Why Is It Important to Be Aware of Boundaries in Children?
Children want and need to understand the rules of the world they live in. They want to know what is expected of them, where they stand in the eyes of other people, how far they can go, what will happen if they go too far. Have you ever traveled on a road with few or no road signs? People get very confused. You don’t know which way to go. If there are no signs showing the way, you can take the wrong path and get lost. Children trying to learn the way of approved or disapproved behavior feel just like that. It is easier for children to understand and follow this path as long as the boundaries are clearly defined and consistent.
Rules and boundaries increase children’s awareness and maturity, make them more compatible with the environment. If there are vague and inconsistent boundaries, children can get lost in the way. When there are rules at home, the child learns to distinguish between right and wrong, and social norms. He obeys the rules in society, he knows that if he does not follow the rules, he will have to pay a natural price in the end. But if there are no rules at home or if the child’s rules are passed, the child cannot adapt when he opens up to life outside the family, he wants to do whatever he wants or to be done.
When the child realizes that the outside world does not please him, he tries his best to control it. He persists in his own way. He tests his parent’s authority, testing to what extent he can influence him. He tries to understand whether the parent is stronger than him. In this way, they learn to create their own boundaries as they grow up.
Children learn through concrete things. Their experiences have a very powerful role in shaping the reality they believe in. We can teach our children our rules with our words and actions. Both teach the lesson, but only the behaviors are concrete. It is not words that set the real rules; are the behaviors we practice. When our words are consistently consistent with our actions, children take our words seriously and adopt the rule behind it.
It should not be forgotten that there are two difficult aspects of setting boundaries for children; setting boundaries as parents and accepting these boundaries as children. Parents sometimes have a hard time setting boundaries with their children. On the other side of this difficulty they are experiencing, we see children resisting not to accept these limits.
Protective boundaries are set without violating the child’s boundaries, while respecting ego development. The human psyche is based on a balance. On the one hand, we have desires for freedom, individualization, and self-actualization, on the other hand, we have past addiction experiences. In infancy, we are quite helpless, helpless and needy, and we are just as angry. This addiction makes us angry. The angry face of the child is also a situation that parents often encounter. It should not be forgotten that this feeling of anger is normal and appears in the form of whims and stubbornness. It is important to allow these feelings to be displayed without harm.
After the parents, the school acts as a control mechanism for the child. For this reason, the rules and sanctions at the school are very clear, and these rules apply to every child. When there is a parent who cannot set boundaries at home, the child cannot make behavior change at school. Just as there are rules in school, there are also people who will protect it.
The parent’s acceptance of the school’s rules and limits and their reflection on the child facilitates the child’s self-control and creating his own limits.
Limits on Self-Care
Issues that concern the child’s body, such as food and cleaning, are the boundaries of the child that should never be violated, they must be respected, and the child is always the only authorized person in matters related to his/her body. When the child is born, the symbol of the first love relationship is food. Thanks to food, he gets pleasure and fills his stomach. Eating is the act of starting the first sense of pleasure between mother and child.
When children who don’t eat are insisted on too much, this sense of pleasure turns into hatred. As a result, it is seen that irritability and aggressive behaviors increase. The more we insist, the more we can invite eating disorders that may occur in later ages.
Children’s experience of academic life begins in the primary school years. The use of techniques that include threats and criminal methods in the transition to academic life causes negative results.
Until the age of 10, the child seems to submit to the threats and punishments of the parents, but in the process of individuation, he will first neglect the academic field.
When the child comes home, he may want to rest. Saying “Let him do his homework as soon as he comes home, get rid of it and then do what he wants” is the wish and working style of the parents. Homework should not be reflected as a torture to be done to the child, and the child should be supported to form himself and his working system.
Parents’ duty is to teach their children how to fish, not to fish and give them. The method should be taught to the child about studying and doing homework, he should be given confidence, then he should be made to do it independently and make him believe in it. When the child says that he will not do his homework, the parent should make it clear that it is his duty. When this process turns into stubbornness, the parent should not turn into a teacher. The child should be guided to talk about this with the teacher and learn that it is the teacher’s responsibility to enforce it.
Boundaries in Friendships
When children have problems with their friendships, families should listen to them and try to understand instead of being involved in this process. Parents should listen to their child, try to understand his feelings and encourage him to find a solution. Parents should not internalize this problem as their own, but should open up space for their child to find their own solution.
Being able to say no
Saying no to the child is the most important limit. The child should not decide everything. Saying no to a child when necessary also improves the child’s ability to tolerate lack. Effective guidance begins with the clear messages we give in our words, and this communication can often be disrupted by the words we say. Anger, tension, anxiety and strong emotional reactions can easily distort the clarity of the message and reduce its intelligibility. You don’t need to say a lot or dramatize the situation, nor do you need to have strong emotional responses to express what you’re saying. All you need is to be clear and precise. A frank message should focus on behavior; should not focus on attitudes, feelings, or the child’s values.
Limits on Technology
It is unrealistic to ban technology, which is a reality of the modern age. Bans always create attraction. It is a prohibition that will force the child not to give leave during the week and to give it on the weekend. It’s the equivalent of not putting a child into a world where all his friends are playing and talking about.
Tablets should not be bought for children before the age of 6, on the condition that their parents talk to them at this age (oh look what’s going on, there are colors here, etc.) or while watching the game they play together. In this way, the parent not only understands the game the child is playing and creates a sharing area with their child, but also does not expose him to a one-sided communication.
The most important thing in the use of technological tools is the time limit. Setting an alarm or giving the child a “last 5 minutes” warning can work. When using the tablet, limits should be drawn such as what is allowed to do, how long it is, and what the result will be if it is not followed. For example; A child who exceeds the 25-minute tablet time by 10 minutes loses 10 minutes of the next day’s 25 minutes of play. Methods such as shouting, getting angry, insulting, offending the child who violates the rule are useless. It will be sufficient for the child to waive his right the next day.
Being exposed to a technological device for more than 1 hour in primary school age affects the brain negatively and causes difficulties such as not being able to switch to other stimuli.
Before the age of 12, the child should not be left alone on the internet. What he does with technological tools should be followed. These areas are very prone to danger, harassment and abuse. The child is still in need of protection at this age. But it should be clearly stated that this follow-up was made for his safety.
After the age of 12, parents should be more careful not to enter the child’s private world. Setting boundaries is a dynamic process. These limits change as children grow. Families have difficulties in developing and adjusting boundaries while children maintain their healthy development. We need to set firm rules for children to make healthy experiments, and flexible rules to allow for growth. Boundaries that provide balanced freedom and control create the best environment for healthy development.