Our Kids Need (And Want) Boundaries

Our Kids Need (And Want) Boundaries

How important are boundaries?Think of someone with whom you have a very close relationship. What are some of the things that you would consider totally unacceptable for them to say or ways in which to behave? Would it be ok for them to pour a bucket of glue on your car seat? spray paint your bedroom fluorescent green without telling you first? tell your friends secret things about you? Probably not. But then, we don’t often feel the need to have to say to them, “I really wouldn’t like it if you poured a bucket of glue on my car seat”. You would naturally assume that the other person would have the same RULES of what constitutes unacceptable behavior as you do. In most cases, these unspoken but assumed RULES of common understanding are shared.  But this does not necessarily apply when dealing with a young, developing mind. A child for the most part just doesn’t have the depth of experience or perspective to rationally size up a situation as (hopefully) an adult would.

Setting Healthy Boundaries For Our Kids

A boundary is something we set in order to separate ourselves from other people; it tells us how far a person can go with us and how far we can go with another person.  It keeps us from becoming enmeshed with another person:  enmeshment is a complete state of feeling so empathetically with that person that we take on the other person’s feelings, responsibilities,challenges and problems completely and wholly as our own.   As parents, we are separate from our children; we are different people. And, boundaries not only separate us from our children, but it also shows how we are linked together in familial roles.  We are linked together, but we are not the same.  We are the adult.  The relationship is not an equal one.  We have more experience and more guidance, more logic and reasoning to bring to any situation.  We also have a duty to honor the developmental stage of our child and we can do this with boundaries.

Relationships without boundaries cause dependency and stunted emotional growth for both ourselves and the other party involved.   If we have too many boundaries, no one can get close to us at all and we end up isolated and alone.   With good boundaries, we learn to develop an appropriate sense of roles amongst family members and the other people in our lives. We learn to respect ourselves and others.  We can trust and listen not only to ourselves, but to others.

Specifically in parenting, boundaries allow children to feel safe and secure.  Boundaries helps children learn self-control and how to function with people outside of their immediate family. Parents who set good boundaries for themselves and for their children are modeling for the children, how, in turn, to set emotional and physical boundaries for themselves.  If we can be calm as a child tests out what the boundary and line in the sand actually is, then we are modeling for our child how to handle this in their own lives.   We help them learn how to function in the world.

Read the entire article by clicking here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2012/12/17/boundaries/

Do you have a strong opinion one way or another? What do your friends think?

photo by: Sara Björk

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