Set Boundaries with Children

The cause of many conflicts is that boundaries were not set and the situation was most probably vague.

Boundaries are established limits, lines not to be crossed. When a boundary is exceeded, the result is a repercussion. If a boundary is honoured, the result is a reward. When parents establish boundaries, their children are the ones who choose to go beyond the boundaries or to stay within them. This means that the children, not the parents, are the ones who choose the repercussion or the reward. The same is true when adults establish boundaries with one another as peers, friends, or spouses. This principle is clearly demonstrated when God set a boundary with Adam and Eve. In choosing to go beyond the boundary God established for them, they chose the consequence of their sin … they chose the repercussion. Genesis 3:17 “To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, “You must not eat of it,” Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.’ ”

Boundaries are …

  •                             The limits that establish a border (like a curb).
  •                             The realisation that we are separate from one another.
  •                             The basis of our individual identity.

Boundaries say …

  •                             What we are and are not
  •                             What we will choose or not
  •                             What we will endure or not
  •                             What we feel or what do not feel
  •                             What we like or don’t like
  •                             What we want and what we don’t want

Jesus pronounced, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). Jesus communicated that we must seek to resolve what is wrong, by cutting to the heart of the matter. He announced that, “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). At certain times, the sword of truth is necessary in order to live a life of integrity and make needed changes. When you do what is right in His sight, Jesus will give you His supernatural peace. Although not everything around you is peaceful, He can give you an internal …“Peace that transcends all understanding.”(Philippians 4:7)

Establish your Boundaries:

  • Communicate your expectations clearly. Prior to any problems, describe in detail what you expect of the person regarding your relationship.  Form an agreement and ask for a statement of the person’s understanding of your expectations. When it is time for compliance with your agreement, give a gentle reminder. “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ ” (Matthew 5:37)
  • Establish negative repercussions for breaking an agreement.  To establish effective repercussions, know what will make an impact.  If possible, choose a repercussion related to the offensive behaviour.  Clearly communicate the repercussion.  Prior to a problem, get the person’s agreement to the repercussion.  Allow the person to experience the repercussion if the agreement is broken. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)