The next six assets that will be written about are in what is considered the “Boundaries and Expectations” category of assets. According to the Search Institute, this grouping of assets helps children to “Know what is expected of them-and what’s not-helps children create, learn, and grow. Instead of holding children back, limits keep them safe and secure. When they know who to count on and how to behave, children can concentrate on developing and learning new skills”
Healthy family boundaries include when parents understand children’s needs, likes & dislikes. Parents model appropriate behavior and set age-appropriate limits and consequences. This asset takes a lot of time and effort. The only way you are going to get to know what your child likes is if you spend time with him or her. In single parent families-time is a very precious commodity. Single parents can talk to their children in the car on the way to and from daycare, to find out about their day or what is going on in their lives. Utilizing this time to get to know your children is far more productive than listening to the radio or talking to a friend on the cell phone.
Healthy communication is key to healthy family boundaries. Never speak in anger to your children. You can unravel them by the words you speak. Talk about behaviors you see on television, or out in public. Teach children to listen to their bodies. For example-when they are full stop eating, when they are tired-rest etc…
Always discipline in love with the idea that you are teaching children a more appropriate way to behave that is for their benefit-not someone elses. Sometimes single parents can get caught up in the idea that how their children behave directly reflects on their parenting skills, and may try to correct children when others disapprove. This can harm the parent-child relationship. For more information on discipline please see my blog titled “Discipline Is Not A Bad Word.”
Be reasonable when setting boundaries. Use age appropriate boundaries and release them slowly as your child grows. If you do not know what age appropriate boundaries are-do some additional research to find out.