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The Five Biggest Ideas in Parenting


Parenting is a big challenge to parents especially in the context of today’s society. More often, than not parents are too busy and do not spend enough time with their children. Furthermore, the little time spent with their children does not impact their (children’s) lives because the kind of interaction they have is often of low quality. This leaves them at the mercies of nannies and the media. Albert Bandura among many other scholars has continuously warned the society of the devastating effects of children spending too much time on media especially violent media. Video games and TV programs have been used widely to act as babysitters and are taking over parenting roles. Since these emerging means of parenting are not regulated, children have been exposed to adapt characters which might not be very welcoming in the society. This is a serious issue as it will determine the kind of society that will rise in the near future.

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In reference to the above issue, this paper will make an attempt to offer a solution in form of five big ideas which parents can apply in their parenting roles to mould their children into better adults. The ideas are adapted from the book Boundaries with Kids authored by Cloud and Townsend. The authors have made tremendous steps to formulate a set of laws which parents can apply to their children to instil discipline in loving manners. A personal reflection of how the ideas are related to my life as a parent is also given towards the end of the paper. The five ideas are discussed in the following order: understanding parenting; the law of responsibility; the law of reaping and sowing; the law of exposure and disciplining in the right way.

Understanding Parenthood

I have viewed this as the top idea in my list of the biggest five ideas. This is because understanding the basic role of parenting will make it possible for parents to willingly embrace the other big ideas some of which call for sacrifices to be put into action. It is through understanding the role of parenting that parents will prioritize their children over their jobs in the current society. The authors argued that parents ought to understand that parenting is for the future. They should know that a parent has a duty to prepare the child for the future.

The authors sadly complained that many parents carry out parenting roles for their “own personality, childhood, need of the moment, or fears” (Cloud and Townsend, p. 14). The authors pressed on arguing that not unless parents take time to address parenting properly has they do with other faculties like education, the society will continue to have people who have extreme inner weaknesses and who more often than not will continue to fail when circumstances turn out to be tough.

The authors argued that parenting is a duty given to parents by God. They further claimed that parents need to understand that the life of a child ought to reflect the image of God. This can only be done if the parents take parenting as a training that a child should go through; they quoted the book of proverbs “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Cloud and Townsend, p. 16). The authors argued that parents need to appreciate and embrace the fact that the future of their children is made at the present time. It is upon this understanding that they will be able to make sacrifices and take enough caution on the kind of parenting they subject their children to.

If parents understand that parenting has the ability to completely change the destiny of their children then they may make more commitment to the parenting duty. Parents ought to acknowledge that parenting is a responsibility given to them by God and as such they are held accountable for the way their children grow up.

The Law of Responsibility

The law of responsibility as discussed by Cloud and Townsend (2001) is meant to help children do what they ought to do and not view it as an extra task they are undertaking or as a favour they are doing anybody. The authors claimed that children ought to learn to pull their own wagons in order to become responsible. The authors claimed that children ought to understand the difference between rewards and consequences. The authors were very practical in differentiating between rewards and consequences and made it clear that it was very significant that children learn the differences. Enabling children to learn the differences is at the centre of a child learning to be responsible. The author warned against parenting which rewards too much even when it is not necessary.

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The authors claimed that children should only be rewarded when they have learned a new skill. Rewarding a child after he/she has learnt a new skill is quite rewarding as it makes the child keen on learning new skills. This will make the child eager to learn and willing to accommodate new skills. This in line with what happens in the world anywhere whether you are referring to corporate bodies or any other body in that case.

The authors were very categorical on the issue of rewarding and specified that rewarding should not be attempted for age related duties; tasks which are expected to be performed by a child should not be rewarded. This will be inclusive of new ideas which already have been learnt. If a child has learnt an idea then it is expected that the child will put the idea into practice. The first time the child learns the ideas there can be rewards for that but its subsequent application should not be rewarded.

The authors also made it clear that parents should not fail to impose punishment on children when they fail to carry out what they are expected to. Tasks which are age related when not done should lead to punishment. Parents need to be hard on their children when they fail to carry out such tasks. This makes the children learn that they ought to carry out what they are expected to without failure. This will enable them to be responsible and always carry out their duties as expected.

I believe that if parents are able to help their children realise the difference between what is expected of them and what should be treated as an achievement, then the children will grow to be responsible. Apart from that parents should also ensure that if children fail to undertake what is expected of them then the consequences will follow.

The Law of Reaping and Sowing

This law has an inclination towards making children make responsible decisions. Reaping and sowing is a basic bible principle taught by Christians. As the bible teaches, what is sown is exactly what will be reaped. If children are induced into this kind of understanding then they will grow to make responsible decisions. The authors argued that it is good for children to face the consequences of some of their actions as this will act as reminder to them.

If children are able to understand that what they do will affect their future lives then they are likely to make wise decisions. This can only be the case if they get to learn the law of sowing and reaping when they are still young and from minor issues. It should be noted that children are very observant and easily learn new ideas. Therefore the idea of sowing and reaping can equally be learnt.

The authors argued that letting children feel the experience of the result of their actions will make them learn and think when they engage in some activities. Depending on what a child has done, the parents should come in to help him/her from the consequences. Parents are urged to take care when they are intervening on the actions that their children have done. Parents should not always come to the help of their children especially when they (the children) repetitively do what they are warned against. Leaving them to face the consequences will teach them the principle of sowing and reaping.

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The law of sowing and reaping is closely related to the law of responsibility as both have a tendency to make children grow being responsible. The authors argued that the law of sowing and reaping prepares children to meet the demands of life. It makes children to grow being alert about every action they engage in. It also triggers them to think ahead and see if anything wrong will result in future as a result of undertaking what they wish to do at the present time.

The Law of Exposure

The authors claimed that “the law of exposure says that life is better lived in the light” (Cloud and Townsend, p. 194). This law requires that parents open up to their children and let them learn the truth. The authors argued that children should not be covered from knowing the truth as this will make them make wrong assumptions. If a child does not perform better in school, for instance, the parent should tell the child that that is quite worrying. This can help the child to intensify his/her efforts when assistance is being given for instance through private tutoring.

The authors argued that children should be taught to live a life which is exposed. They should not hide anything from their parents. The authors argued that for children to practice the law of exposure the parents have to live exposed lives as an example. Children should be taught to know that life spent in light is better than hiding issues. The way parents communicate with each other and with their children should be done in a way that does not hide some things under the cover. If children suspect that their parents are not exposing some issues to them then they may adopt the same attitude towards them. Parents should teach their children to be honest. The authors argued that “darkness of deception will be much more painful than living in the light of exposure” (Cloud and Townsend, p. 194).

The law of exposure will help the children to open up to their parents in case of an issue which might be viewed to be sensitive. For instance, if an underage child is sexually abused in any manner it might be hard for her to open up to her parents about the issue if she was not trained to open up early. Training children to open is significant as it helps them to open up about some issues which require parental assistance.

Discipline the right way

The book has given a systematic way of parenting especially in regard to discipline. As it is written in the bible, if a cane is spared the consequence is that a child is spoilt. The authors have laid their arguments on better parenting along this principle of not keeping a cane away from the child. Reading through the book, you will find this big idea intertwined in the laws formulated by the authors.

The authors warned the readers that if parents are not to take precautionary measures and correct their children whenever they mess up then likely there are consequences which will follow. In the book, a cane takes many forms including being the literal cane. The authors made it clear that parents should not let love override everything. If a child has messed up he should be given a fair chance to correct the mistake but if the child fails to learn then the consequences should follow.

There are various examples given throughout the book displaying instances of parents engaging in over protective measures. A child should be brought up knowing that if he messes himself up he will likely face the consequences on his/her own. The authors have made their explanation so well that there is a state of balance between facing the consequences and opening up for assistance.

The authors made it clear that when a child underperforms he/she ought to face some punishment. When a child fails to deliver where he is expected to deliver then he should be punished. The authors acknowledged the fact that disciplining a child might neither be pleasant to the parent nor the child but then they quote the bible as favouring discipline “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful” (Cloud and Townsend, P. 67). The author claimed that discipline “produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Cloud and Townsend, p. 67).

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The authors made it very clear to the parents that disciplining a child might be hard but that it was for his/her good. The child being disciplined may, at times, rebel but this is what we do ourselves: “remember that this is what God goes through with us every time he disciplines us for our own good. We protest, hate him, whine, shake our fist, and condemn him as being unfair” (Cloud and Townsend, p. 219).

Personal Reflection

  • Understanding parenthood: It is true life has become so busy. As I had pointed out in the introduction, parenting roles have been shifted from parents to nannies and the media. I do not mean to say nannies are bad but parents ought to know that God holds them accountable for the lives of their children. I am a parent and I do understand this and as a result have purposed to set some quality time for my son. I believe that as parents we ought to create time for our children. When scheduling other activities it will be very wise to schedule time for our children. This way we will be able to impact our children in a Godly manner.
  • Law of responsibility: Teaching a child to be responsible is quite significant. Being responsible is a great virtue which lacks even among adults. Teaching a child to be responsible will enable him/her avoid common mistakes which his/her age mates may be making. One of the common mistakes that children commit is not doing their home assignments given to them from school. If a child is brought up in a manner that encouraged evading of his/her duties then likely he will grow up to become irresponsible.
  • Law of Reaping and Sowing: I believe that teaching children to know how to make correct decision is assisting them build a firm foundation for their lives. I tend to think that children who understand the principle of sowing and reaping will always think about the decisions they make beforehand. I believe helping my son to understand this principle will be giving him a head start in life. Learning this principle will make him grow to be responsible enough to avoid what might not add any value to his life. Though a children may not fully appreciate the law of sowing and reaping I believe that as children grow up they will be in a position to fully acknowledge the beauty of this principle.
  • The Law of exposure: I believe that opening up to your children is possible when you trust each other. As a parent I am working out to build a close relationship with my son which will make it possible for us to trust each other. I believe that opening up is only possible when the child understands the parent. Personally, I endeavour to make everything clear to my son when he is of age. If I will be disciplining him I will ensure that he first understands why he is being disciplined and what is expected of him from me as her parent. I believe this will give him a positive view of me and will make it possible for him to open up to me in case of assistance he may require from me.
  • Discipline the right way: I believe that being disciplined is key to success. Helping a child to be disciplined will make him/her get along well with everybody. It is the power of discipline that makes a person to be self controlled. Discipline earns a person respect as everybody is able to associate well with the person. Success in studies and in anything requires discipline. Personally, I view discipline as such a big idea that I rank it number one character for parents to give priority when teaching their children. Actually, it can be argued out that all the laws listed in the book are subsets of discipline.


Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. (2001). Boundaries with kids. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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StudyCorgi. "The Five Biggest Ideas in Parenting." December 30, 2021.


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