Parents Need Boundaries Too

We often hear about the need to set boundaries for our children. This gives them a sense of security knowing what is expected and where the limits are. It also teaches them to regulate their emotions, develop frustration tolerance and appreciate the needs of others. But there is also a need for parents to establish boundaries for themselves to make sure we are respecting the child and they respect us.

We set limits for the child but we also need to have limits for ourselves as parents. Sometimes parents with the best intentions step over that line into the child’s area of responsibility and rob them of learning to grow up.

Here are some examples of when the boundary line has become unclear.

  • Doing for your child what they can or should do for themselves. The parent steps in to solve the problem, Talking to the teacher for them, doing their work for them, fixing their problem for them.
  • Pushing communication. When a parent is constantly asking questions of the child, it may feel like interrogation, let them share when they are ready.
  • Letting your child step over your line and invade your boundaries as a couple, interrupting, literally putting themselves in-between the two of you. The kid wants to be the central focus but they need to learn that is not always the case.
  • Over-sharing with your child about your own personal life. They are not your best friend, they are not there to help you solve your emotional concerns, they are the child.
  • Live vicariously through your child, feeling as if their achievements are yours and their failures are yours. This is not the case. You can be proud of them or happy for them but don’t take on their situation as your own.
  • Lastly is when a parent is so intertwined that when a child has a failure or broken heart the parent falls apart. Your job is to teach them how to handle the disappointment, they should not need to console you too.

We can respect our children and require them to respect us. As a child grows the separation is needed more because the ultimate goal is to send off an adult who can handle their own life and know the difference between their responsibilities and others.

Written by Lisa Strong


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