Do Boundaries Suppress Our Children's Freedom?


Several years ago we had the privilege to visit Niagara Falls. 

What an amazing place!  

I don’t think I will ever forget taking the tour boat to the base of Horseshoe Falls. The sheer tremulousness and majesty of the moment made me feel even closer to my awesome Creator!  (If you ever have a chance to visit, I highly recommend it.)

Just off of the visitor center is a large concrete platform that serves as an observation deck. This platform extends out over the river canyon and allows for a superior view of the entire falls.  This observation deck allowed us to experience Niagara Falls to a much greater degree than we ever could have without it.

Pictured above is my daughter Maggie on the observation deck behind the large steel railings. The railings that encompassed the platform allowed my children to freely observe and experience the grandeur that was below them. 

Imagine the experience if there were no railings! 

No parent on the planet would allow their child to go out on the platform if there wasn’t a boundary to keep them safe.As parents in the 21st century, it is easy to become intimidated by the concept of boundaries. It is common for parents to be fearful that if they place boundaries around their children they will rebel and become embittered towards you.

In late infancy, children will begin to look for boundaries.  Their motivation is security. They are looking to their parents to provide safety and security because the world is still uncertain. Inevitably these same children will push up against the boundary (we’ve all seen it)  not necessarily because of rebellion, but because of their quest for security. They need to know that the boundary that is placed around them is solid, safe, consistent, and secure. 

Here is the key truth: children love boundaries!

The biggest mistake parents make is removing boundaries and calling it freedom.  Like in Maggie’s experience, we as parents need to understand that true freedom is only found within loving boundaries!

Even Adam and Eve were not responsible for the entire world, they were only responsible for what the Father gave them and within that boundary, they operated in complete freedom.

Children cannot create their own boundaries.  

No matter their age, they are desperately wanting their parents to provide them…and no matter their age, they will continue to push against them to make sure they are safe, secure and consistent.  There may be some fallout with our older children when they are teased by their peers or they miss out on some “activities”,  but in the end, they will feel loved and protected.

The goal of a boundary is not to oppress or keep our children from experiencing the big scary world.  

The goal of a boundary is to provide a place of freedom for our children to impact and change the world!