How to Establish Boundaries for Kids
Any parent knows that it’s in kids’ nature to test their limits; it seems to be something all kids are born knowing how to do and often they do it extremely well!! As a parent, your task is to teach kids how to test their limits respectfully, without being angry or defiant, and to know that ultimately, you, the parent, are in charge.
Here are some ways parents can help guide their kids in the right direction when they test limits:
- Teach them to express their opinions and needs in respectful manner. Remember your kids learn from you – model the behavior you want. Speak to your child in a kind tone, be firm but friendly when you discipline, and never yell at or belittle your child when he does something wrong or you don’t agree with him.
- Be clear about what is expected of them. Make sure the rules are clear with your child. Remember there are some rules that are non-negotiable such as riding a bike without a helmet.
- Keep discussions brief. Children need to feel that their parents listen to them, but there is not always the need to have long conversations, especially when its about their safety. There is only so much information a child can absorb fully.
- Be consistent. Don’t change the boundaries – that is very confusing for a child.
Remember in a power struggle, the parent has to be a clear winner.