Parents are the ones who should draw the line and set healthy boundaries for their children to not go astray. This is a great challenge for many parents. As a teacher, I have been asked by parents about setting healthy boundaries with their child. Most parents fear that without their knowledge their child picks up bad mannerism and attitudes.
How to set healthy boundaries with your child? You can set healthy boundaries by making your child know how to respect and follow the rules. Make your child recognize when the line has been crossed. From there, teach him how to exercise self-control and correct their behavior. Being proactive in disciplining your child is important. It prevents your child from being disrespectful and indifferent.
Your child must feel you are on the same side when you set boundaries with him. He must not feel that you are being strict and inconsiderate. In this article, you will find out some effective tips on how you can set boundaries with your child. These tips will prevent your child from developing hatred and fear against you as you help him conduct himself according to a healthy set of boundaries.
Solutions To Set Boundaries For Your Child
You can always set rules at home but make sure that they are communicated properly to your child to avoid miscommunication and misinterpretation. You must make the boundaries clear and understood. To help you in setting limitations with your child, I am sharing with you these helpful solutions for an effective parenting experience:
- Earn your child’s trust
- Be consistent
- Involve your child in setting his own boundaries
- Make the rules visible
- Have fewer rules that are clearly defined
- Communicate the expectations
- Give reasons
- Have a warm but firm posture
- Affirm appropriate behavior
- Pick up bad behavior right away
- Teach respect in expressing opinions
- Expect non-compliance at times
1) Earn your child’s trust
Earning the trust of your child is the foremost concern that you need to work on. In setting limitations, your child will believe whatever you say if you are always true to your words. Your words should always be put into action. With this, your child will trust you once he can witness truthfulness and complementarity in what you say and do. For instance, you give a certain rule, you yourself should also follow as well. Remember, your credibility as someone who imposes rules lie in your hands.
2) Be consistent
Consistency is also important in setting safety boundaries among children today. Don’t keep on changing the rules that you have set for this action will lose its purpose. Make your child recognize that rules must be respected, and they can’t be changed easily. You must send a clear message that you are serious about imposing those regulations. When you change rules often, you tend to lose your credibility and your child’s trust.
3) Involve your child in setting his own boundaries
You must involve your child in making his own boundaries. This builds an appreciation that these rules are not meant to punish nor limit him but they were set for his welfare. When he is involved in the process, he takes ownership and responsibility for these rules. This will give him the opportunity to make clarifications and for him to really understand the rules. It’s better if this is a family matter because doing this will also allow collaboration among other family members.
4) Teach respect in expressing opinions and objections
When your child is involved in setting his limitations, he might raise his opinions and objections. Welcome his thoughts and from here, teach him how to express his views with the utmost respect. If ever he has questions or discomforts regarding his boundaries, make him raise his concerns using polite words and expressions. However, you must, in turn, show respect as well because the best way to model good behavior is through example.
5) Make the rules visible
It will help if the rules are seen by your child. Some families have the practice of posting somewhere else their house rules. If you want, you can post them in the kitchen, in your child’s bedroom, or put them in the cabinet in your living room. This way if you need to review and remind your child about the rules, they are just within reach. The visibility of rules also reminds everyone about the agreement made by all the members of the family.
6) Have fewer rules that are clearly defined
This solution is definitely good practice. Fewer rules observed faithfully and consistently are better than a hundred rules which are not being followed and are disregarded. When there are a handful of rules, it is easier to be consistent. It is also important to state the rules clearly to avoid misinterpretation.
7) Communicate the expectations
Communication is the key to setting clear boundaries with your child. You have to make your expectations communicated clearly with your child. Be specific with regard to time and specific responsibilities to avoid frustrations between you and your child. It is also important that the expectations that you set are according to the developmental stage of your child. If you have children of different ages, your expectations will vary from child to child.
8) Give your reasons
It is advisable to give your reasons to your child on the set boundaries. This will foster understanding that rules are necessary and that they are given for his welfare. With this, you can expect your child to be more cooperative in following the limitations. When you impose these boundaries on your child, you can have it in a lighter tone, and ensure that you mean what you say.
9) Have a warm but firm posture
Your posture in setting boundaries with your child matters. The manner you deal with him can affect his response to these rules. You must be warm but at the same time firm. When you tend to be so warm, you might not be taken seriously while when you are so firm, your child might develop fear. You can do this by talking with your child with an understanding tone, and as much as possible, do not shout or yell at him.
10) Affirm appropriate behavior
Affirmations can motivate the child to do appropriate behavior. In giving affirmations, you can say kind words and words of appreciation to your child even for his simple accomplishment. Recognize good behavior so he will be encouraged to do well again and again. A child who does not receive affirmations might withdraw from your set boundaries. Affirmations are important in developing good behavior.
11) Pick up bad behavior right away
When you witness bad behavior, you have to pick it up right away. In doing this, you are teaching the child what’s right and wrong that very moment. Delay in picking up may no longer serve its purpose, and it might already be forgotten. There is also the tendency that the bad behavior will not be brought to the attention of the child anymore, and bad behavior persists.
12) Expect non-compliance at times
There will be moments when your child will not be able to follow all your rules. You shouldn’t get frustrated. This does not mean that your child is not respectful or is hardheaded. The reality is that your child is still a child, and there are really circumstances that will challenge him. If ever he commits a mistake, remember to treat every mistake of your child as his learning experience. As a parent, you’ll be the one to guide your child not to commit the same mistake again.
To have a disciplined child is the main reason why you need to set boundaries with your child. Even though boundaries would limit a child, these will also form his healthy habits and attitudes. Good behavior must be possessed by your child so he can take the right path as he grows old. With these boundaries, your child is guided towards being a disciplined and loving person. As a parent, you have to ensure that your child follows a set of healthy boundaries, as it’s easiest to develop a behavior at home.
Why does your child go beyond your set boundaries? Children go beyond boundaries for various reasons. At times, they simply don’t understand the rules which you’ve set, and they find it hard to follow. Another reason is that they would like to be independent, and that’s why they tend to become assertive. The worst reason for disobedience is when your child tends to imitate what the significant others around him are doing.
What are the effects of having no boundaries? A child without boundaries would tend to have poor decision-making skills and a lack of self-control. Since they are not used to having boundaries that guide them, they make decisions without considering important factors in their lives. Also, the lack of self-control is the fruit of having no boundaries. The child will just do whatever he wishes, and this makes it hard for him to exercise self-regulation.