Why Do Kids Push Boundaries

Why Kids Push Boundaries

Do you ever find yourself asking, “Why in the hell do my kids have to push and push me to brink?”

What if I told you that it’s your child’s duty to push you and boundaries! Say what? I know, it sounds crazy and I wish I had a better reason for you, but this is the down and dirty truth. Kids push boundaries because they’re doing what they were born to do. Our kids are born with 2 pre-determined jobs and one of these is to push you to your breaking point.

Kids Have Two Pre-Determined Jobs

Your kids are born with two pre-determined jobs and until these jobs are complete, they will continue to work hard at them. This is where parenting gets really tricky because parents are often unaware of their child’s main goals or guilt gets in the way. Once we know more about our child’s goals, it’s more clear why kids need boundaries. 

Let’s dive into these two jobs our kids are born with to help you understand more.

1St Job: To please you

This is a great job, right? Who here doesn’t want your kids to please you? I mean in those sweet moments where your kids are trying to make you happy, do what you ask them to do, complete their chores or household duties, there’s really nothing better.

But, the 2nd job is where we find ourselves in a bind

2nd Job: To push boundaries

This is where things typically spiral out of control. Since these jobs are super conflicting, parents get very confused about what to do to stop the boundary pushing.

Boundaries are Key To Easier Parenting

Boundaries one of the hardest things for parents. You go in wanting to set clear limits, but emotions often get in the way. We are very emotionally tied to our kids and want nothing more then for our kids to be happy and feel good. The trouble is we often give in to our boundaries when kids begin to push because we don’t want to see them sad, frustrated or upset.

To set boundaries we need to include three important parts:

1) Set Firm, Fair and Consistent Boundaries For Happier Kids

It’s important to know what your boundaries are. I always ask my clients to sit down and think about what a ‘dream day’ would look like. Would your kids go to bed without any stalling or game playing? Would you kids get up, dressed and out the door without power struggles or reminders?

Once you set your dream day, you can see what boundaries you would like to set.

2) Teach, Train and Practice

Once you have your boundaries lined up you must teach your child your expectations. Expecting your kids kids to know what needs to be done, will only lead to more boundary pushing. We need to take lots of time, more time than you think, to teach, train and practice your new rules, limits and boundaries. Once you spend time teaching, you can be confident that your kids know what they need to do. This is super, important for you to be able to implement the last part of setting successful boundaries.

3) Following Through Teaches Trust

In order for boundaries to work you absolutely must follow through. EEEEKKKKK!! This is where you might be cringing and feeling a bit icky and nervous inside. Am I right? Follow through is the hardest part for parents because they don’t want to see their kids upset.

I’m going to help you with this part. First, remember that your kids need you to set limits and boundaries so they can complete their job and stop pushing. They will be happier and less anxious once you set your clear, firm boundaries. Secondly, you don’t have to feel bad about following through IF you have taken time to teach your kids up front about your new limits and boundaries. If you know they are clear, then following through is the only way to show them that they boundary is set. It’s here that they can stop pushing in that area and have a completed job.

Tears, Tantrums and Push Back are Natural

Do you feel like your boundaries are a bit loosy goosy? Sometimes you draw a hard line and sometimes you give in? This is common amongst parents because guilt often takes over.  I know you don’t want your kids upset or you might be trying to avoid tantrums, but I want you to know that it’s okay for your kids to be upset. If you have set clear, fair boundaries and spent time to teach them expectations, getting upset with your follow through is where they learn true life lessons. Follow through is the final step to teaching your new set boundaries. When you follow through your kids learn they can trust you. They learn that you mean what you say and say what you mean. This trust helps your child feel relaxed and secure.

Boundaries are Positive Solutions to Easier Parenting

Now that you know about your child’s two pre-determined jobs, are you seeing their behavior from a different perspective? Do boundaries see how boundaries are very positive and helpful in getting your kids to stop pushing boundaries?

Help your child complete their job and feel successful. Set clear boundaries, teach your child your expectations and follow through! Start with one new boundary and take baby steps. You’ve got this.

PS To get more information on how to implement proper consequences when your kids don’t follow your boundaries – CLICK HERE


boudnaries, Child Behavior, Consequences, kids pushing boundaries, parenting, parenting help

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  1. Thank you for this great advice! Boundaries are one of the hardest things and it can be oh so frustrating when our kids constantly push them. It is great to remember that they can be upset and we have to be firm and clear in setting our limits. Thank you for this reminder!

    1. Hi Kristina! You're very welcome, I'm so glad you found this information helpful. Most parents struggle with boundaries, especially following through – Do you struggle with this step? Are you needing support to set up concrete, clear and consistent boundaries?

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