Physical boundaries in dating
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So here’s what happens: they either get totally frustrated and decide to go ahead and set off as many “mines” as they can or they hide, keep their distance, and try not to upset the apple cart.
You can develop behavioral beliefs and rules for any number of things, but I prefer to major on the majors, not the minors, so focus on areas such as modesty, honesty, respect, family contribution, curfew, use of the car, dating, substance abuse, church activities, abiding by the law, and education.
Within each category you may have several related rules, but keeping it simple will help your children remember them better.
When you develop this belief system for your home, insure that everything is age-appropriate (boundaries for younger kids are usually not the same for older kids), clearly understood, and mutually supported by both parents and everyone else involved, including your teenager.
When they learn that you are serious about enforcing the consequences, they’ll become serious about maturing. It is simply knowing how to live successfully within the boundaries we all have in life.
Once your belief system is set, don’t undermine it by making exceptions.
How and where the teen drives within those boundaries is up to them, as long as they follow other imposed boundaries, such as traffic laws.
We all have boundaries in our lives, so teens need to get accustomed to them.
Boundaries are only effective if they are known in advance.
Responsibility and a feeling of self-control begin with a child knowing and understanding the breadth of their choices within those boundaries.
The kids I’ve met with the lowest self-esteem and the least self-control are those who either have never experienced boundaries or whose parents use punishment as the only means of communicating boundaries.
Such parents tend to shift their punishment (and the boundaries) based on how their own day is going or how frustrated they are with life, their spouse, or their children.
Boundaries don’t encumber your child; they free them and they boost confidence and self-control.