March 14, 2019

My daughter Anabel’s friends shared they were woke—in the middle of the night—by an Amber Alert that went out on the cellular network.

The girls were surprised when Anabel told them she didn’t see the alert until the morning when she turned on her phone.

At our house screen time happens in shared living spaces and phones are powered off overnight. My kids have old-fashioned alarm clocks and don’t take phones to bed.

One of Anabel’s friends said, “I wish I had more restrictions like that put on me!” 

Then another friend shared she’s spending too much time on her device every day. “I’d like to spend less time on it, but I’m addicted and I can’t stop.”

I’m by no means a pro in the boundaries department, but I’m glad I stuck (hard and fast) to this one rule. They’ve tested me on it from day one!

Kids want—and need—boundaries.

Adolescence is a time when boundaries are pushed and limits are tested. But it’s hard for kids to push up against boundaries if there aren’t enough in place.

Sometimes when we say “no, that’s not happening,” they’re actually relived. Kids feel safe knowing there are limits.

Sometimes my kids think I’m too strict. I think it’s worth it.

It’s taken me years of uncertainty, tears, and practice to find where to draw the line as a parent.

I’m still working on it every day and I will be for the rest of my life.  

What I love about working on parenting boundaries is it’s helping them create their own boundaries in their personal lives. When I use a firm “no” with them, they learn it’s okay to do the same with their peers.

I’m humbled to say I’m still figuring all this out, moment to moment.

I’d love to hear how you’re feeling about the boundaries your kids need, in the comments below.

You are not alone when it comes to making hard decisions about your child’s freedom.

We’re in this together,


Amanda says

This is great! And I wish it was talked about more. I've seen the other side and its issues. I experience this side and of course struggle daily thinking I'm too mean and say "no" too much even though I firmly believe in boundaries and rules. I am told often that I have "great kids", "Well behaved", "so polite". Which makes me so proud and then yet I still some times come down on my self and think maybe they shouldn't be so good in public. Am i militant? They do get into trouble (for a lack of a better word or phrase) when we are out but they are still very good. So you see there is this consistent battle with in my self.
I struggle with how much my daughter pushes the boundaries at home. Constantly trying to find a new argument or angle to get what she wants or simply asks over and over and over. I loose my top at times and that's when I feel bad especially.
How do we know we aren't being too mean or too strict or just right for our family.
Thank you for posting about this topic it always helps to feel the tribe vibe on a topic you struggle with
Amanda ♡


Carolyn Jyoti says

Hi Amanda,
Thanks so much for your honesty about the balance of setting limits with your kids. I think it's such a tricky dance as each child is so different and sometimes they need to practice their negotiation skills. I was a bit like that! Being strict doesn't mean you're being mean, just clear and thoughtful. We're all in this together! xo


Mary Hoy Schmidt says

Congratulations on your commitment to your children's mental health! :)


Carolyn Jyoti says

Thank you, Mary!


Bija says

Boundaries are tough to initiate and tough to enforce sometimes... All we can do is our best in each moment. When I am questioning myself or second-guessing if I am being too “strict”, I remind myself of when I was a counsellor with female young offenders decades ago. Over and over again I heard these young women say that they had no rules, no curfew, no guidelines —that young version of myself mistakenly thought they would interpret their patents as being “cool”. Not the case at all—every single one of them expressed that because they had no rules they thought their parents didn’t care about them at all... I have held that learning close to my heart for all these years. Fair boundaries let our kids know how much we care about them! It is still a constant balancing act for me—what is too strict, what is not strict enough... sometimes I know I am making the right call and other times I am lost as to what to do. It really does take a village to raise a healthy child and I am so grateful to be in this parenting Tribe with incredible Mums doing their best🙏🏼


Carolyn Jyoti says

Hi Bija,

Thank you for this beautiful story and reminder of how our boundaries show our LOVE. Never easy and always important. I'm so grateful for you in this community and in my life. xo


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