What is freedom? The dictionary defines freedom as: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. How do you know when to grant a particular freedom to your child? Here are some guidelines to help you determine whether your child is ready to have a freedom given to them:
- When he is told what to do by his parent, he willingly obeys from a right heart with no arguing. Then he is ready for a freedom.
- When she is handed something without being given a choice, she receives it with grace and thankfulness and without complaining later. She is ready for more freedom.
- When he is given a freedom, he diligently honors it and doesn’t abuse it. He is ready for more freedom.
- When she treats her siblings with love and respect, she is ready for freedom.
- When he is intelligent but does not walk around with a proud heart or use it to manipulate others to get his way, he is ready for additional freedom.
The point I am making here is that the proper use of freedom is definitely a heart issue. I have seen too often where parents have given freedoms because of age, academic success, or because their children’s friends had a freedom and they don’t want their child to look bad in front of their peers (this is a parental heart issue). Every single time freedoms were given for these reasons, the parents come back asking, “What did I do wrong?” Freedoms should be given on an individual basis. There is no magic formula since each child is unique, but there is a guide. Prov. 20:11 says “Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right.” Freedoms come when a heart is right before the Lord. The timing of receiving a particular freedom will look different for each child, and the parameters might be different. Some children might need to be called back from a freedom for a season before it is given again. Some children can even start out with a right heart and then the freedom goes to their heads and they become proud. It is okay to remove a freedom until a humble heart is shown once again.
The next time you are wondering if your child is ready for a freedom, check to see how he is doing by going through the above statements. Pray and ask the Lord to show you your child’s heart and what he is characterized by. When you do grant a freedom, keep an eye on your child and remind him of the trust you are putting in him by giving him this freedom. If he shows that he can handle it, make sure you tell him how pleased you are with him. Children who are given freedoms appropriately become adults who are honored for their responsibility and diligence.