How to set boundaries with children

Apr 2012
Every child is unique and will require different things from their parents.

Every parent has different ways of bringing up their children, and every parent uses different methods of addressing their child's behaviour.

There is no single, correct way to raise a child. Every child is unique and will require different things from their parents.

But one thing that most parents strive to encourage within their child is good behaviour and a clear sense of responsibility. In order to do this effectively it is important to set boundaries for your child, to help them grow and develop.

All children should have boundaries, but it can be hard to establish them. So how can you set boundaries for your child that they will stick to?

Be consistent
Whatever boundaries you are setting for your child, whether it is simply watching TV after they've finished their homework or going to bed at a certain time, they need to be consistent.

By keeping the boundaries consistent, you'll give your child some healthy structure to their home life. As well as this, your child will find it easier to stay within their boundaries and learn to be more responsible.

Impose consequences
It is also important to be consistent with the consequences for your child when they do not adhere to those boundaries.

So be clear about what the consequences will be, and be consistent in following through with the punishment. This will teach your child to think before they act and become more responsible for their actions.

Be positive
Imposing rules and boundaries on a child is an important aspect of parenting, but a common mistake is to focus on the negative.

It's too easy for parents to act when a child oversteps their boundaries. But while it is important to be consistent with punishment, it is equally important to recognise when a child has stuck to the rules.

By focusing on the positive aspects of your child's behaviour, they will be more motivated to behave well and stick to their boundaries.