Children, young and old, need boundaries. This may not come as a surprise to many, but often, setting them causes problems for the caregiver and child. This is because boundaries are hard for so many. No one wants a tiny human to consider them mean or an adult child to think less of their parent, but the truth is that children who have consistent boundaries that are clearly defined, do better overall.
When most people think of boundaries for children, they think of young children. This is not true, even adult children need boundaries. A boundary is nothing more than a line you theoretically draw around yourself to define where you end and the child or other person begins. This is important for both independence and sanity. To set boundaries for younger children you must set rules and have routine. If a child crosses that boundary they are to be corrected immediately, told what they did, and asked to correct it if possible. Encourage children to be independent in age appropriate manners. Allow your child to get their own drink or choose from two outfits, but set the boundaries. Do not ask your child to do something, tell them. This can be a simple word change. Instead of ‘Will you go clean your room’, make a statement ‘ It is time to clean your room so we can read stories and go to bed’. There is no room for argument or other options. It is a statement.
Moving to adult children, who may be harder to set boundaries with over time, boundaries are still necessary. Sometimes, adult children take advantage of parents, especially once they become grandparents. This means that boundaries must be set with grandchildren and adult children. One way in which adult children sometimes take advantage is through the caretaking of grandchildren. Set boundaries in the care of your grandchildren by setting pick up and drop off times that are to be honored. This does not mean you can’t spoil your grandchildren, but it should be within reason. Though these boundaries are tough, they will pay off in the long run as you will be respected. Do you think boundaries are important in parent-child relationships? What about with adult children?