Article by Dotti Coffman
Boundaries, Dec. 4, 2013
Someone asked me recently, where do we draw the line? Where is the last straw to break? We need boundaries in our lives to be healthy. Boundaries for all ages and all stages.
Parents especially have to set boundaries. Boundaries for themselves personally so insanity does not creep in. Boundaries for the children and those boundaries change as the kids grow up and parents must make boundary-adjustments. Even adult children must abide by the boundaries their parents set age appropriately, or course. Particularly difficult years, such as teen years, are particularly difficult in the boundary department. I read lots of books when we were raising our four kids.
Choose your battles. Have a minimum amount of punishable rules but make those clear and make the consequences clear. A few times, we had to invoke “tough love” and do some very hard things. Like take the door off a bedroom, read so-called secret notes, approach teachers and leaders with intrusive questions, even following behind them in a car when they were NOT supposed to be in a car, impose strict curfews, etc. Those kids that push the boundaries must be dealt with.
When asked about the kid’s privacy, I answer, “what privacy”. The only privacy my kids got was what they earned, or what we gave them by grace. They did not own the house, did not buy the food, did not pay the bills, and they could not vote. So adult decisions were based on adult responsibility. Harsh? Well, when you go through kids having parties in your house unbeknownst to you, stealing your wine, tramping all through the house, leaving a mess, driving my car underage, skipping school, and a few other behavior boundary-pushers, then all is fair. After all, who is the adult? Who is responsible for the well-being of the child? The parent.
Yep, I believe Dr. Spock ripped the back bone right out of many parent’s skin. Thank God, literally, I had parents with backbones and I was a parent with a backbone and Lordy Lordy, I am even a Grandma with backbone. Say anything you want to me, but say it with respect, and civility. Or I will wash your mouth out with soap…..