Children have many innate abilities, but understanding the workings and the dangers of the world we live in is not one of them. They know when they are hungry, tired or scared, but they don’t have the knowledge and skills to keep themselves safe or interact with others in a respectful way. It’s important for parents to set boundaries for their children as part of the learning process.
Boundaries keep children safe
Learning from experience might be the best way to learn in many situations, but sometimes the stakes are just too high. For example, toddlers don’t understand why it’s not a good idea to run on the road or climb on the balcony railings. They’ll test these boundaries again and again before they realise that they’re non-negotiable. Then they’ll stay within the boundaries without you having to enforce them every single time – what a relief!
Boundaries give children a sense of security
There’s a lot going on already in your child’s life: learning, building relationships, growing, changing. Boundaries make everthing look more organised and predictable. When children know what to expect and have some guidelines on how to behave in the situations they encounter, they gain a sense of control and confidence that they can manage.
Boundaries help create healthy habits
Even adults find it easy to get addicted to junk food or TV and children are much more vulnerable. It’s important to set limits in these areas in order to teach our children how to eat healthy and stay active.
Boundaries teach life skills
Overcoming difficulties, taking responsibility for your actions and delaying gratification are all skills that are best learned through boundaries. Having to deal with disappointment in a safe and supportive family surrounding will prepare children for later lessons in life, which will not necessarily be delivered in the same loving and forgiving fashion.
You’re a role model
Finally, by setting boundaries with your kids, you’re teaching them to set boundaries for themselves. It’s so important to know where a person ends and someone else begins, and it’s something many of us have to learn the hard way by negotiating our way out of abusive relationships or work commitments that affect our health. When you have healthy personal boundaries you won’t find yourself in these kind of situations in the first place, and this is exactly what we want for our children.
Image via Pixabay