Why have we become a generation of parents afraid to set boundaries with our children?
I promise you that despite their sentiments, children not only need boundaries but secretly want them. I have to tell you, they will never admit it to you, their parents. Instead they tell me, their therapist, behind the closed doors of my office while Mom and Dad wait in the waiting area. They (the kids) share how they connect the lack of love they feel from their parents to the fact that they do not have consequences when they break the rules. And in other cases they simply do not have rules. “They don’t care” is a running theme stated amongst the teens I serve. The number one reason for feeling uncared for amongst the hundreds of adolescents I have worked with; you may be surprised what the answer is…because there are no boundaries.
Parents spend countless hours working two and three jobs, accepting overtime, sacrificing to provide the things they feel their child wants and needs. I could easily make an argument that parents seem to be working harder now than ever before. But, it’s not all of those “things” provided that show children their parent’s love; rather it’s the care given through establishing sensible rules and providing timely and appropriate consequences when rules are broken. In a recent session, a young girl remarked with disdain, “My mother has all this money now. She thinks she can buy me and I’m supposed to respect that?” As a paren,t I understand why we get confused in thinking we must show our love through things. However we have to stretch our thinking to encompass boundaries, expectations and consequences into our parenting tool box as they are desperately needed to develop our children into well-adjusted and respectable adults, prepared to enter the world.
Tenise Wall, LMSW has been serving the Hudson Valley since 2002. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker having obtained a Master’s Degree from Fordham University. She is the award recipient of the 2009 Orange County Tribute to Women of Achievement in the area of Education. She is the author of Pain to Purpose www.WallProfessionalServices.org
(If you have any parenting issues for Tenise to address, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and they will be passed along.)