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Borders and Boundaries - A short set of Rules

Updated on October 18, 2011
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Married and father of three children. Masters degree in Zoology. Over twenty years of experience in sales and marketing. Writes and paints.

Borders and Boundaries - A short set of Rules

Parenting is a full time 24 hour job, at least in the beginning. This does not mean that 24 hours a day you are at work on this job, but it does mean that you are 24/7 responsible. So how do we get through all of this?

It can be done with great difficulty or with ease or, if you are normal a bit of both.

It is not an easy job if we want to achieve the correct result, which is basically in my opinion a good person who will know how to respect themselves, respect others, (all others - another important topic for a hub), who can think, have an opinion and confidence in themselves, know the rules and are aware that there are no freebies and that it is necessary to earn a living.

To see ones child become a young adult who knows that he or she are individuals with aspirations and dreams is very satisfying. The aspirations or “direction in life” come to some of us later than others, but everyone is unique and in today’s world there need not be too much of a rush. (I will deal with this in a future hub).

The important thing is that our offspring are good people, someone that you are proud of, not because they have achieved greatness in a profession, but because they are just simply good.

I purposely have not stated that it is important that they become an educated person with a multitude of degrees. This is a means to achieve a good job.

It does not guarantee that the person is a good one.

Of course as parents we are very proud that our child is achieving, throughout their and our entire life.

All of this achievement, in my eyes is worthless, if the person is not a good full person, and if we achieve this, the rest follows.

We all are part of a society with norms, rules and laws. We may think or aspirate to live as we want, do what we want, but we all live within a set of rules. This set of rules enables our societies to exist, and within it we can do as we please.

The somewhat “unusual” notion of us actually living by a set of rules is the second thing as new and “old” parents we need to digest (the first being that we are the bosses in decisions for our kids - see hub “Parenting the Beginning – Who is Boss ).

Okay, we understand that we have laws and norms in society, but are there others as well?

The answer to the above question is simple, yes.

There should also be a set of rules, laws and boundaries, within which our household lives. (I assume that everyone reading this understands that this set of rules is within the laws of the country they live in and that we are not declaring a new one.)

The setting of boundaries and ground rules is not my idea and can be found in so many child psychology publications, but from experience, it is a necessity. When boundaries and limits are not set, when the child can do as it pleases, hell can break out.

Rule no 1: Have a set of rules and boundaries

Be logical when setting them. If they are too strict, rebellion will occur. This rebellion will occur even if your kids behave at home. They will rebel when you are not around, and believe it, or not, you do not really have any idea exactly what your kids are up to when you are not around. So invest in their becoming logical, good people.

Children are always testing the limits. Trying to see how far they can get. It’s a tiring game, and more often than not the child wins. This is our, as parents, pitfall. We are after a days work, tired, and we let the water flow through the dam. All we want is peace and quite.

This will be true, for a few brief moments. Later on, sometimes even the same day, our wonderful child will try again, test us and try get over the limits. This should not happen and the children should know and abide by the limits.

I say the child wins, from experience and watching others. This phenomena of nature happens when the child requests something, is given a negative answer and yet still gets away with getting the request, or attempts to do something that is not within the ground rules and we allow it.

A rule is a rule and if we say no, it must remain a no.

This is the tricky part, sometimes we say no because we don’t really feel up to whatever was requested, yet we know that a yes was also ok. Therefore, think before saying no, because to change to a yes weakens you. Weakens, yes, its war when the kids want something that you have refused and you know you cannot back down.

Therefore, Rule no 2Think before saying NO

Giving kids some slack and I say giving because you as parents will give it, is OK. It allows them to think and to request in a respectful manner. They will know that the answer if the request is logical will probably be a yes.

This brings us to rule No 3: Say yes when it is logical

But what sometimes, or in some families all the time, happens when we say no?

A war can break out. It can and will, unless the kids know that NO is NO

Rule 4 – NO is NO

Do not waiver and stand by the NO. This will earn you more respect and give discipline.

It will also ensure that there will be no arguments or trials to overcome the ruling.

I personally am one of those “great Dads” who say no only to change it to a big yes if the request is more or less normal. The kids know this and if they want something that they are not sure they can get, it is to me they come. Their Mom if in these situations says no, it is a final no. So they try Dad first, second and third. Luckily we balance each other and the three kids are great people. “But at least I know I am surely wrong “

Therefore the balance of our boundaries is to ensure that the outcome we want is not a disciplined timid and frightened individual, but a person that is confident, respectful and knows what is allowed and is not allowed.

The home is not a democracy but an environment with the parent’s rules and limits.

These house rules as I stated above must be logical, coherent with the norms of society, and suited to your family. Yes, your family, another unique entity.

They must give the children enough freedom to ask and request, yet know the limits over which a request will be denied.

Children want these boundaries which give them security and the feeling that someone in their home is looking after them.

So let us parents not be afraid of Rules and Boundaries, and use them to help our children become good individuals.

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