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Boundaries: How to Raise Confident Children

Why do my children need boundaries?

Kids need boundaries like a ship needs a compass - without them, they'll be adrift in a sea of confusion. But with clear boundaries, they'll sail smoothly towards becoming confident, independent adults.

Child on screen

"Looking at my kids climb, run, knock over other people drinks in a busy restaurant, made some people roll their eyes. What's a bid deal if kids have food fights or mocking sword fight using forks? They are just kids.

I didn't mind them climbing on the chairs and tables or picking food from other tables, until I ended up paying a fine for breaking the crystal vase in the restaurant. Paying 1000$ for that junk vase and not being allowed to enter the restaurant again, was bad.

no limit, child running
Indiscipline child

Till now, I didn't set any limits on my children. I wanted them to be free to express themselves in any way they wanted. But now the complaints from school, neighborhood, and other parents started growing. Complaint about my children hitting other children, taking their stuffs without permission, doing dangerous acts, playing video game for long hours is making me rethink. Do I need to have some limits on my children behavior? Do they need to learn about boundaries?" - A mother

Why it is important to set boundaries for children?

You have expectations from your children. You want them to have self-control and self-regulation. You want to teach them rules and acceptable behavior at home and in society.

How hard it is? It sounds pretty easy, right!

Ah! It's not that easy because parents often dangle between extreme permissiveness and harsh punishment, but often they fail to set limits.

Some believe in constant reminder which eventually turns into bickering. But even after having rules, they fail to get their message across. This means there is gap in what they say and what they do.

What happens when you don't set boundaries?

"Unless I scream at the top of my voice my children don't move away from the screen, finish homework or clean their room or do anything I want them to do. Sometimes I feel I should start talking to a wall, it might start responding to what I say. I have tried lecture, threats, punishment, persuasion but nothing seems to work. All I want is to raise responsible, independent happy children. But I don't know how to get the message across. - A frustrated mother"

Children need to explore their world, but they should also know what is expected of them and the rules of the world they live in. Where they stand with others, how far they can go, and what happens when they go too far.

"Once you finish your work, you can watch TV for an hour, no more than that."

"No, not hitting anyone and don't let anyone hit you."

"You can't stay past eight in the night outside with friends."

"Don't share your personal information online with strangers."

Unless you have set rules and healthy boundaries at home they won't learn how to behave and when they go out in the world, they end up having conflict, disapproval and negative reaction from people around.

Why don't your children listen to you?

1) You don't have set limits in place:

Your child stays up late playing video games every night, because there are no bedtime rules established.

2) Your message is unclear or ineffective:

It's a mixed message. Like, "Don't do that, it's bad," without providing any explanation or context, leaving the child confused about what exactly is the problem or what is expected of them.

3) Your words and action don't match:

Your spoken words are different from what you practice or do.

You tell your child, "Clean up your room before you go to play."

But when your child fails to clean, you end up cleaning it. Now your words didn't match with what you said before.

"Don't hit your brother," while you believe in physically disciplining your child.

If you don't follow what you say, your child wouldn't take what you say seriously. It doesn't matter what you say. What actions you take plays a crucial role in giving that message to your child.

4) You give wrong signals to stop misbehavior and teach rules:

"Saying 'stop it' without follow-up action, sends a mixed message to the child and does not effectively stop the misbehavior or teach the appropriate behavior"

How to set boundaries with your child?

Before you get into setting boundary first know what your values are and what you want your child to have:

1-Know your own values

2- Tell your child what is expected from them and why it is important

3-Be consistent in enforcing

4- Have rules based on their age and understanding

5-Use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior

infographic for health boundaries for kids

Why do boundaries make children feel safe?

Healthy boundaries provide a sense of structure and predictability, which can be comforting for children.

For example, if your child knows that they need to be home by a certain time, they know what is expected.

And when you enforce boundaries in a consistent and loving way, it helps your child feel seen, heard, and understood.

What are healthy boundaries for kids?

You can try some these ways to create healthy boundaries:

  • Have a regular schedule for meals, homework, and bedtime to provide a sense of structure and predictability.

  • Set rules and consequences for unacceptable behavior, such as hitting or talking back.

  • Teach children about personal boundaries, like not touching other people without their permission.

  • Encourage children to speak up and advocate for themselves, while at the same time teach them to be respectful of others' boundaries.

  • Allow children to make age-appropriate decisions and encouraging them to take responsibility for their actions.

  • For emotional boundaries, teach them to identify and express their own emotions, to respect others emotional boundaries and teach them how to set limits when they feel overwhelmed or mistreated.

How is boundary setting related to self-esteem?

Setting boundaries in healthy and loving way, raises their emotion wellbeing. they come to understand that their needs and other need and wants are important and deserve to be respected. So, they learn self-regulation and self-control. In the absence of clear boundaries, they feel confused, neglected and not respected. They may not learn how to regulate their own behavior and may struggle with self-esteem issues.


Setting boundaries with your child can be challenging at times, but it is an important part of helping them develop into responsible and independent adults. Having a clear and consistent boundary for children help them learn to regulate their own behavior, make good choices, provide a sense of security and also promote their emotional well-being and self-esteem.

Let us know in the comments which of these, you would instantly bring into practice.

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Hi there! I’m Muzna, the Founder and Editor of The Bliss Key, I live in San Francisco with my family and by profession I’m an eLearning consultant with more than a decade of experience, and a degree in Business Management and Instructional Design

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