If you are on social media, you’ve probably seen an Instagram post, TikTok, or a Facebook post about boundaries. “Boundaries” is quite the buzzword these days. But what exactly are they? Boundaries are critical to creating healthy relationships. They create a safe space for each individual to reach their full potential. Boundaries are especially important within families. Modeling healthy boundaries teaches children how to set boundaries for themselves and contributes to their development, relationships skills, and self-worth. Author Henry Cloud said it best, “boundaries are basically about providing structure, and structure is essential in building anything that thrives.”
Take a look at 5 different ways parents can start to establish boundaries within the home.
1. Involve the whole family
Involve the whole family when creating boundaries. Doing so helps children feel like they participated in negotiating boundaries. It encourages them to adopt them with enthusiasm and responsibility. Have a discussion with your partner beforehand to avoid miscommunication.
2. Be precise
Being vague can actually encourage children to push boundaries. When it’s unclear what the limits are, children will test them. This does not mean that having clear expectations will eliminate the chances of boundary-pushing, but it will encourage communication and good decision making.
3. Be consistent
Maintaining the consequences of breaking boundaries can be hard. The best way to create good habits and promote long-term results is to stay consistent in the consequences that are set for certain behaviors and actions.
4. Recognize good behavior
Too many consequences or focusing on negative consequences can demotivate children, especially teenagers. Humans of all ages respond well to praise. When you catch children doing good things, acknowledge the behavior.
5. Make a visual
Display your boundaries in an open space for all to see. It can be a list of clear consequences posted on the fridge or in every bedroom. This will help children to be consistent and avoid miscommunication.
Enforcing boundaries in the home helps developmental skills to flourish. Children understand what it means to be accountable and respect the boundaries of others, even at a young age. By modeling healthy boundaries, we give children the tools they need to create healthy relationships of their own.
Check out our Parents as Teachers program if you would like support on your parenting journey, including setting boundaries.