Before Geoff and I had kids I was a nanny, caring for other peoples kids.
It was easy to see from doing this how setting boundaries was important from the outset.
So when we had kids I had lots of ideals in place(funny how hard it is to put these into practice when it's your own kids though).
The Merriam Websters dictionary defines a boundary as something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent
As parents we fix the limits initially for our children.
We have both internal and external boundaries in our lives. Kids need to learn these through good parenting and parents as role models.
Boundaries make us who we are.
Boundaries are about taking ownership of our lives; our behaviour and our internal thoughts and feelings.
Kids and boundaries go together. Without boundaries children are confused, they don't know how to behave, or what is expected of them.
All kids test boundaries that have been set.
We need to be looking at the boundaries that we set for our kids throughout their lives. the boundaries we set for a toddler will be very different to those we set for eight year old kids
There is always freedom within boundaries, kids feel safe within boundaries
Setting boundaries also requires consequences:
This can be missing a favourite TV programme, losing a set amount of pocket money or missing out on a treat.
Always be clear on what is expected and then carry through the consequence.
This can be very hard as it is often quite tiring to keep up on a daily basis and we can tend to think "Oh well it's okay this once". If we do this though we have found it is that much more difficult the next time.
If we set our own boundaries in how we behave and how we allow other people to treat, us our kids will learn from our modelling.
We need to take responsibility for our own actions and accept when we have made mistakes. kids will watch how we deal with life and will copy us.
At first we set boundaries for our babies in being clear about bedtimes. For our toddlers that tantrums didn't make us give in. As the kids grew older we showed them how to behave at mealtimes.We also taught our children the following:
How to accept that "no" meant "no".
As the kids grew older we started involving them in setting the boundaries so that they started to understand that there are choices to make when setting boundaries for yourself or others.
So our kids and boundaries we have set for them, have worked well over the years. We rework them and sometimes we get it wrong. We are willing to work at it with the kids.