Boundaries with Kids: “It’s never too early”

“It’s never too early to start setting those boundaries.” Angie Greaves shares her take on the parenting guide by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend, Boundaries with Kids: When to Say Yes, How to Say No.

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So why do we need to set boundaries for our children? Shouldn’t they just do what they’re told to and make life easy for us as parents? How wonderful a task parenting would be if that were the case.

The reality is, in setting boundaries for our children we also set parenting boundaries for ourselves; it’s a two way street as every relationship should be. The role of a parent never stops, but there are parental actions that definitely have a sell by date.

There’s a wonderful quote which I am sure you or your partner would have said at some time when your parenting journey began: “I want my children to have everything that I never had”.

It’s a loving quote, but in essence those words could be creating a rod for you to beat your own back and start a cycle of very needy childhood behaviour that will be hard to break. Boundaries with Kids – a little hard at times – highlights the approach that realistic tough love creates independent children, who at the right time will become strong, well-balanced adults.

There’s an incident at the beginning of this book that sets the scene of a mother cleaning her teenage son’s room. Her colleague’s very direct statement was “I pity his wife”.

Unfortunately our caring actions (if they don’t cease on time) set foundations for our kids that could lead to increased and unrealistic levels of expectations. We need to put the brakes on and give children the room to be independent, and not the green light to find a replacement parent.

Letting go and setting the correct boundaries therefore gives children a chance to have a balanced relationship with a loved one and gives them the initial tools they need for adulthood.

It’s never too early to start setting those boundaries.

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