ATConnect All >

Love and Limits

Warning: You might not like what you’re going to read (or watch). Please hear me out, for the good of your son and his future. Parenting is a daunting task as the game has changed (and will continue to) when it comes to preparing this Millennial Generation for the ‘real’ world.

Consequently, there is a growing belief that permissive parenting is linked to children becoming overweight, overmedicated, anxious and lacking respect for themselves and others. Research also affirms that children who aren’t taught and demonstrated right from wrong by their parents are more likely to be anxious, depressed, less likely to be gainfully employed, less likely to be healthy and more likely to be addicted to drugs or alcohol.

It seems that parents who want to be friends with their children are actually hurting their children! Boys don’t need to like their parents, they need to love and respect them, and if parents are fair and firm, they’ll get both from their sons. Indeed, parents that provide a hierarchy are ideal as boys need guidance, limits, and consequences whilst their brains are under construction as well as faith, hope and love. See the YouTube video below.

Boys will always abuse their privilege and power in the real world if they don’t have strong adult role models, if they don’t learn to associate their actions with consequences, if they aren’t taught how to get along with others, if they aren’t shown how to respect authority, or if they never learn to be responsible for themselves.

So how can this be circumvented? If parents did these two things for their sons – love and limit them. Firstly, there is no doubt that boys need our love the most when they deserve it the least. When boys are loved unconditionally, they learn to value life unconditionally. When they have the confidence that they can come to you with anything from a broken heart to a broken bank balance, they will have the resilience to bounce back every time they get knocked down. Secondly, boys need parents who limit them through clear and consistent boundaries. When parents are disciplined, boys respond positively. Parents are called to gift their sons emotional discipline, time discipline and moral discipline. Our boys need to learn to face rejection and disappointment as an integral part of life so that they don’t get unusually angry or depressed. The great news is that we have fantastic parents (and sons) here at ATC who are inspirational people of love and limits. The challenge, as always, is to love ourselves for our normal, natural limitations as parents. Enjoy the journey!

Conor Finn, Dean of Formation


Donald Trump. The very mention of America’s 45th president inspires conversation, opinion and controversy. While watching his inaugural Washington address, I was shocked to hear the central theme referred to throughout; “America First!” This line – a throwback to world politics in the 1930’s – directly contradicts our Service formation pillar at Ambrose Treacy College which is the notion of putting others before ourselves.

When we walk in the shoes of the poor and marginalised, we gain a perspective of the world which shapes our values. In 2017, all in our community will be challenged to be MAD; to be ‘Making a Difference.’ The service program at the College presents opportunities to make the lives of others more pleasant. More information will be distributed in coming weeks, but I encourage all boys to open their eyes to the world around them and to make a contribution to the Common Good for all in our community.

Please see the link below to our Service Handbook for 2017.

Matt Warr, Assistant Dean of Formation