Respect all the reasonable forms of activity in which the child engages and try to understand them.
Maria Montessori

The key word in this quote is “reasonable.”  I am often asked in my parenting classes, “what’s the difference between boundaries and rules? Rules are made to be followed, aren’t they? Otherwise a consequence is in order, period the end.”

I feel like I talk about boundaries and model boundary setting all day long, 7 days a week, and yet this question can be difficult to answer.  Other parents offer up answers – boundaries are the steps before the rules; boundaries inform a child what is allowable and how far he can go; boundaries are communicated through choices.  These are all great responses, they must have learned something in my class!

Rather than focus on the difference between boundaries and rules, here are my 12 Reasons to Have and Use Healthy Boundaries everyday:

1. Boundaries provide the steps to understanding and following the rules., i.e., the rule is No Trespassing,
the boundary is the fence.

2. Boundaries are necessary in life and need to be practiced and modeled routinely.

3. Boundaries make children and adults feel safe.

4. Boundaries provide clarity and direction.

5. Boundaries can be uncomfortable; it is good to experience adversity.

6. Boundaries are opportunities to learn the relevance of rules.

7. Boundaries offer consistent opportunities to learn self-control.

8. Boundaries set expectations for behavior.

9. Boundaries not only inform, they show respect to others i.e., I care about you so please understand the
parameters we are working/playing within.

10. Boundaries address the behavior not the person.

11. Boundaries teach civility.

12. Boundaries allow and guide reasonable behavior.

Practice boundaries – they work!

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