Parenting 101: What You Need to Know about Setting Boundaries
Posted on January 27 2017
There is no definite rule when it comes to parenting. Every parent can attest to the fact that raising kids is no easy feat, even if you got tons of positive parenting tips for healthy child development. Establishing simple house rules, for example, sometimes needs a lengthy discussion and loads of patience especially in the midst of resistance.
Seeing your kid break down on the floor in a public place because you won’t buy a treat may be one of your worst nightmares, and giving in may be your quickest solution to save you from a hell of embarrassment. But hey, doing this can signal your kid that such behavior is rewarding. That is why setting boundaries are very crucial for your children as they grow older. You might fear about how your kids will react, or that you might be hindering them to navigate the world with a sense of creativity. However, setting boundaries is actually beneficial for both your children and you, as the parent.
Why is Setting Boundaries Important?
1. It makes your kids feel safe
Limits allow your kids to know what to expect every day. For instance, monitoring basic rules on daily routines – meal times, screen times, bed times – creates a predictable pattern in your kid’s life. Such predictability lessens uncertainty, which eventually reduces anxiety. On a deeper level, these limits also heighten your kid’s sense of security and will also make you feel secure. When your child is used to conforming to your guidelines, uncomfortable situations – like those where safety is an issue – will make you feel more complacent knowing that your kid will listen to you rather than ignore you.
Don’t expect your child to thank you for the rules though; in fact, it will be quite the opposite! Remember that setting limits doesn’t make you unfair or mean, no matter how often your child tells you that you are – in which case you are being told out of anger.
2. It lessens self-entitlement
It is definitely normal for children to feel narcissistic at times. Some positive parenting tips for healthy child development include accepting them as they are at this phase of growing up. However, there is a need to slightly disrupt this early development of narcissism in order for them to avoid becoming self-centered adults.
These parental boundaries help children understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them, thus allowing them to become mature and patient youngsters. Putting limitations to their comfort and pleasure gives room for your kids to cope with disappointment and develop empathy for others who are feeling the same.
3. It strengthens them
The world isn’t a bed of roses – we know that. Kids do not necessarily understand this at a deeper point. By introducing them to struggles through rules, we teach our kids to get through the day with effort. This is how they grow up to become responsible adults as they learn new things each day.
It is natural for children to be wanting to be in charge. They expect you to remove the struggles and fix the tangles for them. Just don’t. Not that it makes you a rude ruler, but it actually strengthens them. Don’t be afraid to turn off the TV when it’s reading time. Ask them to eat more veggies when they have to, or have them do an extra chore at home. If they struggle, they learn. If they learn, they become wiser and stronger.
Setting the Rules
In order for your kids to behave appropriately, you have to set the right expectations. This doesn’t mean handing them a white paper of dos and don’ts – too many, too complicated, too confusing rules that aren’t essential to their development process. Simply set limits that are easy to follow and provide clear directions of what you expect from them.
Oftentimes, giving a little space for your kids to contribute in establishing some basic rules allows them to cooperate in the long run. Some rules aren’t negotiable though, such as holding your hand when walking across a busy street. But there is always a way to unleash the creativity in you by getting them involved. Provide options wherever possible. For instance, you can ask the kids to choose which book is preferable for their reading time, or have them select their favorite pajamas when it’s bedtime.
While it has never been easy to establish limitations for your children, setting appropriate boundaries does not only avoid a chaotic household, it also teaches these youngsters about life skills. Not only does it keep the parents sane, it also molds them to become mentally, emotionally, and psychologically prepared to what’s coming up as they grow to become a vital member of the society we live in.
How about you, how do you set your rules with your children?