Setting Boundaries With Teens at Home

I'm glad we are discussing boundaries with teens this week. It is so important to understand what they are and how to have them. Unfortunately, we have swung the pendulum from rigid to loose in this category of parenting. Let's talk about boundaries at home today.

Chores- When my Dad was growing up, helping with chores was an expectation. There was no negotiating, no whining, or "forgetting". They had to get them completed to keep the family running. My Dad and both of his brothers have significant work ethic. I believe this is mostly contributed to their work at home and the expectations set before them.

We have forgotten that besides the assistance of keeping the home running smoothly, chores contribute to the art of discipline and work ethic. We have made it too easy on the kids now days. I know I am guilty of this. Sometimes it's just easier to do it myself than listen to the whining and completing it "my way". But I have to remember the importance of the long haul and what it teaches them about life and how to help and run a family.

Be sure and let your kids know the boundaries and expectations you have of them regarding chores. What is the chore, when is it expected to be completed, and what is the reward or consequence of it being or not being completed? Just as a side note, there is an app for it! Choremonster is great way to get kids excited to do their chores and it gives major positive reinforcement. Just try to get creative with their rewards rather than it always being gifts or monetary. One of our kids favorite rewards is a 1:1 lunch with Mommy or Daddy- anywhere they choose. With 3 kids, this is an exciting and rewarding time for them. This is just an example.

Grades- Kids need direction with expectations about grades. Some families expect all A's where other families are ok with just passing. Kids won't know this unless you state them. They also need to know what kind of positive or negative reinforcement will happen if they meet or don't meet the expectations.

Behaviors- Many expectations about our behaviors are learned while growing up in our homes. But new ones pop up all the time. For example, the use of technology starts creeping in when they are older. This needs a discussion about what is expected and what will happen if the expectations aren't met. (If you didn't read Christy's blog on Monday, please go back and read it on technology boundaries. It is an excellent source of info!) When dating starts, a new set of behaviors are addressed. (Read Tammy's great blog for this one!). So remember as new behaviors start, talk to your kids.

Typically, if kids know the boundaries, they will push them but feel more secure when you care enough to push back. Parenting is difficult but rewarding. Our hats go off to each of you brave enough to set boundaries. Good luck!

Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC, LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville