Protecting your children from temptation is not to be confused with overprotection and living out their lives for them, which does much harm.
With patient love, shield them from wrong involvements with others until they come to see what you see and grow strong enough to follow their conscience as you do.
Overconcern conveys to a child that he is an asset of positive or negative value to you. One kind of concern, criticism, is untrusting; it offends his vanity and makes him resentful.
Excessive praise, on the other hand, fills him with false confidence. Resentful, or intoxicated with pride, he or she loses their way and is attracted to temptation. And so, through too much love, we parents unwittingly set our children up to fail.
The resentful, pressured, or over-protected child will often seek outside comfort and trouble to feel secure.
He is now drawn to the very troubles his parents fear (in the name of love). In his rebellion, he deliberately creates unnecessary trouble as a challenge for growth, and in so doing, actually seizes the bait (the hidden temptation implicit in the parents willful concern).
"You need only concern yourself with living the next moment with firm, patient love. "
Alas! His resentment disables him from dealing with the very problems he created, so the child adds fuel to the fears of the rescuing parents whom he hates. Trouble in life comes soon enough for the innocent; so don’t set them up with too much spoiling love.
You must learn to discipline others without bribery or fear. You must impress your children with the strength of patient endurance, to perceive their faults without judgment (anger), as you provide them with firm, calm direction.
As a living example and principle, you become a subtle pressure to them. Through love’s enforced requirements, we keep them separate from too much socializing until they become mature enough to choose wisely from the alternatives that are clear to their unruffled observation.
Thus they are not blinded by the excitements of a world that “loves” your children into becoming one of them. For the world only loves them as a lion loves its prey.
While you must regret the harm you have done to your children in the past, you need only concern yourself with living the next moment with firm, patient love.
Then your confused children may challenge your new light, but here you will have your second chance to correct them properly. In this moment the past will be repaired in the present.