In a parent-child relationship, a parent is the adult and holds authority over the children.
This means that the children should follow the discipline and rules set by the parents.
However, at times, children tend to exhibit improper behaviour or invade the personal
space of their parents. This is when the parents need to set boundaries.
What’s the Difference Between the Rules and Boundaries?
A rule is a specific set of instructions to do things in a certain manner. A boundary is a line
that you draw around to protect your personal space and well-being. All relationships must
have boundaries and so does the parent-child relationship. However, these boundaries
should not create any fear, shame or embarrassment for children. Tricky, isn’t it?
Simple Ways to Create Parenting Boundaries
1. State the Rules
The first step to setting the boundaries is to establish ground rules. This will help children to
understand the kind of behaviour you expect from them. Always be firm to stand by rules
with some rare exceptions depending on the gravity of the situation. Make children part of
the rule-making process so that they have equal responsibility in it.
2. Explain the Reasons
While setting the boundaries, explain to children the reason behind it. Let’s say, you have an
online office meeting for one hour. Tell your children that “Please do not disturb me during
my meeting. It is an important meeting. If anything gets wrong, it will affect my work.” Your
children will get the idea and respect this boundary.
3. Hold the Child Responsible for Consequences
If your child doesn’t follow the boundaries, it is fine to make them realize it. So, if your child
disturbed your meeting, you can let them know how it impacted you. If the need is, you can
even provide gentle punishment. For example, you can reduce their screen time for a week.
This will help children understand acceptable behaviour.
4. Be Consistent
Sometimes, there is a temptation to withdraw the boundary. However, if you withdraw,
then it may look like an empty threat. Children will not respect the boundaries next time.
So, consistency in setting the boundaries is the key.
5. Praise Them
Just the way you punished the children for not following the boundaries, it is also equally
important to applaud them for following them. They feel acknowledged for their efforts.
They will feel more encouraged to maintain their boundaries.
Boundaries make parenting and your life easier. Boundaries don’t mean that you don’t love
your children; rather they are a way to protect your mental and physical health.