Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Releasing the Reins

Raineri Children family portrait Watford 2001 ...Image by Goodimages via Flickr

By Dr James Dobson

Everybody understands that teenagers are itching to get out on their own; not have parents telling them what to do anymore.

But this yearning for control actually starts much earlier. It's an inevitable part of growing-up. I remember one mother of a little four year old girl who was demanding her own way. So the mother said: "Now Jenny, you're just going to have to obey me. I have the responsibility to lead you." Well, little Jenny then said: "How long does it have to be that way?"

Well, that illustrates my point. Already at the age of four, this child was yearning for a day of freedom. The task for us as parents is to hang onto the reins of authority in the early days. And then gradually ground independence as maturity arrives. Power granted too early produces childhood folly, but power granted too late brings rebellion.

It is a wise parent, indeed, who can let go little by little as the growing child is able to stand on his own. If you watch and listen carefully, the critical milestones will be obvious.

From TODAY, Voices – Wednesday, 24-Jun-2009

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