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Parental Boundaries and Limits

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Kids need clear boundaries and limits. Find out how boundaries and limits are part of the seven essential traits of parenting.
Have you ever played a game where the rules were not clearly understood, where no player was ever “out of bounds”? If so, you know about the chaos that ensues. The same is true of parenting—kids need clear boundaries. Not long ago, researchers from the University of Washington discovered that overly permissive parents tend to have children who are more entitled than their peers and tend to be the bullies in their social groups. But implementing boundaries can be tricky. When rules and expectations are enforced without love, grace and respect, the family atmosphere turns legalistic, without much room for grace and forgiveness. In my counseling practice, I’ve met several families in which parents have wanted me to “fix” their child’s behavior problems. As I talked with these children and their parents, it became clear that the real issue was a lack of clear boundaries in their home, or rules that were too strict and not applied with love and grace.
Related Content: Take our free 7 Traits of Effective Parenting Assessment to see where you rank in the area of boundaries and limits.
As parents, we often don’t have the energy or capacity to be perfectly consistent with the limits and boundaries we design for our home. I’ve had many moments where I’ve let standards slide. But our goal should be overall consistency in pursuing this trait, even if we have moments when we fall short. Boundaries laced with love, respect and grace provide several important benefits to kids:

Maturity and Discipline

The real world is filled with rules and limitations. Kids who understand healthy boundaries learn what it means to grow up and be more like an adult. They learn to confidently say “yes” and “no” without fear of what people think. They develop an ability to wait for rewards and contribute to a team effort.

Respect

Kids raised with boundaries learn to listen and respond to authority. Interestingly, discipline from parents is often seen as an opportunity to learn something, even though it doesn’t seem good in the moment.

Security

When kids understand expectations, they develop a stronger sense of safety and security. They understand what happens when they follow rules, even if they sometimes challenge those boundaries. Testing boundaries helps kids see what the true limits are, and when parents consistently enforce these boundaries, children’s desire to test limits diminishes. (Inconsistent enforcement can create frequent, tiresome battles.)

Enjoyment

Kids who recognized a predictable structure of family life are able to focus on fun and enjoyment rather than trying to figure out what rules are going to get them in trouble. These kids also don’t get hyper-focused on fairness and structure with friends or at school, because their home life helps them see that life, overall, has a healthy structure.

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Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.
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