Giving your child boundaries can be a difficult experience. We love our children and can be difficult to tell our children no, especially when it is not received well, and tantrums are their response. It can be an emotional moment for all involved, but it is an important part of raising children to be independent and responsible adults. Having boundaries and sticking to them helps children to have stable and balanced relationships in the future. It teaches empathy and understanding of others. They also help to guide them in how to interact with their environment. For example, what is acceptable behavior in public settings such as school, an in the future at work. The best way to begin giving your children boundaries is to have a plan. The first thing to do is to give clear and precise expectations to include the explanation of consequences both positive and negative. For example, instead of saying “Can you clean up your room?” Say “You need to have your room cleaned before it is time or dinner (or 4:00) Phrasing it this way makes it a statement an not a question which gives the child a direct and simple direction of what they need to do. Then clearly state the consequence such as “Any thing not put away correctly is to e given away.” Keep your expectations clear and easy to understand. The next thing is to make sure that what you set is something that you can and will follow through with. One of the biggest mistakes made is giving a consequence that you are not going to do such as taking away an activity that has been planned, or a trip that has already been paid for. Never tell them that they will lose a trip to the movies if you can’t or won’t follow through with it. To be clear, say what you mean and do what you say! It is also especially important to be consistent. If the expectation is to sit at the table using table manners and talk as a family during meals on Monday, don’t turn on the television or allow the Ipad at the table on Tuesday. Being consistent erases any confusion on what you expect to happen. Children will rebel against expectations when they are confused and frustrated when the expectation is altered and not the same all the time. An important key to setting boundaries is to be a team with your parenting partner. You both need to be on the same page. Each of you need to be aware of the expectations and any consequences. You both need to agree on all the parameters in order to be a united team. Boundaries can also be a great lesson in negotiation and communication. Going back to the cleaning their room example. You and your child can negotiate on things such as where the blocks go, and which drawer is use for socks. Giving your child a chance to have responsibility for part of the expectation may give them a sense of ownership in it. Giving them a sense of control in the situation can help them follow through with a little less arguing. Just be careful as to make sure that they understand that their choices must it into your plan. You are the one untimely in charge. Setting and following through on boundaries can be difficult and emotional. The best thing you can do is not give in or give up. Keep in mind that teaching children limits will make your everyday routines go much smoother. Having boundaries, expectations, and consequences will help to teach your child how to respect themselves and others. It will help them to develop positive methods to interact with others and to formulate positive relationships.
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