Setting Boundaries for your Children

Boundaries for your Children

The unofficial title of this article could be “preventing your kids from taking over your life,” but we think the term, “setting boundaries” is a little closer to the goal. That is, having kids is a big enough change itself; here are some tips to prevent you from losing yourself completely in the beautiful chaos that we call parenting.

Embrace Your New Normal

Here’s the truth: you’re going to miss some aspects of your life before kids. Not in a regretful way, but maybe in a wistful one. The extra sleep, the spontaneity, disposable income and  complete privacy are just a few things you’re going to miss. When you become a mother, you are responsible for another human being. As beautiful and extraordinary as this is, it comes with sacrifice. So, embrace your new normal and, instead of lamenting these things, start getting creative to bring back a little of the “old you” to the extent that you can.

Kids Need Structure

Whether your kids are sippy cup carriers or they’re on the high school cheer squad, it’s true: kids need structure. One of the best ways to set boundaries for your children is to establish and maintain structure. In the early years, it’s about set bedtime routines; later on, it’s curfews, expectations on checking in, and no cell phones after 10pm. Whatever it is, establish structure for your kids. It’s builds responsibility and respect for your time, too.

Be Persistent and Consistent

Setting boundaries for your children requires two main elements: you must be persistent and consistent in how to communicate rules, expectations and, as necessary, punishment. The worst think you can do is making your expectations a moving target: your kids will not know how they should behave if your expectations are constantly changing. You will be tired of arguing, tired of repeating yourself, and tired to working on this, but take heart: staying the course now will save you a lot of effort in the future.

Extend Respect to Get It

Even at an early age, kids can discern and understand the concept of fairness and equality. If you smoke, but tell them not to, they see the inconsistency. Likewise, if you demand respect and privacy, but don’t extend the same to your kids, they will be less likely to extend it to you. That’s not to say that you have to be your child’s best friend, but the Golden Rule about treating others the way you want to be treated hold some great advice for parents and kids alike.

Tell Them You Love Them

Parenting is tough work. There’s no denying it, but setting boundaries for your children will prepare them for real life while, at the same time, improving your relationship. Above all, make sure your kids know how much they are loved – if your words, your actions, your example and your intentions. Plus, when they get older, you just might see a glimpse of your “pre-child self” popping in now and then.

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