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Setting Healthy Boundaries

Photo by Daniel Harden

I'm working on a book that will absolutely transform education. It will contain valuable perspectives of my journey as an educator, reading coach, and assistant principal. There will be practical action steps that will help transform the mindsets of individuals, families, communities, and schools.

Here is another excerpt from the book, The Educational Formula.

Healthy boundaries are necessary for self care, safety, and respect. It is vital for parents to explicitly teach and model limits to their children early and often. They are life skills that are transferable to the classroom and beyond.

The fact that we’re living in the informative age, technology has become intensely intrusive. Parents have to be just as aggressive to combat the onslaught of distractions that are bombarding the minds of the youth. Technology should not be used as a pacifier. You have to limit your child’s screen time because it has become an addiction that is responsible for major health issues. It affects eyesight, ability to sleep, increases the risk of weight gain, and mental health. Not to mention the inappropriate content your children have access to if you’re not monitoring what they are doing on the electronic devices.

If you don't set boundaries for your kids in the virtual world, you will lose them in real life. Adolescents who compromise sleep for electronics are more likely to have behavior and attention problems in school, which will contribute to poor academic performance. Research confirms that parents who work on learning activities at home with their children are utilizing the most effective kind of parenting approach. As hard it may seem, you have got to find ways for you and your kids to put the electronics away for more meaningful interactions. “Nothing has to take more than five minutes, and yet what you’ve done is you’ve conveyed to your child, ‘I care about you, I care about what you’re learning....And isn’t this an interesting world?’ ” says Dorothy Rich, author of the MegaSkills book series, which includes many home learning activities for families.

Parents, you have to be a doer of the advice you give to your children. They will have more respect for you when you model the integrity and characteristics you want to pass down to them. As a child, I didn’t fully understand that notion, “I’m not your friend, I’m your parent.” It made so much sense to me when I had firsthand experience of witnessing the damages that were caused to my students by the irresponsible actions of their guardians. I’m talking about elementary kids smoking marijuana with their parents, the use and abuse of pornography, and a host of destructive behaviors I prefer not to mention.

I’m not here to tell you how to raise your kids, but hear me out for a minute. When you send your children to school, it’s a nonverbal communication that lets them know you want them to be equipped with skills to better themselves as adults. However, the minute you engage them in the devastating habits I recently named, you’re not only confusing them by breaking the law, but you also stunt their growth academically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s like planting a seed, never watering it, digging it up every other day, but yet expecting it to flourish.

Berwick Augustin is the founder of Evoke180, a leading publishing company that also specializes in Haitian-Creole translations. He is an educational consultant and keynote speaker who embodies two decades of experience as a writer, teacher, and assistant principal. Berwick is the author, most recently, of bilingual books, Days, Months, and Seasons in Haitian-Creole, The Haitian-Creole Alphabet-and 1803 The Haitian Flag.

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