Should we protect or shelter our children? Everybody has a different opinion on this, and we’d have to begin with defining terms. What do we mean by protect or shelter? I’m just going to say that sheltering is never a bad thing in the Bible that I can find. Smothering isn’t so great, but the difference between the two is something nobody can decide for somebody else.
Maybe we need to ask what it is we should or should not be protecting them from?
We’re conservative parents, and we do work at guarding our children from unwholesome influences when they are younger, we release bit by bit as they grow older. But we also know that unwholesome influences do not only come from outside. If we lived in a jungle with no influences but our Bible and each other, we would still have to guard against sinful attitudes and actions because human beings are simply far from perfect. Nobody has to teach us to be mean, ugly, selfish, self-centered, or prideful. Most of us figure this out all by ourselves distressingly early in life.
What we do need to guard against are the influences that make us complacent in our sin.
We also need to guard against those influences that appeal primarily and sometimes only to the flesh.