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How to Create Boundaries for Your Children

Give Your Child Boundaries | Parent Like a Professional

Boundaries are healthy and, dare we say, DESIRED by our children!

As children develop, they learn how to make sense of the world.  They begin to understand cause and effect – how certain actions produce reliable outcomes.  This consistency of outcomes helps children make predictions – if they KNOW what happens consistently, then they can make better choices of how to behave (e.g., if I do this, then this happens, so I won’t do this).

Your kids are going to be more successful in the future if you can establish clear and reliable boundaries for them when they are young.  They will understand rules better and have improved impulse control (Read: 6 Steps to Creating House Rules That Your Children Will Follow).  Healthy house rules allow us as parents to better know when we should step in and provide some meaningful consequences, rather than relying on our feelings.

How to Create Boundaries for Your Children | Parent Like a Professional
If we’re having a bad day, we are liable to come down harder on our kids for a behavior that, under normal circumstances, would have been no big deal.  But as bad as we may feel after (ugh, I hate losing my temper with my kids), it’s actually counter-productive to our children's ability to learn how to self-regulate.  Our child thinks, 'One day it’s okay to splash in the bathtub, but other days it’s not okay and I get in trouble.'  It’s confusing, and this lack of consistency does not allow our children to make reliable predictions, and therefore behavior becomes more erratic.  

If you have already established a boundary on splashing, and that boundary never shifts regardless of how you are feeling, then your child will come to understand and follow the rules more easily.  As a result, you can fall back on implementing your boundaries rather than allowing your emotions to take over!

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