The 5 Needs Kids Want Parents to Fill

#2 - Rules/Boundaries (really)

Kids want rules/boundaries!

Are you surprised?  “Not my kids” you may be thinking.  Read on.

In my last post, we began our look at the first of the 5 needs kids want parents to fill: love, affection, and a happy home life. Now we will look at the second on their needs list:  rules/boundaries.

Yes, teens and basically all kids want rules and boundaries set by their parents.

The experts who work with teens make this clear. Dr. Ross Campbell says: “I have heard so many teenagers say that their parents do not love them because they are not strict or firm enough.” Dr. Lawrence Bauman says: “I have never—repeat, never—found a kid to tell me that he didn’t want any rules at all.”

Why do teens want rules? Because during those years filled with trial and error and embarrassment, they need family standards that establish the boundaries to operate within—a zone of operation, if you will, that provides security and protection.

The key point that needs to be emphasized with regard to teens is that flexibility beats rigidity in rule making and boundary setting. That does not mean you aren’t serious about the rules or you don’t enforce them. That means you take into account changing circumstances, especially as your kids get older.

When setting rules about drug use or sexual activity, remember that kids often want an out—to be able to say, “Yeah, my parents don’t allow this.” This won’t always be true or always work. But at least give them the opportunity to have some of these “outs” available when needed.

Would love to hear of any examples of rules/boundaries you set that work well with your kids.

Next post we’ll look at the third need: independence/being trusted


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