So I let go of the reins and told them, ‘Run! Do it your own way!’ Psalm 81:12 (MSG)
Very early in my daughters childhood, I established a principle with them. I told them that I would trust them until they did something to prove to me that they were unworthy of that trust. I then warned them that they really didn’t want to experience Dad’s wrath if they did. As they got older and entered their teen years, my promise became harder to keep. Sometimes, I had a nagging doubts. Other times, I trusted them but I didn’t necessarily trust who they were with. Nevertheless, I stuck to the principle and refused to be overly protective or to say "no" just "because I said so." If I was going to rein them in, I had to have a very good reason.
It’s a funny thing. My daughters both came to value the trust I placed in them. They didn’t want me to become like the blindly judgmental, overbearing parents they saw with some of their friends. They certainly didn’t want to lose the trust they had built up with me. They made choices accordingly.
So where did I get the idea for this parenting principle? God. I’ve tried to model my parenting after the way my heavenly Father parents me. God doesn’t stop me from running off and making stupid mistakes. In fact, I’ve learned (the hard way) over and over again that He is willing to let me fail. When I do blow it, I’m reined in by the consequences of my own actions. I can’t argue with whatever rules are suddenly placed to modify my behavior. I put them there. Bitter experience is a better teacher than overprotection.