The Circle of Safety (2.0)


Back in May I introduced The Circle of Safety and today I’d like to further that discussion, as now I have a tangible example to share about how this tool helped my son and I recently.

Recently we had one of those days where we had to discipline our son numerous times in one day. Those days are just plain hard. While I’ve used The Circle of Safety in the back of my mind as a tool, I sensed that day that he was old enough to understand it, and so I decided to sit him down on my lap and explain it to him once things had calmed down and the timing was right.

I read Ephesians 6:1-3 to him: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ – which is the first commandment with a promise – ‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.'”

I showed Atticus the above picture and explained that while mommy and daddy aren’t perfect, we are God’s representative to him, and the boundaries we put in place are to protect him. I said that when he obeys us, things go well with him and he’s happy and safe. When he disobeys, he steps outside the circle, is at risk, and things won’t go well for him. He looked up at me after I talked with him and said, “I want to stay in the circle.”

At three, he’s able to grasp this concept. He’s seen how things go when he disobeys. He’s seen how things go when he obeys. He’s beginning to see the cause and effect of obedience and disobedience.

As parents, we are the authority God put in place for our children – we must direct them on His behalf for their good. I’ve been so encouraged (which I needed because sometimes as a parent you just need “a win”!) that through good communication, and discipline when necessary, our son is discovering that things really do go well for him when he obeys. I’ve brought “the circle” up with him numerous times since our first conversation and it’s really been helpful for both he and I lately.

Maybe the circle of safety can be a helpful biblical tool right now in your household.



*Check out Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp for The Circle of Safety and more.

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