Parenting Coach

Your Guide to Better Parenting

Setting boundaries as a single parent

As a single parent, it is up to you to mangae your child/children effectively. Your child may be out of control today, but believe that in a few weeks or months, their behavior will be different. It is never too late to modify your child’s behavior , teach them to respect you and observe the boundaries, policies and practices that you choose to establish.

What is your primary responsibility as a parent? As an adult, it is to set appropriate boundaries and ensure that these boundries are kept. When a single parent fails to set these boundaries, your child may become confused, angry, upset and rebellious.

The first step to setting boundaries is deciding what language is accepatable at home, personal cleanliness, tasks, chores and other behaviors you require in your home. How would you like your home to function? State these boundaries as simple, direct and as clearly as you can making it age appropriate.What do you mean by a tidy room? How neat, how often? Try to begin with one or two, then have your child repeat this directions back to you.

Having effective boundaries means ensuring that these boundaries are followed by monitoring. A good example would be homework. Look at your child’s homework with her/him, reading it with her/him. Review the assignment with her/him and scan the worksheets, exercises and check the completion of the homeworks.This teaches your child that boundaries are actually being monitored by a parent who cares about compliance. When you expect your daughter’s/son’s room to be cleaned by five o’clock every Saturday, it would be helpful to check in one hour just to remind your her/him before the dealine you have set. This teaches your child that you say what you mean and what you mean you say. This teaches your child respect, consistency and integrity.

Compliant children love it when you notice they are complying. When you pay attention, complement their obedience or praise them, this energizes them. In the book ‘Raising Great Kids on Your Own’, authors David and Lisa Frisbie states that when boundaries don’t change, when your monitoring doesn’t let up and when enforcement keeps on happening, children begin to learn.

Approaches to appropriate enforcement vary with the age of the child and the general temperament and character of the child. How will you approach discipline? Think through the issues involved in child discipline and decide how will you handle it when rules are broken. Communicate these consequences to your child in very clear ways.

M0st children learn by repetition.This is what we do when we are mastering a new skill, right? Everytime it becomes clear to your child that you mean what you say, you are building a foundation  in which you achieve more, make your life as a parent simpler and easier in the furure.

All these you do because you love your child/children. All these are done as a way of helping your daughter/son to learn, mature and grow. Express this love to your daughter/son. After enforcing a consequence, particularly with yonger children, David and Lisa Frisbie states that it may be useful to restate your love, while also adding that you expect a change in your child’s behvior in the future. Your child needs to learn that you care enough to keep on helping her/him.


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