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"children need boundaries" (is this true?) - Page 2

post #21 of 135
I think your examples are acceptable. Areyou saying that your freinds want more done?

I also think that if you are trying this (what you explained) and yur son comes back and hits again and again, then it isn't working. You tried it, but he didn't learn anything from it.

Allowing a child to repeatedly hit, or take toys with only a simple explanation and returning the toy ...will only end up in isolation. These are the kids who get ONE invitation to a birthday party...the other parents see the behaviour and make a mental note NOT to invite that child to the next party.

However, my daughter was the type that just a simple reprimand would have been MORE than enough to stop the behavior. I never needed to go any further. She refused to apologise, but that was a whole other issue. (and not worth the power struggle)

Every kid is different. Some are very strong willed, and some want to please.

You need to find what works for your kids. Like I said, what you do would have been plenty for my daughter. If they learn from what you are doing, then it is perfect. Don't let others intimidate you into doing something you are not comfortable with.
post #22 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnviroBecca
The only thing I would change is that in one of your examples, you are asking a question ("Can you please give it back?") where it probably would be more effective to use a gentle-but-firm statement ("That belongs to Michael. Give it back to him."). When you ask a question, it sounds like "no" is an acceptable answer.
I agree. Never leave the option of "No" out there for the kids. I always laugh at people who say "pick this up..OKAAAAY?" then the kids say "No" and the parents are all surprised. LOL

Quote:
Originally Posted by natensarah
Yes, I agree with this. My dd just had her 3 year old well-child visit, and the ped asked me if we were using time-out. I said no, we don't punish, and he told me that: "Children need boundaries."
But, in my world, "time out" means to just "chill out" it isn't punishment. It's a few moments to settle down and regroup. It can be on the couch watching a movie....it can be in her bed listening to music...but we all need some time out. Do you have any idea how many times I have wanted to sit in my car in the garage and turn on the radio????? GAWD that sounds nice some days.
post #23 of 135
I think that (most) children DO need boundaries. But I also think that people in general go a little nuts and controlling in creating them. Just like I think time outs can be a good idea, but they are often over used and misused.
I also agree with thismama. In speaking to him you did give him a boundary, and nothing works overnight, but sometimes it never works. Then I think one needs to be firmer. There's nothing wrong with that.. Some kids at some stages are going to need firmer boundaries.
post #24 of 135
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone....I appreciate all the responses. I"m actually having a bit of difficulty in my present situation with my son because he is having a really hard time with self regulation. Even when I tell him "please dont hit, hitting hurts", he continues to hit me or (other friends). When he hits me, I try to block his hits or move out of the room reminding him that I wont allow him to hit me. This angers him and he comes after me harder I feel like that is not a boundary because he's really not getting the point, or is he?
Many of you said it would be different if he kept hitting and he might need a bigger consequence.....well this is what's happening. We will get some in home counseling for him soon which will hopefully help but I'm concerned they wont take the "gentle" approach
I'm just wanting to know which "boundaries" are effective and which ones arent so much boundaries as just "no, dont do that, stop" (when they just keep doing it )
post #25 of 135
Gosh....the way some of you are discussing boundries is odd to me. You talk as if it's the same as a punishment of some sort. A punishment isn't a boundry.

Here's a definition from Dictionary.com:

"bound·a·ry

Something that indicates a border or limit.
The border or limit so indicated."


OP, if other moms are looking at you like you've done something wrong, it's not because you haven't demonstrated or inforced boundries with your DS. You are clearly establishing boundries with him.So it's perhaps because they are expecting you to punish your DS, or to be firmer with him in some other way.

Giving children boundries is establishing lines or fences for them, and giving them an idea of what they can and can not do, where they can and can not go. Establishing boundries is not a matter of total control. People cross boundries all the time-- especially kids. It's not some crazy, authoritarian way to parent. It's how we keep ourselves safe, keep our children safe, keep others safe, keep behaviors legal, and give our kids a clue as to what's going on in the world and why people do (or don't do) certain things, and act in certain ways. If you don't let your kid run into the street, then you've set a boundry. If you don't let other people discipline your kid, they you've set a boundry around your kid that you maintain for him. If you don't let your kid or anyone else hit you, then you've set your own personal boundry, and you don't let others violate it.

When children don't know what limits they have, they sure can grow up feeling insecure. It's hard to understand why anyone does anything without knowing what many common personal and societal boundries are. Imagine how you would feel if you felt like you lived in a world where everyone else, including your parents, had been given some secret code or manual for how to operate in a certain place or situation, and you were the only one who didn't know the deal? And all because your parents just decided you didn't need to know what the "boundries" were in that particular environment?
You would not only feel out of place. You'd probably feel like your parents did you a disservice, to say the least. Surely we've all felt out of place and not in-the-know, and wished we were clued in, from time to time? Right? I mean, knowing what the boundries are, but choosing to violate them can feel mighty powerful sometimes. But not knowing can make you feel insecure. It can make you feel like your traveling in a foreign land, even though you haven't left home.

And Akira, I really don't get what you mean when you say you can't set boundries for your son or anyone else. I mean, I like that you say you have taught your son to only hit in the dojo. (Sounds like a limit to me.) But if your son were to hit someone elses son, does this mean that you would stand back and watch, and wait for the other little boy to establish his own boundries with your son? Does this mean you wait for the other little boy to tell your son "Don't hit me?" If not....if you would tell your son that he can't hit the other child, then you are establishing boundries for both your son and the other child. But I'll wait for you to explain this better.

Faith
post #26 of 135
Faith, I love what you wrote.

Boundaries, to me, are information. Information about navigating in the world. Some boundaries are about safety, others about interpersonal relations, and so forth. Some boundaries are based on physics - my body can only jump so high, or run so fast.

All PEOPLE need an awareness of boundaries. Whether or not they choose to respect them, or to respect some and ignore others, is up to the individual.

I don't think people need arbitrary boundaries, or punishment for crossing boundaries. I think they need reasonable boundaries and a flexible way to deal with the times boundaries are ignored/defied/forgotten. Sometimes its a good thing to cross a boundary. Ask Rosa Parks!

Children are not served by being denied information (i.e., most people will not respond well to being hit) but they aren't served by rigidity in the name of rigidity, either. Too many people use boundary as a code word for punishment.
post #27 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by faithnj
And Akira, I really don't get what you mean when you say you can't set boundries for your son or anyone else. I mean, I like that you say you have taught your son to only hit in the dojo. (Sounds like a limit to me.) But if your son were to hit someone elses son, does this mean that you would stand back and watch, and wait for the other little boy to establish his own boundries with your son? Does this mean you wait for the other little boy to tell your son "Don't hit me?" If not....if you would tell your son that he can't hit the other child, then you are establishing boundries for both your son and the other child. But I'll wait for you to explain this better.
Well, I thought I addressed this, but I was a little out of it yesterday... Of course I would not sit back while DS hit people. And I'm not really sure why it's always the automatic assumption that a little monster is growing when someone says they don't impose artificial boundaries, or punish, or even *gasp* that they trust their child to learn about the world and participate as a respectful human!

This isn't meant personally (even though you were the one quoted). I'm just so tired of that widespread assumption. And apparently feeling a little cranky about it at the moment.

[/rant]

I don't see it as setting boundaries around DS to stop him from hitting another child, apologize to that child for him (let's not rehash that infamous manners discussion...), and talk about how the child feels hurt now, maybe even has a booboo. Showing him how to recognize and respect other people's boundaries (the other child in this example) is not imposing one on him.

I mean, yes, teaching DS to hit only us and in a playful way is a limit. It is not a limit around him. It's a limit that most other people have. It is teaching him that most people like to have their desire not to be hit respected, and here are the exceptions.

---

Look, every person on this planet experiences some sort of boundary to their existence. Even Paris Hilton. I mean, like, we can't just jump in the air and fly over all the traffic, or decide never to waste time sleeping again. Why give kids the idea that actual boudaries to living are anywhere other than exactly where they are? It seems like lying to me. Why not just talk about what actually can and can't happen in life and why? How other people like this or dislike that, and we treat them in a way they like? And that there are no absolutes?

And how can anyone not know what limits they have? I mean, parents can lie to their children about the limits by overstating them or by understating them. Either way drives kids wacko. Neither is fair to them. But they know what limits they do have, no?

---

I said before that it's folly to think I can impose an invisible fence around another person and inforce what goes on inside. (Something like that, I don't feel like looking back...) I'd love it of someone could show me just how that could work. How far does it go? When DC resents the artificial communication (and they always know deep down), do you also "set a boundary" about the backlash? If DC starts sneaking in an attempt to experience life as it really is - or to escape - will you "set more limits" to stop that?

Where do you really start being honest about what life is like? When you fess up about Santa? Teenage years? 21? Is there a conversation like, "Well son, now that you're old enough to buy liquor, I should tell you that it doesn't really matter if you wear the same shirt 2 days in a row?"

OT: Didn't Seinfeld do a routine about calling up his mom to tell her that he was running with scissors and swimming right after eating?

---

I'm really not trying to be snarky, just hyperbolic to try to illustrate why I see thinking about drawing boundaries around a kid so strange. It's a difficult distinction to make, and exaggerating helps define it a little, I hope.

BTW, Dechen, great post!
post #28 of 135
Quote:
Too many people use boundary as a code word for punishment.
Amen...that is why I think I don't care for it when people say "children need boundries" because I have found that when most people say that, if you delve a bit deeper into what they mean, they are saying "children need to be controlled and punished and need to be shown who's boss".

I agree with what aira said. I believe teaching our children (and most importantly, modeling for them) to respect the boundries we have for ourselves (mama does not like to be hit) and teaching them to set boundries for themselves and the behaviors which are acceptable or not acceptable to them far outweighs imposing boundries for them.

I don't think anyone here is saying their little Johnny can haul off and smack little Joey across the face with no discussion or without getting off their butt and preventing little Joey from getting a black eye. However, in presenting the discussion, I would rather say something to my child like "Joey does not like to be hit. I expect you to respect Joey's right/preference (whatever) not to be hit"....presenting it as joey's boundry he has set for himself, that I as the parent and someone who can probably communicate that more effectively than Joey, may have to assist my child in a bit of impulse control.

I don't think it helps at all to enforce arbitrary boundries just to show a kid who's boss. They already know who clothes and feeds and houses them, and however consensually you strive to live (which we do) that unspoken knowledge in itself, tells them "who's boss" (though I don't look at myself as a boss just using an example).

So yes, I agree that everyone needs personal boundries they set for themselves and how they expect to be treated. My aim is to gently teach and encourage our daughter to respect the boundries of others and to form her own boundries that she can communicate to others gently and effectively.
post #29 of 135
I agree with what I read so far. I would so much like that to work for my family but sometimes it does not work. For example, my 3 yo and my 5 yo decided to start running on the sidewalk (not in the street but not safe anyway) last night when we were going home after dinner at a friends' house. How do I enforce this boundary? They KNOW this is not safe. If you talk to them on a one-on-one basis they will say that it is bad to run in the street. They do not do that with their pre-K teacher or the babysitter. But with me, they look at one another they laugh and they run off... I don't know...
post #30 of 135
This is a bit off topic but in regards to the hitting and toy taking, maybe you could try (possibly you have already) saying what your ds can do, instead of can't. Like for example 'You have to have gentle hands' or 'If you would like a turn with x toy, why don't you see if you can trade turns for y toy'. I also work on having my ds play with a toy along with another child. Of course you need willing mom's to do this, which luckily I do in my ap group. Could I also suggest finding an ap play group as I find it is much easier to use gd when you are not under pressure from non gd moms. Also as many of the tactics I want to teach my son involve cooperation from the other child and parent this is easier when we have the same gd goals in mind. I also see many gd strategies in action and have learned many things that have helped me in my own parenting journey, as I also have from the wise women here.

Leah
post #31 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by faithnj
And Akira, I really don't get what you mean when you say you can't set boundries for your son or anyone else.
Yeah, I think its easy to get that from her first post. But after some clarification, it seems like she's saying that she can't place boundaries for/on her son. She can only inform him of (and possibly enforce) OTHER people's boundaries.
She's not saying she won't respect other people's boundaries (or insist that her ds do so). She's just saying she's not going to tell her son what his personal boundaries are.
Is that right aira? I hope so- cuz I like that a lot!

Quote:
Originally Posted by faithnj
When children don't know what limits they have, they sure can grow up feeling insecure.
Yeah that. That's what I was trying to say when I said that kids don't need boundaries to feel secure. They need to know what the real/natural boundaries *are* to feel secure. But they don't need to have arbitrary boundaries imposed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy
Amen...that is why I think I don't care for it when people say "children need boundries" because I have found that when most people say that, if you delve a bit deeper into what they mean, they are saying "children need to be controlled and punished and need to be shown who's boss".
(...snip...)
I don't think it helps at all to enforce arbitrary boundries just to show a kid who's boss. They already know who clothes and feeds and houses them, and however consensually you strive to live (which we do) that unspoken knowledge in itself, tells them "who's boss" (though I don't look at myself as a boss just using an example).
I agree wholeheartedly, and thought it was worth highlighting what you wrote
post #32 of 135
To the op- your son is still hitting. I'm not sure what you've tried, but let me tell you some of the things I might try.
First, maybe you could change your phrasing, if it's not that effective for you. Saying "hitting hurts" isn't really true from the child's pov. It doesn't hurt THEM when they hit. kwim? Plus, sometimes it doesn't even hurt me when ds hits me. I just don't want him to hit me. I've found that what works best here is to tell my ds that "I don't like to be hit." or "Brooke (our dog) doesn't like to be hit."
Also, have you tried giving him other ways of expressing what he's trying to express? If he's trying to interact with you, and is just getting a bit excited, saying "gentle touches" probably helps. But if he's angry, try to give him some other ways of telling you he's angry. Tell him what he can say, give him the sign for angry, or give him some other gesture he can use. If he's frustrated, and trying to communicate something to you, and you're just not getting it, tell him that you are trying to figure it out, and you need a minute, and have him try other ways to tell you. See what I'm saying? Tell him what to do instead of hitting, that is directly relevant to WHY he was hitting. Honor the original impulse. kwim?
Oh yeah, and empathize
post #33 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deva33mommy
To the op- your son is still hitting. I'm not sure what you've tried, but let me tell you some of the things I might try.
First, maybe you could change your phrasing, if it's not that effective for you. Saying "hitting hurts" isn't really true from the child's pov. It doesn't hurt THEM when they hit. kwim?
I agree with this. I've noticed another problem with telling my dd "Hitting hurts." Here's what happens: Ds knocks over dd's block tower, destroys baby's bed, screws up puzzle, whatever little toddlers can do to make big sisters mad. Dd is mad, hauls off and hits ds. I tell dd "Hitting hurts Luther!" Dd gives me a look like, "No sh!t!?! Why do you think I hit him? I wanted to hurt him!"

So maybe your child is more civilized, but I've found that to be a problem, because I want to send the message that it's unacceptable. Also, I think just because he's still hitting doesn't meet it's not working. It might just be taking a little longer for him to learn it and incorporate new replacement behaviors.

And, nextcommercial, I agree that your kind of time-out can be very beneficial, but my ped was referring to the on-the-step until the timer goes off thinking about what you did wrong kind of time out. Like Captain Crunchy said, he was substituting "boundary" for "punishment".
post #34 of 135
"Joey does not like to be hit. I expect you to respect Joey's right/preference (whatever) not to be hit"....presenting it as joey's boundry he has set for himself, that I as the parent and someone who can probably communicate that more effectively than Joey, may have to assist my child in a bit of impulse control.

I agree with this approach, but unfortunately it doesn't always work with all kids at all times. And that doesn't always mean that the parent is doing something wrong. I agree that people impose boundaries often "just because" and it's controlling. But some kids do need more than verbal guidance, and I don't think that is crossing the line into some sort of controlling tactic.
post #35 of 135
Oh I agree hazelnut, which is why I said sometimes we as parents have to assist our children with their impulse control. Obviously if the above example didn't help my child to stop hitting someone, I would have to realize that the impulse control is not there yet (not that they are being *bad*) and remove my child temporarily from the object of temptation (i.e. hitting the other child)... not as a punitive measure, but as a way of helping the *victim* (so to speak) enforce their boundry not to be hit. There would be no further "consequence" or punishment, as I don't believe in punishments --- now perhaps my child would take it as a punishment that I can't allow them to wail on Joey, but it is the only way to keep Joey safe if he is not consenting to being hit...
post #36 of 135
Natensarah, why not talk to both DC about both prespectives? Maybe DD wouldn't want to hurt DS so much if she heard from you that she has every right to be angry about having her stuff destroyed, and you vocalized that to him for her. Why would you ever just speak for one child's boundary and not the other? Sounds like it's setting her up.

I mean, is it that you think her "offense" is worse, and you only deal with the escalation of the problem?

Of course she'd be pi$$ed if her feelings were steamrolled like that.

I don't get it.
post #37 of 135
yes - they need boundaries
one thing I wanted to say was that I think the boundaries we set need to be ACTION rather than just VERBAL, especially with little ones
they understand more direct action - ie. you removing a toy to give back to another child much more than just an explanation or a request for them to give back the toy
post #38 of 135
In reality, I think that we are all probably closer together in our thinking than it seems just by looking at these posts. Semantics can be tough.

Personally, I do think that children need boundries to feel secure and to know and learn the rules of the world so to speak. I think this hitting example is a poor one. The idea of not setting boundries about hitting, that it is up to the other child/person to set their boundry about being hit is confusing. I don't think there are many people out there who would say "heck, yes, feel free to hit me. That's not a personal boundry of mine." Why not explain to your child that people in general don't like to be hit, and that's why hitting isn't allowed. Otherwise, how confusing must it be for a child at the playground to know which child has which boundries set for themselves. "Well, I hit Joey, and evidentally, that goes against his boundry. Hmmm, I wonder if that little girl over there is okay with being hit. Let me go find out." Are we really being fair to our child not to explain to them that hitting for hitting sake simply isn't okay? Should we expect them as a toddler or preschooler to be able to know what other people's boundries are? I frankly just think that this is poor semantics. We don't want our children to hit (at least I hope we don't) why not simply explain that hitting is wrong/not nice/etc. We shouldn't be responsible for explaining other people's boundries -- we can't be expected to know everyone's boundries.

My kids do have boundries. We have rules and routines. They have bedtimes, though this is negotiable depending on the situation. We have mealtime rules as a family. We have rules that apply to how we treat others. We have guidelines for how the household is kept running smoothly and how everyone is to help. I have no problem with exceptions to the rules, but as a parent, I feel it is my responsibility go guide my children in their upbringing. We practice gd and don't assign random punnishments. What we do is teach our children the things that they need to know to grow up to be productive members of society. Sometimes this requires rules and boundries. My children feel secure knowing what is expected of them and knowing that we are helping them to find their way.

On another note. For anyone who has taken teaching or psychology classes, I'm sure you remember this little study.

An experiment was done with children on a playground. There was a large fenced in playground that the children were allowed to explore. They could explore every inch of the playground and children would roam every inch from one edge of the fence to the other feeling totally secure.

Then the fence was removed with the idea that the children would perhaps explore further to see what was beyond the boundry that had been set for them. But what happened was that the children all stayed in a large mass in the center of the playground. They seemed anxious and wary. They now had no idea how far they could explore nor what was expected of them. Rather than feeling freedom to explore and seeing what was beyond the past boundry, they were afraid to even go as far as the fence had been in the first place. Their limits had been removed, but they rather than being comfortable with that, they were uncomfortable not knowing their boundries. Once the fence was replaced, the children would explore clear up to the fence again.

Just something to think about.
post #39 of 135
Quote:
What we do is teach our children the things that they need to know to grow up to be productive members of society.
Well, that is where we differ greatly then. Don't get me wrong, I do hope my child will grow up to be a "productive member of society" (whatever that means) but it is not my goal while I am teaching her things or emparting my *cough* wisdom *cough* lol to her... it will though, in my estimation, be a byproduct of all the things I do hope to show her -- love, empathy, respect for self and others, self discipline, happiness, and how to live life attempting to meet the needs of everyone involved, including herself.

I know the study you are referring to and from a sociological standpoint (my area of study) it speaks to me more of herd mentality than proving that children so desperately need boundries. It can't be an accurate study because do we know how these children were raised? Were they of different income brackets, ages, races, most importantly, was there a wide area of parenting style represented? I wager to say if one of the children went running off in one direction, most would have followed. I would be curious to see if they did the same study with an *actor* child told to run off happily, who would have followed.

Yes, I don't think it is disputable that there are boundries everywhere. Where the conflict arises with me, is the fact that I reject having to rigidly enforce what I percieve to be arbitrary boundries (set bedtime, making a child sit with family for meals whether they like it or not etc) to *teach* them we all have boundries. The examples you gave in your family sound more like rules to me than boundries. Potato, Po tah to I guess.
post #40 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jish
Are we really being fair to our child not to explain to them that hitting for hitting sake simply isn't okay? Should we expect them as a toddler or preschooler to be able to know what other people's boundries are? I frankly just think that this is poor semantics.
Um, well, where to begin...

As for the first sentence, I'm assuming you're addressing it to me (since I spoke more explicitly about that), but don't understand how that came from me, or anyone espousing a similar POV. I most certainly talk to DS about hitting - and stated such - but I thought that using that example (though I didn't start it) was an excellent way to illustrate that not everyone sees "boundaries" in the same way.

If DS started trying to see who liked hitting and who didn't, I'd be the first to suggest the he talk to them about it instead. Of course he can't know what other people like - who can? But wouldn't modelling talking to people about these thing be a useful skill to pass along? That's how we get cooperation and mutual trust. Communication. I do it with my kid every day. Together, we do it with lots of people. Don't really understand why all these examples seem to be working on the idea that we can't talk.

Though if you want to get into some really funky conversation, we could discuss the martial understanding that develops from reading other people's energy and silently determining their intention and willingness to engage, but for now, let's stick to the topic at hand, if no one minds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jish
We don't want our children to hit (at least I hope we don't) why not simply explain that hitting is wrong/not nice/etc. We shouldn't be responsible for explaining other people's boundries -- we can't be expected to know everyone's boundries.
Because frankly, I would never speak to DS so rudely. Passing that kind of value judgement on him for manifesting either his anger or sheer curiousity (using your hypothetical), has no place in respectful parenting.

I can't be expected to know everyone's boundaries, but I can start conversations with almost anyone to find out, and we can go from there. That's what I model to DS. So I'm not responsible for explaining everyone's boundaries, but just between him and me, I certainly offer DS the information he needs that it's fairly commonplace that people don't like being hit, or that people eating in a restaraunt don't like to hear us talking loudly. It wouldn't be fair for me leave him hanging, trying to understand, without helping him with what I know. But again, there are no absolutes, and it's equally unfair to him for me to lead him to believe that there are.

I'm working under a different paradigm than I often see even here, in which I fundamentally trust that my son, if given an honest view of the world, will grow into the human he is here to be. He will suffer and struggle to achieve his best if I try to mould him into my idea of what that is.
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