Being the mom of a teenage daughter and a toddler son, I can tell you – with absolute certainty – that there’s never a dull moment in my house. My toddler is usually running around yelling and just being a boy, and I’m mostly trying to shield my ears from the loud music drifting out of my daughter’s room. There’s never a quiet moment, and someone’s always looking for mom. My daughter needs a sandwich and my son just wants to play. It’s the most exhausting job on the planet!
While my kids definitely keep me on my toes, what I’m learning is that it’s important to set boundaries for them both – and that’s much harder than I thought.
The one thing that I want for my kids is for them to one day be independent, responsible adults and I know that it’s my job to help them achieve that. Of course, like everyone else, I want my kids to both love and respect me, and the one way to do that is by setting boundaries.
For toddlers, that concept is pretty easy. Sharing their toys, listening to Mommy & Daddy, and teaching them good manners will pretty much do it, but for teens, setting boundaries gets a little trickier.
Teens want to know that they are loved, and want someone to be on their side. I know my daughter takes it personally when she’s denied something, but it’s all part of parenting. Parents know that their child is starting to become a little more independent – and that’s perfectly healthy! – but at the same time are still too young to make adult decisions. Hormones anyone?
For teens, it’s important to set clear expectations, while at the same time being willing to negotiate in certain situations. Solely relying on fear-based authority will only cause teens to become resentful and rebel. Try keeping an open line of communication with your teenager and it will help strengthen the parent/child relationship and, hopefully, make it less likely that they’ll find themselves in a dangerous situation.
Maintaining healthy boundaries is a normal part of parenting. Will your kids get mad at you from time to time? Of course! Will they down-right hate your guts? Probably. And that’s totally normal too.
Amanda is a chatty and fun Latina mom to two kids – a teenager and a toddler. Never a dull moment in her house! She stays sane by sharing her thoughts on travel, local venues, food, & much more on her blog, Thoughts from Her.