As a parent or to-be parent, you need to reflect on the following points to understand the concept. This is in the interest of being able to create effective boundaries for children. In answering this question and understanding the nuance of the points listed below, you will help your child gain the safety connection he or she needs, and also help them navigate their way as they grow older.
1. Is Your “No” Really Necessary?
How often do you say “No” to your child without any good reason? Your child is consistently learning what works. If you say ‘no’ without following through with it, he or she will get the wrong message. And this message often spell inconsistency and weak boundary. Before you say no to a child, be certain that it is necessary. In some instances, when you say No to him or her, for a particular reason. Nothing stops you from saying yes to them for the same reason, if it is necessary, on a different occasion.
Effective boundaries demand your own stability for establishment. Children need to understand that boundaries are not always static. Instead, they are fluid to the extent to which it demands for any given occasion. This teaches them to strike a balance between flexibility and rigidity in decision making in their own independent lives. In other words, they learn that what is previously avoided, can be embraced later and vice-versa. Ultimately, they learn that it is okay to be flexible.
Endeavor to only use ‘Nos’ when necessary. ‘Nos’ are boundaries; the simplest and first boundary a child is exposed to. And it is imperative that they understand that boundaries are always for a good reason and expedient for a healthy and constructive life. It also helps them adjust at the sound of ‘No’ and understand it is a deal.
2. Effective Boundaries for safety reasons vs control boundaries
This is imperative in the quest to allow your child to be free and not constrained by your self-imposing will over them. Everyone can be a parent, but not every parent can be said to be a parent. The difference is in having the insight necessary to navigate your child. Knowing and understanding that you do not have to give them your will because they already have one. All a child needs from you is guidance. Seeking to control a child by imposing your will power and your authority over them is a form of abuse. Here, the child does not only learn wrongly, you would also succeed in moving them from the right track.
Let your child understand that the reason you create a specific unquestionable boundary is duly for safety reasons. This way, they gain insight and understand what constitutes abuse and what does not. Also, they do not feel constrained to express themselves when they need to.
Consequences Of Control Boundaries
i) You trump on their creativity and problem-solving skills.
A child has a will too. However, when you impose yours on them, you clamp down on their creativity and problem solving skill. The aforementioned can wither because of your lack of insight. Moreover, you will be unable to put in place effective boundaries that is necessary for their formation.
ii) You prevent them from nurturing their own ability and certainly stall their self-reliance.
In expression, a child learns self-reliance. This is bred through their ability to relate effectively with the parent without constrains.
3. Do You Lack Self-Discipline?
Children are good at pushing past boundaries. However, when they get their way, they are not responsible for that. Their access against boundary is often preceded by a lack of self-discipline on the part of the parent. And in their quest and curiosity, they learn what works and what does not. Therefore, the chance to repeat the behavior grows. By not being firm in your authentic ‘Nos’, you allow them to push your button. Also, saying No to him or her, and changing it without explanation, teaches a child that they can willfully walk over your boundaries and have their way.
This is often at the root of raising a manipulative child. They try it. It gives them the desired result. They repeat the behavior, and internalize it as efficient. However, disciplining yourself helps you stay grounded in order to hold firmly the wall, when they attempt to push against it. You have to be okay with disappointing them, as it is relevant to their growth process. Also, keep in mind, that you are raising a child, and not an object. Therefore, it is expedient that you always leave an open room to air their feelings; even though you do not agree with the reasons behind them. Always give them reasons why you are taking the action you embark on.
Boundary in itself is a tool you put in place in order to relate with another in effective and healthy ways. It is not a means to control another as is often misconstrued; instead, it is something you use to control your own self. As it relates to a child, boundary is something you use to teach a child where to stop, how to relate with themselves, and those around them. A tool that is effective when you apply them with consistency. Moreover, because it is constructive, it forms a child who is creative and independent, as well as recipient.
You are your child’s eyes. Through you, they see the world. Therefore, your self-discipline and consistency helps them to see the world they need to function in. And as such, they need your availability to be able to succeed. Find out why you should care about your availability and what this really means. With that, you will learn to stay grounded in order to create effective boundaries for your child.