Parental boundaries and expectations
From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 11:34:55 -0500
Denise wrote:
> I was talking
>about the safety I expect to feel when my child goes to someone else's
>house in the community, that I know she won't be allowed to plop down in
>front of whatever happens to be on the TV; she won't be given sugary
>snacks to the exclusion of healthy food; she's not going to find a loaded
>gun left lying around; she won't see people hitting each other to resolve
>One of the key areas of potential conflict comes from when your parental
>expectations are not upheld by others.  It is really helpful for each parent
>to create a list, much like the above, for their kids, then share these with
>all the other parents.  This does not mean there will be a community parental
>standard but you will know each others boundaries, and that is the key. 
> For example, toy guns are not allowed in my house, and other kids that play
>with toy guns in such a way that bothers me, my kids get removed from the
>play.  It is not OK with me for any toy weapon to be pointed at either of my
>kids, and all the kids know this as do mine and so it rarely happens even
>though mock violence (amoung the boys) happens, very little of it ever
>involves my kids.  I would never impose my parental standards on the other
>kids, eg you can't play with toy guns, but the parents and other kids in the
>neighborhood know this boundary for me and respect it.  But I did have to
>clearly communicate it to the whole group, and I think  this is important for
>all parents to explicitly do.
>Don't assume everyone holds the same values about child raising as you do.
>For instance, what would happen if a parent moved into your group that
>beleived that spanking was an important part of child rearing?  Is there an
>explicit agreement that hitting a child is not OK?  If there is not, then do
>not assume that no one is spanking their kids.  You don't know this until you
>move in together and boy what a trip that discussion will take you on.
>Assumptions are very shakey ground, and often groups proceed on a lot of
>assumptions about a lot of boundaries.  Things like religous tolerance,
>non-violence, sexual privacy, husband/wife realtionship privacy are often
>assumed because that is what people expect from their own experiences.
>However, what YOU personally beleive is not a group beleif until you all
>discuss and agree. It becomes a pretty major potential conflict when your
>assumptions turn out to not be reality.  It was a HUGE shock for me to
>discover that there are some religous bigots in our group.  However, I
>realized that we never agreed that freedom of religion was a group value, it
>was just an assumption on my part.  I dislike their bigotry, Its totally out
>of sync with my values, but I live with it because I realize that my values
>apply only to me. 
>Rob Sandelin
>(Where I KNOW nobody spanks their kids cause we talked about it)

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