Do you remember scurrying to your room if you were downstairs watching TV after 9pm, and you suddenly heard the horn on daddy’s car at the gate? I’ll leave you to laugh that off.
There was a rule and there was a boundary: You were to be in bed by 9 pm and if you crossed the line, you got whatever was coming to you!
dictionary.com describes a boundary as something that indicates the limit to something.
We live in a world where boundaries exist at work, in society and in relationships. The first place for setting boundaries which should be transferred to society is the home. Every organisation or institution has its way of doing things and the family unit should be no exception. Boundaries are usually set within the laws of any organisation.
The ten commandments had boundaries set within them such that everyone knew when they had crossed the line. However, boundaries are only effective if they have been previously spelt out or indicated.
Therefore setting healthy boundaries at home starts with the culture within your house which in turn determines the rules that you set. What values do you uphold at home? What are you known for? What do you do as a family and what are the things that you do not stand for? Sitting down with your children to discuss this will help them understand how your family operates.
Pasting your house rules somewhere and saying it continuously in the house might help younger children imbibe this culture. If you don’t spell out what is acceptable and what isn’t, no one knows and you can be sure there will be lots of assumptions because no one knows where the line is.
Children do not necessarily know what a bad habit is if you not help them identify it. We are raising children to become responsible adults in a not so distant future. Therefore as Parents, it is important to set boundaries and stick to them by being firm but gentle and most importantly by being consistent. Children watch us closely and can tell when we have moved the goal post. Being consistent will strengthen our credibility before our children.
Here are some benefits of boundaries to your child.
Boundaries teach self-control- Setting healthy boundaries helps a child know how to keep himself or herself in check because he or she knows the limits.
Boundaries help with delayed gratification. A child who grows up in an environment where there are boundaries will understand the word NO or not now. Saying NO is different from compensating a child when he wants more of something he has had enough of or something he should not have at that time.
Boundaries provide protection. There is freedom within the parameters you have set so boundaries are not there to hamper your child or break them. There is a lot of protection in instructions. Boundaries will protect your child when you are not there.
Boundaries contribute to building a strong internal edifice. Your child can develop resilience, assertiveness, and stand up for themselves when you set healthy boundaries. Most importantly, when they know these boundaries.
Boundaries help responsibility. A child that has developed self-control and understands delayed gratification and understands that boundaries are there to protect him, is becoming responsible. With freedom comes the responsibility needed to manage that freedom.
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