Marriage In A Box Logo

Boundaries For Children Help Build Privacy For Marriage

Posted on

We adore our children and feel such a sense of responsibility to them that we tend to make them the top priority all the time. As children grow, they understand our nature and often reinforce this by being “squeaky wheels,” demanding our attention. The challenge of parenting is providing structure and love for your children while at the same time carving out time for your marriage. Establishing boundaries can help.

Boundaries help define the line between parenting and time as a couple.

Some couples unconsciously let their children become the central focus of the household to such an extent that the boundaries between parent, spouse and child become blurred.

Helicopter parents do for their children what they can and should do for themselves.

When you become nervous about your child’s success or ability to handle things in school, with friends, in sports, etc. it’s natural to want to jump in and take control instead of letting your child work things out for themselves. We naturally want to make things better for our kids and “fix things.” However, when you don’t let your child work through obstacles on their own, you’re denying them the opportunity to learn how to fight their own battles.

Your job as a parent is to guide, coach, and teach your children. When you begin to do everything for your children, you’ve crossed the parent boundary.

Overindulgent parents give up their parental authority and allow their child to take control of the household.

Parents who strive to be their child’s friend have difficult putting their foot down and saying No to their children. They tend to have few rules, no consequences or punishments for poor behavior. Some substitute things for time with their children. Every parent wants their child’s love but indulging their every whim creates the opposite effect. Children crave and need structure via rules, a set schedule, and consequences for disobeying. The absence of rules and structure is neglect.

Your role as a parent is to be firm but loving to your children. Kids need boundaries. Without them they lose their way. They need clear rules and consistent consequences. But they need them to be delivered with love, understanding and kindness. Talking about the reasons for rules and consequences helps kids understand why they need to follow rules.

How to establish boundaries so you and your spouse parent responsibly but have time for yourselves.

Define your boundaries.

You need to establish physical and time boundaries that establish privacy. 

  1. Your bedroom is a kid-free zone, free from kid clutter and designed for romance and couple time.
  2. If your bedroom door is shut, children need to knock on the door and wait for permission to enter.
  3. If you and your spouse are engaged in conversation, children should say, “excuse me” and wait politely for a chance to enter the conversation.
  4. No means No.

Make your expectations known to your children.

You and your spouse should make a list of what you can and can’t live with. What matters most to you? If respect is high on your list, you may want to implement a consequence for talking back to you or addressing you rudely. If responsibility is important to you than you may want to assign weekly chores and consequences for not doing them.

Praise their successes and follow up on their failures.

When your kids have a great week, make sure you let them know it. When one of your kids crosses a boundary or breaks a rule, follow up with the consequence.

Establishing boundaries with your children will make your household a more peaceful environment and provide clear time for you

Learn more about our Couples Therapy Exercises

Long-term solutions to the most common relationship struggles.

See how it works