THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOUNDARIES AND CONSEQUENCES

May 16, 2023

Parents do not understand the difference between boundaries and consequences. Yes, they might look similar, but really one compliments the other. A boundary is a line drawn in the sand. A consequence is what happens after your child crosses that line. It’s important for you, as a parent, to understand both and practice using both with your children regularly.

A boundary is firm, and kind. A boundary is direct so that all family members are being valued. In holding a boundary, you must be able to be assertive and to know what’s in your control. You can walk away at any time, as your needs as a parent are very important. An example of a boundary can be living at home as a 21 year-old and although you have encouraged your adult child to move out, they just aren’t respecting your wishes. If you have set the boundary and a timeline for them to move out, there are natural and logical consequences that will follow.

Since they continue to not respect your space and your wishes for them to move out, you set a boundary for them for moving out in two weeks. They have two weeks to figure everything out. You offer to help pay for rent, utilities, etc. for the first two months but after that they need to be able to pay. If by the end of the two weeks they are still living at home, you can ask them to leave. They are now on their own and possibly without your immediately financial support. This is a natural consequence to their procrastination. Like your boundary holding, you express your love and you are also prioritizing your needs by making sure they understand they have outstayed their welcome. Make sure you understand the difference between the two, and implement both with consistency and authority.

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