Boundaries � Why Are They Needed?
By Derek Randel and Gail Randel M.D.
Imagine a child
who lacks ownership of his own life, has no
self-control, and lacks respect for others. If these
were the qualities of
your son, how would you feel for his future wives?
Yes, wives is plural, this is one major reason we need
to set boundaries
for our children � their future. One study showed that
recently on average will have more spouses than kids.
Here are a few
examples of children who lack boundaries:
1. Little Johnny walks right into his parent�s bedroom
whenever he wants.
It does not matter if the door was open or closed.
2. Twelve year-old Steve frequently changes the channel
on the television.
It does not matter if anyone was watching a show or not.
3. Susie blames others for her mistakes. It always seems
to be her
teacher�s fault, brother�s fault, or a friend�s fault
when something does
not go right.
4. Marie is uncomfortable with how her boyfriend treats
her and pressures
her for sex. She keeps dating him because she questions
who else would want
to date her.
Without boundaries children will have problems in
relationships, school, and
life. Many times addictive behavior can be traced to
lack of boundaries.
Here are a few results that can occur:
1. Children can have controlling behavior
2. Children can be motivated by guilt or anger.
3. Without firm boundaries children are more likely to
follow their peer
group. For example, making unwise choices on sex,
drinking, or driving.
4. Children do not own their own behavior or
consequences, which can lead to
a life of turmoil.
5. Children may allow others to think for them.
6. They may allow someone else to define what his or her
abilities will be.
This denies their maximum potential.
7. When someone has weak boundaries they pick up other�s
8. Weak boundaries may make it hard to tell where we end
and another person
What is a parent to do? Many times we hinder our
children from developing
boundaries. Realize we must teach our children
boundaries; they are not
born with them. Here are a few suggestions to help
1. Recognize and respect the child�s boundaries. For
example, knock on
their closed bedroom door instead of just walking in.
2. Set our own boundaries and have consequences for
3. Avoid controlling the child.
4. Give two choices; this helps our children learn
5. When you recognize that boundaries need to be set. Do
it clearly, do it
without anger, and use as few words as possible.
6. We need to say what hurts us and what feels good.
7. It may be difficult to set a boundary. You may feel
afraid, ashamed, or
nervous, that�s okay, do it any ways.
Another way to work with boundaries and children is to
model these for our
1. Recognize your physical boundaries.
2. You have the right to request proper treatment, for
prepared meals in a restaurant should be sent back, ask
others to smoke away
from your space, and ask that loud music be turned down.
3. Share your opinions with your children. Allow your
opinions. Opinions are not right or wrong. This will
help them think for
4. Teach them how you decide on the choices you make.
5. Lets own what we do and what we don�t do. Take
responsibility for when
things go wrong.
6. Accept your thoughts, it is who you are.
7. Discover what your limits are, emotional and
Setting boundaries is all about taking care of
ourselves. This is the first
guideline we teach in our workshops. Other benefits
1. We will learn to value, trust, and listen to
2. Boundaries are also the key to having a loving
3. Boundaries will help us with our personal growth.
4. We will learn to listen to ourselves (trusting our
also will learn to respect and care for others and
5. Boundaries will aid us in the workplace.
Boundaries are all about freedom and recognizing when
these freedoms have
been crossed. Boundaries give us a framework in which to
events. Recognizing and acting when our boundaries have
been crossed will
protect our freedom. Boundaries lead to winning
relationships for both
parties. By building foundations based on mutual trust,
love, and respect
we can expect our children to grow up more tolerant and
with a mature
character. Simply put, boundaries simplify life.
Gail Randel have customized programs for corporations,
and parent groups for putting the fun back into
parenting so you can enjoy
your children. They can be reached at Parent Smart from