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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.






06 September 2005

Freedom and Control in Raising Children


Q: How do Christians feel about the amount of freedom a teenager should have?

A: While some who claim to be Christian practice total parental control, most balance freedom with responsibility. In other words, we say, “You can have as much freedom as you can handle.” At times we err in one direction or the other: We either give free rein or become overly controlling. Of these, neither is good for the children, for neither is the proper path to responsible adulthood, nor is either particularly good for the child at the time (although unlimited freedom may, for a time, feel quite good).

This is part of the hard work of being a Christian parent, something St. Paul brings out: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)” We pray that God helps us keep our parental balance.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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