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Why is it so important to set boundaries with our kids?

By : Angie Reece

In this fast paced world we live in where most things are as quick and easy as pressing a button, it is even more important to set boundaries with our kids. Sometimes we feel that we don't want to say no to our children. Perhaps we feel guilty or we don’t want to hurt their feelings or we want them to have a better childhood or options than our own childhood? In reality though by not setting boundaries we are by far doing a lot more damage.

Kids need limits; it teaches them how to behave and equips them with a set of natural social skills where they are able to handle themselves in any situation respectfully and with confidence. By setting boundaries you are teaching them life skills.

It teaches them self-discipline and more importantly it teaches them to incorporate a healthy balance to their lives. Ultimately we want our children to live a healthy and happy lifestyle, managing their responsibilities and keeping their bodies healthy without us having to nag and remind them constantly. Giving them responsibilities in the household can make them feel part of a family team where we all help each other and respect one another.

Creating boundaries keeps them safe. They may be allowed to play outside but what are the limits to where they may play and what they may do. Giving your child more responsibility comes gradually and when they prove themselves then they show that they can handle more responsibilities.

Placing limits on your children also keeps them healthy. Most children don’t think about why too many sweets or junk food is bad for them. They will want instant satisfaction. We have to put the limits in place. Too many sweets are bad for your teeth, your blood sugar and will probably send them a bit hyper. We have to teach them to make healthy choices too. What about electronics? Most children might feel content watching t.v or playing online games all day. We have to teach them that too much of those things can affect their eyesight or cause them to become lazy and an inactive lifestyle might lead to weight gain which will in turn affect their self-esteem. We have to set boundaries as to how much t.v and online games they can play over a period of time.

Setting boundaries and saying ‘no’ teaches children how to cope with unhappy or sad feelings and how to get over those feelings. It helps them to be better equipped and more able to cope with any let downs or difficult situations that may come their way as they grow up.

Lastly by providing limits and boundaries in your child’s life you are actually showing them that you love and care for them; that you, as parents are in charge and have things under control. They will in turn feel less anxious as they know that “you’ve got their back” so to speak.

Even if it means getting a negative reaction when you say ‘no’, remember to hold your ground. That is natural behaviour from a child. As they grow older they will gradually appreciate and love the boundaries that you set in place for them and will probably do the same for their children and in doing so we are creating good citizens of society.


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