Remember that angelic newborn baby that you held in your arms and promised to love and care for forever? My oldest son was the first boy born to our family in over 25 years; needless to say, he was literally spoiled rotten by family members on both sides. We learned early on that boundaries had to be set for our little one, boundaries that would not only restrict certain behaviors but also taught self-control. Now now, 14 years later, my baby is over five inches taller than me and loves to inform me that he is no longer a baby.
The Delicate Dance
There is a fine line between setting a strong boundary and being too restrictive. You want your child to be able to make sound decisions, independently. We allow our 14 year old certain freedoms and trust because we want him to understand that we have faith in him. He knows that we have faith in him and his abilities to make decisions for himself. This helps him grow and teaches him responsibility. He also knows that there are consequences if he does not conduct himself properly or if he does not follow the rules.
We all know that there are consequences to every action that we commit. Our goal is to ingrain this into our son. We set the rules and we make sure that he understands them. In fact, if he breaks a rule he must first inform us of the rule he broke, how he broke it and his reasoning behind it. He must be able to verbally support himself in our discussions.
Consequences are quite a contrast to everyday life. Since he is a social butterfly, we know that the cell phone is his best friend. If he misbehaves or performs poorly in school, he loses his cell phone, TV and Internet. We turn off the outside world when he behaves irresponsibly.
Alone in the Crowd
We cannot control the environment that our children grow up in. No matter how hard you may try. Your children spend more time outside of the home than they do inside the safe cocoon you created for them. Our goal in life is to show our son that he must be a person not a part of the crowd. We don’t endorse the idea of standing in line to purchase $200 sneakers. He wears nice clothing, but moderately priced.
If he wants an item that is outside of our price range he must work for the extra money. He is responsible for household chores and he must prepare at least one meal per week for the family. Our goal is to raise a self-sustaining man and with boundaries and guidance we can make that happen.