts and training. Work is a good thing and most children like to work. When children are given age appropriate tasks, then as they grow bigger, given more advanced chores, character and integrity begin to blossom and grow. They love to hear Mom and Dad praise them for a job well done. Even when they let you know very matter-of-factly that they are not pleased with what you have assigned them to do, but they finish the job and you praise them for their work, you can just see that little face soften and grow tender at your praise and gentle touch. Giving your kids age appropriate work will be a blessing in their lives, even if they don't think so at the time. Here's a great verse to teach your kids about the importance of work; 1 Cor.4:12; Work with your own hands.

Mom and Dad, you are the key players in your children's lives. Our kids are too valuable and too important to us to allow them to live outside the boundaries. We care too much about them to allow them to live without good habits that are formed by family structure and routine. And work establishes their place in the family and society. And as I shared with my young friend, when Mom and Dad set boundaries for their family, set up structure and a routine for their home, and give age appropriate work for their kids to do, iphone, ipad, ipod, video games and a whole lot of other "obsessions" have an amazing way of taking care of themselves.

Here's a suggestion; try these 3 things in your home for 2 weeks and watch the level of respect within your family go through the roof. See if they don't make a difference in how much more smoothly their school day goes and how much work will actually get done. But it gets better; kids who live within the boundaries that are lovingly set by their parents, learn good habits through structure and routine, and who learn at an early age the value and importance of a job well done, will be "stand out" kids from most of their peers. They will have a level of character and integrity that we don't see in every child. Sounds simple, I know, but from experience I can tell you it works. Try it, you will be amazed!

I'd love to hear from you. Contact me through the blog or by email and let me know how it's working for you. God loves your family and He desires that you succeed as a Mom. And I do, too.

Have a great day and a great new school year!!


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