Are you and your spouse united or divided in your parenting? Consider the following dialogue:
Dad: "You're letting our daughter do anything she wants."
Mom: "You're too strict with her."
Dad: "She needs more discipline and structure."
Mom: "She needs more love and encouragement."
Dad: "She's becoming irresponsible and out of control."
Mom: "She's becoming insecure and afraid."
And you thought kids and teenagers had conflicts! ...
Make no mistake. Your kids are under more academic demands than you were. For better or for worse, the learning curve is steeper, and they have to study more than we did. Subject matters are more advanced. Projects, reports, and term papers require much more advance planning and steady work over time. If you don't build boundaries with teens early, the situation can get out of control.
I (Dr. Townsend) can remember how jarred I was when my kids started bringing back homework assignments from junior high and high school. We were in a whole new world, and a much harder one. When I saw how far ahead my kids had to be planning their reports, I called my mother and said, "What do you remember about my high school days, like how far in advance did I write reports?" She said, "You wrote them in the car on the way to school."...
I (Dr. Townsend) remember overhearing my kids and their friends making plans to go to a movie. It was one of those last-minute decisions that teens often make. None of them were of driving age yet, so they were trying to solve that first obstacle.
One boy, Ted, said, "How are we going to get there? The movie starts in fifteen minutes." His friend said, "Call your mom; she's easy."...
"What happened?" I asked.
"Well, I sat down and told her, 'Things are going to have to change around here. I'm going to set some boundaries with you. This is for your own good. You need to stop the ditching and drinking.'"
"What happened then?"
"She got mad at me, yelled, and left the room….”
Jill had thought that simply being direct and honest was all that was needed to set boundaries. But it isn't. There are four necessary principles that must be used in order make boundaries succeed in difficult situations ...