Borders.. A red light in traffic, a door of a house, a compass in an unknown place, the manifestation of the need for security, visible or invisible reminders of rules.. Sometimes we see limitlessness as freedom or setting limits as restriction. But freedom within borders is what matters.
Not setting limits is like leaving a child in the middle of the ocean on a ship without a compass. An unlimited life is like a ship without a rudder. In fact, setting boundaries and creating that routine have many benefits for children. Family relationships become stronger, develop a sense of responsibility, gain self-discipline skills, and make life more livable. What’s more? The child learns to endure the natural consequences of his behavior. If the boundaries are clear, the child will feel safe both physically and psychologically because he will know how dangerous and not dangerous the environment is. If there are no boundaries, uncertainty begins at that point, which brings with it feelings of anxiety and anxiety, and as a result of this, tantrums and crying may occur.
Children are egocentric, they think and act spontaneously. It is the duty of parents to teach them good and bad, right and wrong. It is healthier to learn the boundaries with the family.
So how can we set these limits for children?
First, reflect on your child. Thus, you express that you see your child’s emotions and feelings and that you understand him. Second, express boundaries to the child. In other words, we specify the rules and limits that the child must follow. Third, offer your child an alternative. You can offer appropriate alternatives to the behavior that caused the limit stage. If you prevent the negative behavior that your child is about to do without providing a fun and acceptable alternative, you may encounter crying and anger reactions, namely tantrums. The final stage is the selection stage. If the child does not meet this limit after the alternative stage, offer a choice.
Let’s examine an example together, what do you say?
Your child wanted to paint the wall with crayons.
1- Mirroring: I know you want to paint the wall, you enjoy painting the wall.
2-Expressing Boundaries: Not for painting walls.
3-Presenting an Alternative: You can paint the paper if you want.
4-Making Choices: If you choose to paint the wall, you choose not to play with crayons today.
If the child continues the behavior of crossing the border after the selection stage, it is necessary to apply the choice clearly presented in the last stage. Parents’ inconsistent approach means that they show the child that the limits can be crossed at any time. The more consistency between your words and your actions; Your children will learn the limits you set more quickly. Another point is the consistency between parents or family members. If the father says no when the mother says yes, or the elders say yes when the mother says no, this inconsistency may cause the child to violate boundaries and develop negative behavior.
Boundaries and rules are actually like pieces of a chain. If one is not intertwined, the other’s leaving the chain incomplete is like not being able to complete it. It is healthier to go through a process called limit setting in order to teach the rules. So, first of all, we took a look at the borders, now let’s have a chat about the rules, let’s look at a few tips.
It is important to create a common list by taking the opinions of family members while determining the rules. Being clear is very important. If the child does not feel the clarity in the family, he creates the perception that the rules can be violated according to his will and arbitrariness. It should be expressed in a clear and concrete language so that everything is in place in the child’s mind. For example, when we say “We must be respectful”, respect may mean something different for each child, instead, being more clear and concrete such as “We express our feelings when we express ourselves” makes things a little easier. When we look at it again, when it is said “We can go to the park when the weather is hot”, the concept of temperature may be different for each child and it may be difficult to agree. Instead of saying “We can go to the park when it’s warm….” makes the rule clearer and clearer, thus naturally eliminating conflicts.
There should be consistent rules taken by common decision, so that its functionality is not just a word. And if all members of the family comply with these rules, with exceptions such as bedtime, it will be understood that the rules are not just for the child. Children learn by taking role models, so when they see the family that obeys the rule, this behavior is observed in them after a while. Rules should be expressed in positive sentences as much as possible. For example, it would be more appropriate to say “Speak in a calm and soft voice” instead of “Don’t shout” or “The food is eaten at the table” instead of “The food is not eaten on the couch”.
When the rules are clear and clear, a safe boundary is drawn for the child. Thus, the area of autonomy and independence is naturally provided.
Finally, I would like to close with a quote from Doğan Cüceloğlu: “An individual with a well-developed sense of boundaries and responsibility acts knowing what is beneficial and what is harmful to himself. Trust your child; the only way to develop a sense of boundaries and responsibility in him is to trust him. Trust him and Keep in constant contact with him.”