Part of helping kids to be the best they can sometimes involve pointing out things they can do in a different way. Your kids might not always be happy to receive this information but it’s an important lesson to learn from an early age.
Setting boundaries for your kids is essential for building strong relationships on a basis of respect. Boundaries can be material, physical, mental or emotional. But maintaining boundaries can be tricky. Let’s look at a few ways to best discuss boundaries with kids.
How to talk about boundaries with your kids
- Make the message clear from the start
When setting boundaries, your kids should know exactly what you want or don’t want. It is very important to use clear and firm words and not language such as “maybe”, or “I think”. This way, your kids will know exactly what is expected of them.
- Remember that no means no
Sometimes boundaries won’t make a lot of sense to your child. But if you or someone else sets a boundary with your kids, it is not okay for them to find some way around it. Teach your kids respect for boundaries no matter who they come from.
- Stay calm
You want your kids to know that you are confident in your choices. So, whenever you talk to them about boundaries, it’s important to stay calm and talk in a firm but low tone.
Teach them it’s important to set their own boundaries
Kids can feel insecure when they don’t have clear limits. To keep them safe and help them feel confident, they need boundaries to give them a sense of security.
- Teach them who is in control of their body, thoughts and emotions
Teach your kids it’s okay to say no when they don’t feel comfortable with someone telling them what to do or feel with their own bodies.
- Help them understand what healthy boundaries are
Healthy boundaries define what is appropriate behaviour to keep both parties in a relationship safe. To teach your child how this works, you can discuss examples with them, such as asking to play with a toy before simply taking it out of a storage box.
Start at a young age
Healthy boundaries are necessary for healthy relationships, and parents should begin teaching their kids about them as early as possible. Help them build confidence in their emotional health by having discussions about the various types of boundaries and why and how they help us in daily life.