Setting Healthy Boundaries: A Guide for Parents of Preteens, Teens, and College Students


Hey there, parents! We know how wild and wonderful family life can be, especially when you’re juggling the needs of preteens, teens, and college students. At Moon Child Counseling, we understand the ups and downs of raising kids at every stage, and we’re here to help you navigate it all. Here are some practical tips for setting healthy boundaries that will keep your family happy this summer and might just prevent a few “I told you so” moments!

Understanding the Importance of Boundaries

We get it—boundaries might not be the most exciting topic, but they are the secret sauce for a smooth-running household. Boundaries create a sense of security and structure, helping kids understand what’s expected of them while giving them the freedom to grow. Plus, they can reduce stress and anxiety, making family time more enjoyable for everyone.


Preteens are starting to seek more independence, but they still need your guidance (even if they won’t always admit it!). Here’s how to set boundaries that work:

  • Be Clear and Consistent: Spell out the rules and stick to them. Consistency helps preteens know where they stand and what’s expected.
  • Encourage Open Communication: Create a safe space for your preteen to share their thoughts and feelings. Showing them it is safe to open up and there is mutual respect.
  • Monitor Screen Time: Set limits on screen time and keep an eye on their online activities. It’s all about balance and promoting healthy life-long habits.
  • Promote Responsibility: Give your preteen age-appropriate chores. It’s a great way to teach them accountability and give them small wins!


Teens are a whole new adventure. They’re pushing for more autonomy but still need your support. Here’s how to navigate this phase:

  • Establish Clear Rules and Consequences: Be upfront about the rules and the consequences of breaking them. Fairness and consistency are your best friends here.
  • Respect Their Privacy: While it’s important to stay informed, give your teen some privacy. It’s all about finding that sweet spot between supervision and freedom.
  • Encourage Independence: Let your teen make some decisions and learn from their mistakes. It’s a crucial part of growing up.
  • Support Their Social Life: Encourage healthy friendships and set reasonable curfews. Flexibility based on circumstances shows you trust them.

College Students

College students are stepping into the world of independence. Here’s how to set boundaries that respect their newfound freedom while staying connected:

  • Discuss Expectations: Talk openly about academic expectations, finances, and responsibilities. Clear communication is key.
  • Set Communication Guidelines: Agree on how often you’ll check in with each other. It’s about finding a balance that works for both of you.
  • Respect Their Autonomy: Understand that your college student needs space to grow. Offer guidance but avoid micromanaging.
  • Promote Self-Care: Encourage habits like regular exercise, healthy eating, and good sleep. Self-care is crucial for their overall well-being.

Setting healthy boundaries is essential for the growth and well-being of preteens, teens, and college students. With clear expectations, open communication, and a sprinkle of fun, you can help your kids become responsible and confident individuals. At Moon Child Counseling, we’re dedicated to supporting families every step of the way. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you create a nurturing environment for your child’s development. Let’s work together to make family life a little easier and a lot more fun 🤩

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