This is why you have to set boundaries for your children
Life has shown us that all the good intentions of the once authoritarian parenting, and the permissive parenting that followed, have not proven themselves to make happy children, and a balance between them is required. So true, setting boundaries for children is a challenge but it can be met, and especially necessary
It requires balance and integration - between boundaries and acceptance, between love and security. Boy walks on beam (Photo: ShutterStock)
Boy walks on beam at equilibrium, against blue sky and clouds (Photo: ShutterStock)
Boundaries are an important thing for kids and teens. Today it sounded trivial but not always thought that way - authoritarian parenting, the so-called "parenting of the time" saw a single author as a single adult, demanded full compliance and took penalties when it did not exist. The permissive parenting that developed later was firmly opposed to this concept and the tools used by parents, and advocated endless freedom, love and acceptance for children. The belief was that children who felt protected, safe and unreservedly loved could follow the heart, know what was right for them and find their own unique path to happiness and success.
But reality has shown that all good intentions of permissive parenting, such as the authoritative ones before them, have not yielded positive results and often have created a lack of confidence or a tendency for rebelliousness and risky behavior among children (studies have shown that many children who grow up in permissive parenting actually crave boundaries and see them as an act of love). These results led to the understanding that balance and integration needed - between boundaries and acceptance, between love and security.More in Walla! NEWS More in Walla! NEWS
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Border sounds like something negative but is also a place that protects us and keeps us from reaching places that will endanger us or harm us. Imagine a tall building with no railings at all. If a group of children can play on such a roof, one of two things will happen - some of them will come very close to the edge and may also bend (we will fall) because they will want to see what is there. Others will not move away from the center of the roof for fear of falling, so they will play in a very limited area, not discover the environment and have a constant sense of fear. But what happens if there is a fence around the roof, which is tall and safe but also a little transparent so you can see what is beyond? The kids will be able to play all over the roof without fear and learn about what's going on around them, and do so with a sense of security and security.
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Boundaries that are set right are evidence of love and concern, not toughness and arrogance. We set boundaries because we love our children, are responsible for them, and know a little more about them about life. And that includes not only immediate physical dangers but issues such as healthy nutrition, screen time, lesson preparation, or responsible driving. Children gradually develop cognitively, emotionally, socially, and morally, and in adolescent adolescence are particularly preoccupied with examining boundaries and self-determination, and so are in dire need of our guidance. Changing our perceptions of boundaries will make it easier for them to be placed and adhered to by children, and it will be easier for them to see the love that underlies them, even if they do not see it in the short term.
When you explain to a child why a particular rule exists, he will understand it. Mother calms angry girl (Photo: ShutterStock)
Woman tries to calm an angry girl sitting next to her (Photo: ShutterStock)
In order to succeed, we must map out the things that are of particular importance to us and what is worth insisting on, because it is impossible and wrong to ban everything. Children are acutely aware of what we are all about and they will undermine these things and it will be easier for us to persevere in the face of objections when it comes to matters of principle. Leave the less important things to the children to decide, so that they can also make their voices heard and decide on topics that are relevant to them (such as when to do lessons).
The principle of consistency
Have you drawn the boundaries? Now be consistent. A border that was once valid and not once confusing and could lead to repeated struggles - because once it succeeded and if I insisted more maybe it would work even now. If we go back to the example of the fence on the roof, it's like there are sometimes open and sometimes closed doors. The children will spend much of their time examining the doors and trying to open them instead of playing and developing.
This consistency certainly has room for flexibility, but it must be accompanied by an explanation that will help the child understand why the principle has been violated today, and why it will still be valid on an ongoing basis. For example - now it is permissible to have a snack at noon because we are on a trip, but tomorrow it will still be prohibited. The goal within the boundaries is that they will be internalized and accepted with understanding, otherwise once the responsible adult is not around, the children will break the boundaries because they are the adult and not their own. When we explain to a child why a particular rule exists, he will understand it and also feel valued - because we treat him and trust him to understand. After all, we want to raise thinking and non-obedient children who are afraid of children who can make similar choices in the future. Explanations form part of our relationship with the children, and a connection based on love, respect and acceptance also allows acceptance of boundaries.
Think of boundaries as an act of love that prepares children better for life. Girl hugs her father with a smile (Photo: ShutterStock)
Girl hugging man and smiling at camera (Photo: ShutterStock)
Parenting that sets boundaries while love and empowerment requires us to think about our core values, presence in children's lives and self-confidence and steadfastness that we know what is right for our children. It also requires self-regulation that will allow us to persevere calmly and consistently in what we believe in without being alarmed by the children's protest responses and surrendering or losing sight. And it requires collaboration as parents - one voice that creates consistency.
It sounds like a lot to expect from us as parents. After a day of multi-tasking and struggles, it is much easier to give children what they want and buy quiet, but when you think of boundaries as an act of love that prepares children better for life, it is easier to choose to do the right thing instead of the easy thing. Life has given our children situations that are not going to go exactly the way they want and it is important that we, who love them, mediate the process and give them tools. It's a long-term investment, and such investments are far better than short-term investments, even if they require more investment.
Dr. Niva Dolev is the Head of the Department of Education and Community in the Kinneret Academic Department