Helping to Set Healthy Boundaries for Children

Helping to set boundaries for children is not only healthy, but will help set them up for success in relationships throughout their lifetime.As parents, it is sometimes a challenge to teach our children about boundaries. In their world, the world is all about them so teaching our kids how to respect “the rules” and another person is vitally important.

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Below are some ideas in encouraging the learning of boundaries for children:

Boundaries for Children Tip #1. Model healthy boundaries. Children learn more by what we DO than what we tell them to do. Act responsibly, ethically, and FOLLOW THE RULES throughout your own life in just the same way you would like your children to.

Boundaries for Children Tip #2. Make the rules you expect your children to follow clear and concise. Healthy boundaries for children are dependent on this very step. If children are not sure of the rules and the standards of behavior that are expected, they’ll have a difficult time learning about boundaries! Sit down and have a clear conversation with your children on exactly what you expect of them. It helps, especially with younger children, to have those rules clearly posted in a visible place where they can be reminded of them on a daily basis.

Boundaries for Children Tip #3. Make sure your children are aware of the consequences that will take place should they break a family rule. Just as healthy boundaries for children is dependent on children understanding the “rules”, it is just as important that they understand what will happen IF they decide to break a rule. When choosing a consequence for a behavior, make sure it is age appropriate AND appropriate for the offense, as well.

Boundaries for Children Tip #4. Be consistent and follow through with your expectations and consequences. If you decide a rule stands, it stands. You must, each and every time, mean what you say and say what you mean if you want your children to take you seriously.

Boundaries for Children Tip #5. Boundaries are dynamic and grow as the child grows. A long-standing family rule may need to evolve as your children grow and develop.

It is our responsibility as parents to set boundaries for children that are age-appropriate and appropriate for each personality and family lifestyle. Children thrive and feel secure when there are clear expectations and consequences if those expectations are defied. It will take a lot of time and effort, but remember that the children you are molding will be tomorrow’s leaders. Teach your children to respect authority, treat others with kindness, and to respect others boundaries and you’ll have an adult who can change the world in wonderful ways!

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