One of the earliest parenting concepts I knew I wanted to implement with my children came long before I became a parent: Commit to always tell my children the moral reason why. Rather than just a list of do’s and don’ts, I saw the importance of instilling in my children the moral reason behind the rule, guideline, or boundary.

I knew from my own experience growing up, just having a rule given without the moral understanding of why, was a recipe for disaster. I lacked the moral understanding of consequence and affect on my future beyond the obvious grounding or that it wasn’t what a “good Christian” does.

When my daughter was two-years old, it was harder to get out a full explanation of moral reasoning as her attention span waned quickly. I remember telling myself, “Get it out quicker next time!” Clearly the appropriate explanation for a two year old differs from that of a teenager. However, at each age, deeper understanding is important.

Just like us, our children have a sinful nature and it’s a natural tendency to want to take the path of least resistance, rebel, push the limits, or think we are somehow exempt from “that” every happening to us.

Often, the quick response we give to our children asking why is, “Because I said so” or “It’s the right thing to do.” But how will that reasoning suffice when our children have their moments of, What if I don’t want to do the right thing or I’m mad at her right now so who cares what she said!

As parents, we need to make sure we teach our children the whole picture. What happens when we break that rule—physically, spiritually, or emotionally? What is the greater purpose of the boundary? What affect does thinking on destructive or immoral things have on our heart and mind and how does that change our overall focus long term? What does the Bible say about it?

It may not be the fastest response, but it’s the more complete response that gives our children tools to do life in their future!