3 Essential Ground Rules to Set the Limits with Your Kids

Placing limits on teens when Parents don’t Like Making Them

From birth to young adulthood, children need structure. This is not to say that every meal, activity, and thought needs to be regulated like a prison, but children do need some form of organization to their lives. Without boundariespower struggles can occur as the children try to work out who exactly is in charge.

Kids are inexperienced and have no idea the long-term effects of, well, anything! Their mind is focused on the here and now. Instant gratification is the name of the game. So when it comes to boundaries, it’s up to the parents to lay down the law and help them plan for the future.

What can we as parents do? How much is too much?

Stay Off the Grass

“I won’t limit my child’s potential by placing limitations on him!” you may be thinking. Having rules, however, does not limit your child’s potential, but instead sets them up for life in the real world. When your son doesn’t know to recognize a “stay off the grass” sign, you end up with instances of children defacing national monuments and landmarks because they weren’t taught the proper respect or how to resist the urge to act destructively.

Rules, laws, and limitations exist everywhere in life. By following rules at home, you actually teacthem how to behave as part of a society. They don’t need to march in lockstep as an unthinking herd, but they need to know that laws exist, and breaking them has consequences.

Even if you’re not comfortable setting up a strict household, there are a few essential guidelines to follow to get your child used to what they’ll experience in the world.

1. Create a list of rules.

Yes, you have to. They don’t have to be definitive laws that if broken will unleash the fury, but they do need to exist. Even if you’re not comfortable with setting rules, putting down just two or three to help guide them in their day-to-day behavior will go a long way.

2. Set consequences for breaking each rule.

Make sure the punishment fits the crime, and keep your discipline consistent. If you’re grounding them for missing curfew, don’t ground them for longer than the norm simply because you’re mad at the time the infraction happened. If a punishment can vary, make sure that’s laid out beforehand (i.e. curfew is at 10pm, and every 10 minutes you’re late you’re grounded an extra day).

3. Be consistent.

The world will be, so you should too. Unless they have an excuse along the lines of “I was donating a kidney” then rules are the rules. You’re not off the hook either. Regardless if you’re exhausted after a long day, you have to make sure to maintain what you’ve set if you want to be taken seriously.

Only with some form of structure can children truly feel secure and confident in their home life, and you owe it to them to prepare them for the future as best you can.

Tyler Jacobson is a father, husband, and writer, with experience as a content writer and outreach coordinator for HelpYourTeenNow. Tyler has offered honest advice and humor to struggling parents and teens. Tyler has researched and written on education problems, disorders, the world of social media, addiction, and pressing issues with raising a teen today. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | Linkedin.

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