As a parent, it’s important to consistently set expectations in order to provide structure in the home. Here are five fundamental norms and boundaries you can use when outlining your family’s rules – from consequences to consequences that apply – so your children have a safe and secure environment in which to grow up.
Establish Clear Rules and Limits
Establishing clear rules and limits is crucial for establishing a structured environment. Be sure to spell out the specific expectations you have of your children in terms they can understand, while also being consistent and fair with consequences when needed. Setting boundaries also means explaining to your children why those rules are important – help them connect their own behavior to the development of their character.
Provide Consistent Discipline and Supportive Consequences
For any boundaries established and expected behavior, it is important that there are clear expectations for consequences when a child does not follow the rule. Consistent discipline means establishing clear and consistent expectations for both good behaviors and negative ones – along with warm, supportive, appropriate consequences when necessary. This is an important part of helping children understand and internalize positive behavior patterns.
Good parenting norms and boundaries should teach children about the importance of being accountable for their actions. When a child breaks a boundary or rule, explain why it is important that the boundary be respected – both from an overall safety perspective but also from the individual’s own future growth and independence. Explain to them why specific rule-following will help them mature into strong, confident adults who can handle life on their own.
Encourage Open Communication
For parents, one of the most important parenting norms and boundaries to set is to encourage open communication. This means providing an environment that is free from punishment, shame, or criticism so your children can feel safe talking about their feelings and emotions. Create a culture where talking openly but respectfully about difficult issues is common practice and work together with your child to come up with solutions that are mutually respectful. Encourage them to be honest when it comes to disagreements between siblings or other family members.
Lead by Example
As a parent, it is essential to lead by example. Showing your children the expected behavior is important, as it will set an example of how you expect them to behave. You should be open with your family members and display communication skills such as active listening, reframing statements, and expressing frustration appropriately. Demonstrate kindness and respect to all family members including siblings, parents, and extended family when interacting in all settings.