ParentTip: Setting boundaries with our kids – the subject of our final Enough As We Are online class – is about MUCH more than saying no, or even what you’re saying no to. Here’s why you should work hard to set limits — and stick with them.
Setting a boundary means asserting your values as a parent. You tell your kids what you stand for as a family — and to do that, you’ll have to say no to something else.
When your child comes to believe that if she works hard enough, she can force her values to overcome or dominate yours, she gets the message that there are no clear and stable principles coming from you to guide her behavior. This can lead to a feeling of deep insecurity, because if anything goes, there are no dependable truths that form a container in which she can safely figure out who she is.
Finally, when you set a boundary with your child, you teach her how to do the same. If she constantly experiences you collapsing your boundaries, she’ll come to believe she should do this with others. She may fail to develop empathy and sensitivity to others, and be attracted to a spouse who has equally weak boundaries.