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Your kids don’t seem to mind the fences you have put up to keep their chronic misbehaviors in check because they just climb over or under them whenever they want. You tell your spouse putting boundaries up doesn’t work.
There is a way to keep your kids in their corral.
Have your kids ask for permission when they want to do something that is off-limits. When a child doesn’t ask for permission, he is choosing to decide for himself what he can do. Where did he/she get the freedom to choose? When your child asks for permission, he doesn’t have to ask for forgiveness later!
Asking for permission is a boundary. When your child is characterised by asking for permission to do something and is making wise choices when you give it to him, then you can remove the fence of asking upfront.
Let’s say you have a rule (boundary) in your home that your kids can’t get food or drink without asking for permission. Your 7 yr. old is good about asking when he wants a drink. When he gets it, he is good about pouring himself juice without spilling. You take him aside one day and praise him for this, and let him know since you can trust him to do a good job with this, he no longer has to ask for permission to get something to drink.
Do your kids ask for permission to do things?
Do you see how asking for permission upfront eliminates trouble later on?
“Practical Parenting” Joey and Carla Link