In the area of “setting boundaries”, there are two extremes. One group consists of parents who view their child as an absolutely free being who does not need any boundaries. They adapt everything to their child’s needs. The child only has rights but no responsibilities. The great risk with this type of upbringing is that your child may grow up to be an egotist. The second group, authoritative and strict upbringing, also has its limits. The child in it has no right to their own opinion, and the biggest driving force is fear, which is not the wisest advisor in life. Is it appropriate to set boundaries for a child? And if so, how to set them correctly?
1.Justify the setting of boundaries
A child needs to know why they have to take a shower, maintain a drinking regimen, or not run in bad weather on the street in a short-sleeved shirt. The sentence “Because I said so” will not bring any clarification. If you set a boundary in something, explain to the child, appropriately for their age, why it is important for you that they comply with it. For example: “You will not eat sweets before lunch. It is important for you to eat a balanced diet. If you eat chocolate bars before lunch, you will no longer be hungry. You can have a small sweet after you eat lunch.” Children sometimes rebel only because they do not understand the connections. Try to explain it to them.
2.Respect set boundaries
Be consistent in setting boundaries. If one day you don’t allow your child to eat sweets before lunch and the next day you break down, they will know that the boundary is not on a firm foundation. It will give them the courage and strength to constantly exceed the limit. Ensure consistent enforcement of boundaries so that your child knows what is expected of them and learns to respect the rules.
3. Involve your children
Try to involve your children in the process of setting boundaries. You can discuss together what is accessible and what is not in your family. Allow them to express their opinion and communicate the setting of boundaries. Their proposals may pleasantly surprise you.
Consequences are not punishment or a disaster. Consequences are simply… consequences. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Even a small task with appropriate emphasis can teach a child to tidy up properly. If you have agreed that the child will vacuum their room every week and they don’t do it, don’t do it for them. As a consequence, you can add another task if they miss the deadline. For example, cleaning the toilet. Of course, if they are old enough for the task.
5.Choose a friendly approach
Setting boundaries doesn’t have to be based on an authoritarian approach. You can treat your child as your “partner” with whom you pursue a common goal. To create a more harmonious and pleasant environment for all of you. Therefore, if you want something from them, make sure to use a pleasant tone. Avoid using a commanding tone or begging. Show that you know your own value.
Setting boundaries may require time and effort, but this effort is definitely not in vain. It allows the child to respect the people around them more and cultivate responsibility for their actions, which is something that none of us can avoid in adulthood.