Setting boundaries with our children is one of the most important things we can do for them. It is our responsibility as parents. However, setting firm boundaries with our children, especially our teen children, is very difficult!
We have to follow some basic rules when setting boundaries for our children, as well as others:
- Know your limits and your expectations.
If you feel strongly about certain things such as academics, chores, peer relationships, etc., make sure you clearly state your limits and expectations. For example, if you expect your child to complete homework prior to participating in extracurricular activities, be consistent with that rule. 2. Be direct and make your boundaries known.
Don’t be vague with your expectations and limits. Set boundaries and stick with them, regardless of the situation or the environment (don’t cave in to your own peer pressure). 3. Don’t feel guilty about saying NO.
To be honest, no is not a word anyone enjoys hearing. Children, and teens especially, hate to hear the word no. However, no is a very important word that is often necessary to protect ourselves or others. If we use the word no for the right reasons, there is no need to feel guilty about it. 4. Seek support when you need it.
It helps to have a spouse or a nonjudgmental friend that will offer support when you go through times when maintaining boundaries is difficult. Those times can arise because we are exhausted, physically ill, or going through a personal struggle. It happens to the best of us! Reach out to your spouse or friend when you need support. We have to use every tool in the tool belt when dealing with a super manipulative teen! 5. Once you set your boundaries, be assertive.
It is not good enough to simply identify your boundaries, you have to make them known, and the really hard part–maintian them! We have to be firm, not sometimes, not most of the time, but all of the time! Once a teen spots a chink in our armor, they will attempt to take advantage of us and we lose the boundary battle.