Setting Healthy Boundaries for Your Children (1)
By: Beth McHugh 2008
In Are You Breeding a Frankenkinder we looked at the preponderance of overindulged and underdisciplined children in today’s society and how we are actually doing our children a gross disservice to “give them everything.”
It’s not easy being a parent today. But it’s never been easy being a parent. Or at least, an effective one. We can blame the media for creating a world where our kids just want more and more, but in doing so, we as parents are just passing the buck and refusing to take responsibility for our own actions.
Parents today are time-poor, or so we say. Yet our grandmothers took the entire day to do the family wash and another day to iron with the “appliances” that were available to them. These days, we do our washing by pushing a button but we race out the door to our jobs in order to pay for such privileges.
And then comes the guilt. Are we good parents? We know we don’t spend the time we could with our kids so we go out and buy them the latest Playstation game to compensate. This is about as effective as plugging a dam with a piece of gum. The child pretty soon learns that it is being bought off and the resultant rage and low self-esteem slowly builds just waiting for an appropriate time to manifest.
And children are smart. Very smart. They can smell guilt at a hundred paces and they will use that guilt to manipulate the parent to get what they want. And in many cases it works. Hence we have a generation of kids to whom the word “no” is part of a foreign language.
These kids have no boundaries and the parents are unwittingly creating monsters. In trying to make their children happy, many parents are making their children very unhappy. The parents then complain that their children are “out of control” and “do not respect them”. They come for counseling because it has all got out of hand, there is no respect and there are no healthy boundaries between child and parent.
Instead the parent is trying to be friends with their child and the result is mayhem.
In the next article
in this series, we will continue to look at this growing societal problem.