How To No Your Family Boundaries

No, it’s not a typo in the title. “No’ing” where your boundaries are as a family most often consists of setting limits. Setting limits in today’s modern world of too many choices usually involves saying that little word “no.” A family boundary is something you set that indicates a healthy limit for your family.

Here are a few questions that represent the myriad of activities common to most families. Discuss these questions with your family and work on coming up with some healthy family boundaries:

  • How many sports can your child (or children)be involved in at one time?
  • How many times should your family have dinner together each week?
  • How much homework is appropriate each school day?
  • How many outside activities can your child (or children) be involved in at one time?
  • What time should I, as a parent, be home from work?
  • How much TV time is allowed each day?
  • How much computer or phone time is appropriate each day?

Feeding children a healthy life pace most definitely requires setting a few boundaries. A healthy diet is not only built on what you eat, but on what you don’t eat! Taking steps now to define a few boundaries is much easier than trying to make some up on the fly.

I know for a fact our kids love boundaries. Okay, I know what you may be thinking after that statement: Yeah, right! Kids don’t like boundaries. They are always pushing against them! I know. That’s why I said our kids like them! Our three children get great satisfaction out of pushing boundaries to their full potential.

I can only assume that with the energy, excitement and enthusiasm they demonstrate when standing in front of a family boundary that naturally they love them. They seem to get such great satisfaction out of pushing against each and every one that Mary and I set up.

Think of it this way. All children push the boundaries. If they had a job at their age, they would be paid to push the boundaries. They would get up, take a shower, change and go to work––pushing boundaries work.

The following are three boundaries we have implemented at the Jutila home. They aren’t right and they aren't wrong they just are in our home. The key is to find a few that fit your family well and help you live a healthy family balance.

1. Our children will play one sport at a time.
This made life easier for us and our kids. High School sports are a challenge.

2. Our entire family will have dinner together three times a week.
Has allowed deeper relationships and keeps us connected.

3. Mary and I will not say yes or commit to anything until we have discussed it together.
Less arguments about who is doing what, when and where.

You may need to know your boundaries before you can no your boundaries. Maybe now is a good time to start. Do you have any in mind?

What is your child’s favorite boundary to push against?

Are You Living Life End-To-End Or And-To-And?

Modern culture allows us to live in a way that keeps us not only physically busy but mentally and emotionally busy as well. I can remember growing up playing three different sports because each sport had its own season. There was a beginning to the season and an end. Today there is often a beginning, but rarely is there an end to any sport or activity.

When I was a child life offered us fewer choices. I had one video game: Pong. That was the extent of my video game choice. I couldn’t play my video game with friends from another country or even from around the corner. To me, the world was big and slow. As parents you and I were, in some ways, forced to live life end to end. Take a look at what could have been a typical parent schedule 30 years ago.


Life happened end to end, because it was the only way it could be done. You couldn’t start a work-related phone call at home and walk out to your car to continue the conversation. Unless, of course, you went to Radio Shack and bought one of those fifty-foot phone cords, but that would only get you to the car, not down the street!

Once you got to the office, you could make a call or answer mail. No, not email, just mail. You remember mail, don’t you? Those paper envelopes delivered to a little box outside your house or to your office?

Living life end to end had its advantages. There were natural boundaries built into life, which meant we didn’t need to think about them too much. Today’s modern family has a vast array of choices. We are compelled to set healthy boundaries or suffer the consequences of busyness, hurry and out-of-pace living.

When our culture made a drastic change in the way families spend their time; when we gained the capability of living life on multiple layers at the same time, we didn’t live life end to end anymore. We can and, in many ways, must live life and to and.

There are benefits to both ways of living. However, there is more potential for an unhealthy pace of life with the latter. Take a look at a typical parent schedule from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m in today’s modern world. It could look something like this.

See how much we can do in such a short amount of time when we live life and to and? Our ability has outpaced our capacity, and that leads to a question for each of us to consider: Has our capacity for doing more increased?

As I process that question, I am inclined to say no, it hasn’t. Our capacity hasn’t changed, but our ability to reach it has. If you have a 16-ounce glass and want to pour 18 ounces into it, you most certainly can. However, as we all know, a 16-ounce glass holds 16 ounces, and no more. So, if you choose to pour 18 ounces into a 16-ounce glass, you will have a 2-ounce mess.

Two Questions For Each of Us To Ponder

Are you pouring 18oz of lifestyle into a 16oz glass? If so, what two ounces are you making a mess with?

If I were to answer that question honestly I would tell you the “mess” went to my family. They got the left overs, they got what was spilled and it shouldn’t be that way. The solution, in my opinion is to do the best we can to live life end to end not and to and. What do you think?