What Kids Need: Parental Boundaries

It doesn’t take very long for kids to learn that they can break the rules without consequences.  Parents help kids learn self-discipline and self-control when they set boundaries in the home and enforce them.  As a high school administrator for many years, I would often see parents come in for various conferences following a suspension and set all kinds of boundaries, knowing full well they would not enforce them.  Sometimes I believe that parents get tired of staying on top of things.  That is a legitimate concern, but none-the-less, time and energy put into enforcement must not stop when it comes to raising kids.  Sit down with your young person and talk about some basic expectations for behavior, chores, and general conduct.  Let them know that you expect the same quality standard when they are out in public too.

When kids talk with their parents about rules, if they feel something is unreasonable, they should let them know, and parents need to be willing to listen.  Tell your child the concern behind the rules and why it is so important.  Ask your kids to suggest alternatives to your follow-through and what they think would be reasonable.  Teach your kids to accept the consequences for their behaviors and accept the limitations that they impose.  Home boundaries help to develop a substantial character-building component.  I could always tell the parents that taught their kids this because they would come into my office knowing full-well they had stepped outside of the school rules and were more than willing to accept their course correction.  That is impressive when a young person has that solidness in their character. m

Today I encourage parents and kids to sit together and set some general guidelines for home boundaries.  Explain why limitations are essential and how they teach skills that are with kids for life.  Be sure also to discuss the concern behind the rules and why they are a standard in your home.  Taking time to establish boundaries will build extraordinary kids.

Yours for Better Parenting,

Rich