Do your teenagers really want boundaries? While I’m sure they will never seriously say to you, “Can you please add some more restrictions to my life?” they really do want to know what’s expected of them and what the consequences of violating boundaries will be. In homes where parents set clear boundaries for their kids’ behavior, kids are actually less likely to rebel – especially when parents take the time to discuss their expectations with them. Why would your kids want you to set boundaries for them in the first place? Let me give you five reasons.
1. Boundaries provide a sense of comfort. When kids clearly know what is expected from them, the result is a sense of comfort. They don’t have to be concerned regarding what you may or may not require of them behaviorally – or fear that you will constantly change the rules.
2. Boundaries provide a sense of security. Kids really do want to know what is right and what is wrong. They want some guidance in navigating life. Teenagers will still test the limits from time to time, but clear boundaries provide the stability and security that will allow them to thrive.
3. Boundaries mark out the “playing field” for freedom. Imagine two teams playing football – but without the playing field being marked in any way. Imagine the players having no way to tell what was “in bounds” or what was “out of bounds”. In the game of football, a marked playing field is foundational to playing the game. On a marked playing field, players know where their boundaries are. Similarly, kids want their parents to set clear boundaries for them so they can know their “playing field” – where they can roam freely “in bounds”. Boundaries, in this way, actually create freedom – and teenagers want to be able to experience and learn to handle freedom within the boundaries that have been created.
4. Most teenagers don’t really want to be totally free and responsible for themselves at this point in their lives. Kids who have no boundaries and are completely on their own regarding behavioral decisions tend to feel isolated and are at risk for giving into peer pressure. Kids whose parents have set clear boundaries for them, experience freedom within the boundaries and can use these boundaries as reasons to say no to inappropriate behaviors. Generally, kids who have clear boundaries simply fare better behaviorally than those kids who don’t have clear boundaries.
5. Kids want to gain their parents’ trust – the trust that results from living within clear boundaries. Trust is a vitally important issue for teenagers. They aren’t dumb. They know that having your trust is the pathway to greater freedom and ultimately to adult independence. Kids who don’t have clear boundaries experience greater difficulties earning their parents’ trust because they are left to themselves to make behavioral decisions that may or may not turn out to be acceptable. On the other hand, kids who have clear boundaries and live within those boundaries understand that they are regularly making deposits into your “trust” account. This, of course, doesn’t mean that kids with boundaries don’t ever violate those boundaries or ever struggle with earning or regaining trust with their parents. Most do from time to time. Still, with boundaries in place, your kids will have a greater understanding of how to build trust with you.
Angelo Questo has been and remains my favorite colleague. His experience brings a wealth of knowledge to any student he works. He highly competent in all areas of school counseling, but his true passion is college advising. He is humorous, compassionate and relatable to all those around him. His reputation is extraordinary and his hard work consistently results in positive student outcomes. I most admire that Angelo incorporates a family approach when working with students; he treats his clients as if they were his own family. That says a lot about his character and the trust he develops with those he works with. I would highly recommend him to any high school student seeking the advice from a man who knows his way around the college landscape.
Mr. Questo has been a tremendous help through the entire college process so far. His connections, competency, experience and advice have gotten me so much farther than the college counselor that is provided by my school. He and I literally spent 4 hours in one session to get as 3 applications completely done. When I left our meeting, I felt relieved that I had finally begun the process of applying to college and will be hearing from the colleges soon. We only have a few more applications and essays to finalize, so I should be done by the middle of October. Thanks to him, I can rest easy knowing that I have represented myself in the best possible light. He is with you every step of the way from essay revisions to application submission. I feel very fortunate to work with Mr. Questo and would definitely recommend him to my friends.
Mr. Questo started as my guidance counselor, but ended up becoming much, much more. I would consider him my friend. While he worked at my high school, he was someone I would easily be able to access if I needed help with something academically, socially or emotionally. Without Mr. Questo, my high school experience would have been much more difficult. I was upset to see him retire this year, but knew his work with students was far from over. If you
decide to work with Mr. Questo, he will totally engage with you and help you attain your college goals. As soon as I began the college application process, I reached out to him and he responded to me immediately. Before I knew it, we had completed 4 applications in which I am now awaiting decisions and it was only the middle of September. He is a firm believer in getting the application in as early as possible. Whatever the question or whatever time of day I always get an answer right away. Mr. Questo has significantly made a difference in my life in many ways, especially with helping me navigate through the college application process. I am very appreciative of his knowledge, expediency, and his concern for my personal well-being. I would enthusiastically recommend him to any high school student seeking admission to college.
Andrew (AJ) B.
“I got 1480: 780 on reading and writing and 700 on math.
Superscored 1510! Thank you SO much, Barton and Student Den.
You’ve been such a great help. Let me know when I can start as an EmpowerMate.
I really owe you one. :)”
Robert came to us after his first semester of 10th grade. He had below a 2.0 GPA, had failed some classes in the first semester, and his single mom was at her wits end. She went to the guidance counselor at school and the guidance counselor recommended the Student Den. The first week, like most students, Robert did not want to be there. The second week he was more tolerant, and by the third week, he was sold. His grades were improving, the relationship with his mother at home was improving, and his self-confidence was soaring. In the fourth quarter, he got all A’s and one B to end the year. The Student Den and his EmpowerMate™, turned his academic life around in 20 weeks.