Establishing your authority with boundaries

* Boundaries allow you to express your limits and to communicate the conditions or availability of certain privileges that your children desire.

* Boundaries prevent conflict and build win-win power structures. They help you take care of yourself while attempting to accommodate your children’s needs or desires.

* Boundaries build a reward-oriented home environment. They emphasize positive consequences— desirable outcomes available with cooperation.

* Boundaries create less stress and fewer power struggles than rules and demands (which are typically win-lose and often focus on punishments or negative outcomes for noncompliance).

* Boundaries build mutual consideration and respect.

* Boundaries do not rely on the child’s fear of your emotional reaction (such as anger, disapproval, or disappointment) to help you get what you want.

* Boundaries allow positive and negative consequences to occur in a nonpunitive environment (negative consequences simply being the absence of positive consequences). As long as parents only allow positive consequences to occur when children have done their part, boundaries hold children accountable for their own behavior.

* Boundaries with good adult follow through can minimize children’s behaviors such as whining, begging, temper tantrums, defiance, lying, or making excuses to get they want.

* Boundaries leave the door open for your children to change their behavior in order to get their needs met. While rules or threats emphasize the penalties for misbehavior, boundaries focus on the ability to make more constructive choices.

* Boundaries do not threaten emotional safety in relationships, or in the home environment.

* Boundary-setting is especially effective in an atmosphere of love, acceptance, respect, and trust, although the process can help create these qualities in relationship or environments in which they do not initially exist.

Excerpted and adapted from The Parent’s Little Book of Lists: Do’s & Don’ts of Effective Parenting by Dr. Jane Bluestein, © 2021, Father Sky Publishing, Albuquerque, NM

© 1997, 2001, 2012, 2021, Dr. Jane Bluestein

Related links:

5 Characteristics of a Good Boundary
6 Reasons to Not Ask “Why”
9 Things to Remember when Setting Boundaries
The Challenge of Setting Boundaries
Guidelines for Handling Your Children’s Negative Behavior
Guidelines for Offering Choices to Your Children
Magic Sentences for Effective Communication
Motivating Cooperative Behavior
Thinking of “Consequences” as the Good Stuff

Podcast: The Choice is Yours with Lynn Collins

Book: Listas Para Padres: Qué Hacer Y Qué No
Book: The Parent’s Little Book of Lists: Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Parenting
Book: Parents, Teens and Boundaries: How to Draw the Line

Audio: Parent Tapes (CDs or mp3 download)

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