Find out your parenting style with my parent personality quiz!

Find out your parenting style with my parent personality quiz!

COURSE LOGIN

How to Set Boundaries with the Ones It’s Hardest to Set Boundaries with–Your Kids

Picture of Dr. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker

Most of us know the importance of setting boundaries. We do this with the adults around us—friends, bosses, in-laws. But when it comes to our kids, setting boundaries can be incredibly difficult. 

I recently interviewed boundaries expert Dr. Henry Cloud on my podcast. Dr. Cloud co-wrote what is now the classic book on boundary setting: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life. I encourage you to listen to the full podcast episode here [direct link to episode].

In our conversation, we talked a lot about discipline because disciplining your kids is the ultimate form of boundary setting. In my experience as a pediatrician, I know many parents feel uncomfortable with discipline. Telling our kids no a hundred times a day is exhausting, implementing consequences and sticking to them is difficult, especially when our kids are so good at talking us out of them. 

This is why I think it’s important to reframe discipline as simply setting boundaries—healthy boundaries that are good for your kids and good for you. Not sure how to do this? Here are three simple ways to get started:

1. Be intentional. 

One of the biggest mistakes we parents make is disciplining on the fly. In other words, we create rules and consequences during an argument or when a child has acted up. This makes discipline very ineffective. One of the most important things to do for successful discipline is to decide what boundaries you need to set for each child. Explain to them to the child when you’re both relaxed and then tell him or her what the consequences will be for crossing the boundary or breaking the rule.

This makes it easier for both of you to know what to expect when your child acts up. If your child doesn’t know what’s going to happen, he’s not going to pay any attention to you. When your child knows what the rules are and what the consequences of breaking the rules will be, he is far more likely to keep them.

2. Choose one to three behaviors that are most offensive to you and discipline for these first. 

Sometimes it gets overwhelming when we’re disciplining our kids, particularly young ones. We feel that we say no all day long. Our kids don’t listen, and we burn out. Pick one, two or three behaviors that are dangerous, offensive or drive you the craziest and discipline for those. Get your child to obey you in those things and then move on to other rules. 

3. Once you set a boundary, stick to it.

One of the hardest parts of disciplining our kids is following through. We tell our kids what the rules are—the boundaries—and we give a consequence only to fail to keep it. This is normal. We’re tired, and our kids know just how to ware us down. But it’s so important to stick to the rules you set for your children. Why? Because that’s how life is. You and I have to stick to boundaries. We can’t show up to work half an hour late. There are many rules that we have to obey, and it’s really important to teach our kids they have to obey them too.

If you tell your teen curfew is 11 p.m. and if he comes home later his car will be taken away, and he comes home at 11:20 p.m., the boundary is crossed. The car gets taken away for a period of time, no matter what. I don’t care if he argues with you if he tells you you’re being unreasonable if he gives you a good answer for coming in at 11:20 p.m. The car gets taken away. This will set him up for a realistic future where parents aren’t setting the consequences but rather a boss or a bank account or something or someone much less forgiving than you.

Boundaries are good for kids. If you don’t consider yourself a good disciplinarian, think about setting boundaries instead. As an adult, you know they need and value for boundaries. Your kids need to know this too, and they can only learn it from you. 

Our Sponsors

Skylight-Meeker

Skylight Digital Picture Frames are the perfect bridge connecting you to the special moments of those you love! It’s private, pre-loadable, and you can personalize it! Visit SkylightFrame.com

K12 Powered Schools: State-certified teachers and trained online educators. Go to K12.com/DRMEG today to learn more and find a tuition-free K12-powered school near you.

As a practicing pediatrician and mother I recommend Phyla because it works wonders without any side effects and is backed by dermatologists.

Visit phylabiotics.com, enter code DRMEEKER at checkout, and start your journey to healthier skin.

Here’s the perfect gift to inspire and delight that young person in your life!

Sign up at Crunchlabs.com/DRMEG and get 2 boxes free!

That’s why you’ve got to check out AquaTru.

AquaTru purifiers use a 4-stage reverse osmosis purification process, and their countertop purifiers work with NO installation or plumbing.

Transform Your Tap Water

Air Doctor

Air Doctor, purification to protect your home! Head to airdoctorpro.com and use promo code DRMEG and you’ll receive UP TO $300 off air purifiers!

Cozy Earth
Our goal is to help you create a sanctuary within your home, a refuge from the demands of the outside world.

Head over to cozyearth.com and use promo code DRMEG for an exclusive 35% off.

Acorns makes it easy to start automatically saving and investing for your future. Head to acorns.com/ or download the Acorns app to start saving and investing for your future today!

Your pet can’t choose healthy, but you can! Choose Whole Life Pet for human grade, freeze-dried, nutrient-rich, all natural food and treats for your dog or cat!

Visit wholelifepet.com

Born Shoes

Step into comfort by visiting BornShoes.com and take advantage of our exclusive offer. Use promo code DRMEG to enjoy a 15% discount and receive free ground shipping on all full-price shoes.

Green-chef-Meeker
The #1 Meal Kit for Eating well. Go to greenchef.com/60drmeg and use code 60drmeg to get 60% off plus 20% off your next two months.  greenchef.com to start now! 
Masimo-stork-baby-monitor

Masimo Stork is a revolutionary new baby monitor. SET technology has been in use for 25 years in the NICU units of America’s hospitals – now that same technology is available at home. Masimo Stork tracks real time, with your baby’s pulse rate, oxygen saturation, and skin temperature. While not a medical device, it can ensure more confident and calmer parenting. To learn more, go to masimostork.com.

Sponsors

Skylight-Meeker

Skylight Digital Picture Frames are the perfect bridge connecting you to the special moments of those you love! It’s private, pre-loadable, and you can personalize it! Visit SkylightFrame.com

Crunch-Labs-Meeker

Here’s the perfect gift to inspire and delight that young person in your life! The CrunchLabs build box subscription. Crunchlabs packs the fun into science by sending kids a new toy to build each month. And everyone’s favorite youtuber Mark Rober’s teaches them how! Kids LOVE IT! Go to Crunchlabs.com/DrMeg and get yours today!

Powerful purification to protect your home

Lock this special offer by going to A-I-R-D-O-C-T-O-R-P-R-O dot com and use promo code DRMEG.

Discover luxury she deserves!

Head over to cozyearth.com and use promo code DRMEG for an exclusive 35% off.

Save, invest and learn from one easy app.

Visit acorns.com

Your pet can’t choose healthy, but you can! Choose Whole Life Pet for human grade, freeze-dried, nutrient-rich, all natural food and treats for your dog or cat!

Visit wholelifepet.com

Step into comfort by visiting BornShoes.com and take advantage of our exclusive offer. Use promo code DRMEG to enjoy a 15% discount and receive free ground shipping on all full-price shoes.

Green-chef-Meeker
The #1 Meal Kit for Eating well. Go to greenchef.com/60drmeg and use code 60drmeg to get 60% off plus 20% off your next two months.  greenchef.com to start now! 
Masimo-stork-baby-monitor

Masimo Stork is a revolutionary new baby monitor. SET technology has been in use for 25 years in the NICU units of America’s hospitals – now that same technology is available at home. Masimo Stork tracks real time, with your baby’s pulse rate, oxygen saturation, and skin temperature. While not a medical device, it can ensure more confident and calmer parenting. To learn more, go to masimostork.com.

More Posts

Sponsors

Skylight Digital Picture Frames are the perfect bridge connecting you to the special moments of those you love!

Here’s the perfect gift to inspire and delight that young person in your life! The CrunchLabs build box subscription.

Your pet can’t choose healthy, but you can! Choose Whole Life Pet for human grade, freeze-dried, nutrient-rich, all natural food and treats for your dog or cat!

Masimo Stork is a revolutionary new baby monitor. SET technology has been in use for 25 years in the NICU units of America’s hospitals.

The #1 Meal Kit for Eating well. Go to greenchef.com/60drmeg and use code 60drmeg to get 60% off plus 20% off your next two months.  

Thrive Market – the customized and economical way to shop organic, non-gmo, and healthy.

Website-Dr. Meeker (8)
Feeling a a bit uneasy about having "the talk" with your son or daughter?
Dr. Meeker is here to help! “How to Talk to Your Kids about Puberty & Sex (ages 8-18)” is her most comprehensive course ever and she’ll equip you to have that conversation with knowledge, confidence and sensitivity. Check it out!

More Tools to Simplify Fatherhood