IMPORTANCE OF BOUNDARIES FOR CHILDREN
Shehnaj Parveen Sarma
Boundaries are about setting the bottom line or making agreements about what is acceptable and what is not. Boundaries work far better if they are made and agreed by everyone. When children see the sense of it, or know you’ve taken their opinions into account, they are more motivated to co-operate.
An integral part of safety is teaching children about respecting personal boundaries. Individuals who present a risk to children usually begin by breaking down boundaries with them. Setting personal boundaries is about learning to protect and take care of ourselves.
For most parents setting boundaries for young kids’ behavior is second nature: No hitting. Don’t interrupt. We don’t grab toys out of other kids’ hands.
But as they get older, and social interaction gets more complex, it’s not enough to just learn the rules. They need to learn to set boundaries for themselves and respect those of others. And that takes being able to recognize what others want and need — and express what they want and need, too.
What must be done :-
Children must have the independence whom to Choose who to Hug And Kiss — Forcing a child to hug a relative or a family friend is one of the most common ways in which we disrespect their boundaries.
Let Them Decide If they want To Sit On Santa’s Lap or not – meaning whether they want to sit on anyone’s lap or sit or stand by their side.
Say No To Spanking—
Not only does spanking teach our children that their boundaries mean nothing to us,It might feel difficult to break the cycle if you grew up in a spanking household, but you can teach yourself to use gentler methods of discipline.
Respect Their Feelings—
How often have you told your children to “stop crying” or that there’s no reason to be upset ? While it might seem like a natural thing to do when they’re having a meltdown, it teaches them that negative emotions such as anger, sadness and fear aren’t acceptable or should only be expressed in certain contexts. Instead, try to validate their emotions by putting them into words. You could say, “I understand that it’s very upsetting that I cut your toast into squares rather than a heart shape.
Allow them To enter Social Situations at their Own Pace—
If your child needs some time to assess a social situation before they’re ready to join in, do your best to respect and support them. Rather than forcing them to say hello to everyone as soon as you arrive at a birthday party, take them off to a quiet corner and chat about the decorations, games and food you can see. When they feel comfortable enough, they’ll join in the festivities.
You should also avoid telling other others that your child is “shy” or “needs time to warm up”. If your child hears you, they could feel embarrassed or internalize those labels.
Respect Their Privacy —
Unless you have a good reason to be worried for your child’s safety, don’t snoop through their room, diary or phone. If your child is generally responsible and reliable, invading their privacy without a solid motive sends the message that you don’t trust them and could push them to become more secretive.
Likewise, don’t share details about your child’s personal life on social media or with extended family and friends. Not only is it embarrassing for them, it’s also likely to deter them from telling you their secrets and feelings in the future. Earn your child’s trust by showing them that you’re an impenetrable fortress when it comes to their personal business.
Listen when your child tells you what is, and isn’t, okay with them, and take their requests to heart whenever possible. It sounds like a no-brainer, but that dismissing children’s boundaries is often something grown-ups do all the time without even realizing it.
Children might want to change their goals ,behaviour and their boundaries provide them choices to enable them to make right choices.
In short, the boundaries learned at home, early in life, are the first exposure a child has to the world as it exists outside the home, and learning boundaries early enables children to integrate themselves more easily into the various social situations they encounter as they grow and mature.
Parenting approach plays a crucial role in moulding children .So, proceed with a more conscious approach.
Shehnaj Parveen Sarma from Guwahati practicing NLP counsellor and Life Coach and has a Facebook Page called Mind Triggers related to counselling.