top of page
Back to Top


Clear Boundaries Help Raise Good Kids

Step By Step Parenting Tips 9

Teacher and Pupil
  • Set clear expectations for behaviour, emphasizing treating people, property and our earth with respect.

  • Ensure there isn't a pay off for bad behaviour, ever

  • Discuss potential problems ahead of time where ever possible

  • Remain calm and refrain from making decisions when you're angry

  • Know it's okay to exercise your parental judgement, even if you get pressure from your child's peers, or their parents

If you have clear expectations (or boundaries,) and model respectful behaviour yourself, your chances of having children who are also respectful are greater.


I taught for over three decades and I saw the same thing happen over and over again. I learnt:

It's rare for someone to be openly critical of a child's poor behaviour, to their parent. 

What usually happens instead is social exclusion. The child won't be invited to play, or to go to special events like birthday parties.


The child's parent may also see their social circle shrink as other parents learn of the child's behavioural issues.


(This exclusion can happen swiftly, especially if the child hurts others.) A young child can be relegated to social purgatory and sometimes the parents can end up right there with him or her.

So how can you help raise good kids that others want to be around?

Boy in Toy Store
Anchor 1
  • Develop a clear dialogue about your expectations for behaviour, emphasizing treating people, property and our earth with respect.


For example: Teaching simple rules like using an 'inside voice' (inside) and using 'walking feet' (inside) makes your home a more tranquil place.


And it is especially useful if you're ever planning to bring home a new baby. Then the older sibling doesn't link a whole raft of restrictions to the birth of a sibling.


But it also translates to your child knowing for example: not to run around in a supermarket shrieking and creating havoc.


  • If you can foresee a potential problem discuss it ahead of time so your child knows exactly what's expected of them, rather than deal with it after there's a problem.


For example: I took my kids to the shopping centre and said 'Be good!' They weren't. So the next time I took them I explained ahead of time exactly what 'being good' meant.


This included things like: staying close enough to me, that I could reach out and touch them at all times. Holding onto my hand, or the stroller, when in the car park. Using a quiet voice. Using 'walking feet.' Not asking for things to buy explaining: 'You can pick one food you'd like to eat as long as it's not .... But if you ask for things it'll be a 'No.' Consistently using this strategy, from a young age, helps raise children that you can take out to a wider range of places.


_Child boy yelling kid screaming looking
Mother and Son

  • Ensure bad behaviour doesn't work for your child. Tantrums and screaming can be best managed if you don't engage.


For example: During difficult times with young children use phrases like: 'Would you like ... (this) or ... (that)? (Offer a choice they can point to.)


If they're already talking try something like 'Use your words please,' (rather than scream or cry.) 'I'd like to help you but I can't understand you at the moment. Was it ... or ... ? Can you please tell me, then I can help you?' (Even a single word gives you a clue whereas screaming/crying doesn't.)


If they make an effort to communicate with you say something like 'That's fantastic. Now I know exactly what you want because you used your words. Let's go and get it now." (Reward for doing the right thing... Problem solved.)


  • Explain you may not be able to give your children everything they want, or let them do everything they want to do, but you'll do everything you can to be the best parent you can be for them... And be the best parent you can be.


Explain that it's your job to protect their childhood. That it's not good for them to have everything they want all at once. They need to be able to look forward to some things as they get older.


For example: If they're allowed to go to unsupervised parties at fourteen or fifteen, where people are drinking alcohol, they're likely at increased risk. And to compound it, if they're able to do so, what age-related privileges are left at 18?


N.B. The way your child responds gives you a clue as to whether they want a resolution or just to vent. And the way you deal with it would depend upon the age of the child concerned. If they're a young child who seems to want to vent and they keep going, you could try something like 'You seem a bit over-tired at the moment. How about you have a lie down,' (rather than continue to escalate a situation with a child who has lost it.)


And put them to bed in their room. (You might be surprised how often they really are tired and will fall asleep... Losing it takes a lot of energy.)


Boy Leaning Against a Tree
Child with Slime

  • Postpone making a decision if you're angry. Similarly if you're feeling cross, or frustrated, disciplining your child may be more consistent when you've calmed down. Don't get into an argument or power play ever, and especially not when you're angry.


You could say something like: 'I don't feel I'm in a frame of mind to be objective at the moment. I need a bit of space to think about this. But if you're continuing to push it, the answer will be 'No.' 

And if they push it, that is their choice. You can say something like: 'So you're creating your own 'No.' Is that what you're choosing?


For more Best Parenting Advice linked to behavioural strategies go to the following links:

  • Deal with problem behaviours when you're calm. Lower your tone of voice (deepen) rather than raise it. Become quieter. Repeat any instructions: Same tone without changing your wording. If after two attempts (three at the absolute most) it's loss of privileges.


For example: I had an issue with a child at a birthday party. We have an acre and twenty (twelve-year-old) boys were playing 'Spotlight" in the dark. They were having a great time. But one boy kept trying to climb the seventy-foot-high spruce even though I'd explained why it was extremely dangerous to do so in the dark. After ignoring me twice, I took him aside and said, very calmly: "If you climb that tree and get stuck, or fall, you'll have ruined this party for everyone. You being here is a privilege. If you try to climb that tree again, you're choosing to go home. I'll phone your parents to come and get you immediately. Do you understand.'


And after that he was well-behaved. ​​​​

  • Give your child the benefit of the doubt where possible.


For example: They genuinely may not have meant to break something or hurt someone. If they're generally a good kid, that's the most likely scenario.


But if it becomes a regular occurrence you need to look at developing behaviour strategies to deal with it.

Step 10: Why consistency makes parenting easier and more effective.

Best Parenting is a high quality parenting website designed with child and family success in mind. It highlights what successful parents do differently to those who struggle. Best Parenting provides free online resources for busy parents who want the best practical advice on: how to give kids a best start in life, better tips for parenting toddlers, effective child rearing strategies, behaviour management tips, successful goal setting and organizational strategies for successful families, easy family dinner recipes, self-care tips for time-poor parents and free kids learning games. The aim of Best Parenting is to provide quality practical parenting tips and advice to best help children and families succeed, using the convenience of a website.

This website provides examples of what worked for me over decades and you are welcome to use these ideas as you see fit but you do so at your own risk. Best Parenting does not provide any guarantee that this information will work in every circumstance with every family or with every child. It is your responsibility as a user of this website to ensure that you adhere to any recommended safety suggestions either implicit or explicit on this site and supervise your children while playing any games suggested. Similarly users of this website are advised to follow any recommendations for seeking professional advice as all information on this site is generic. Best Parenting is an independent website and is not affiliated with any other groups, clubs, religious organizations or educational systems.


Best parenting takes time. The best parenting advice ever is simple: Do your best, don't give up and love your children, no matter what.

bottom of page