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"children need boundaries" (is this true?) - Page 5

post #81 of 135
I agree about action rather than words. But, boundaries are also understanding your child's limits and respecting them. I would not put a child in a setting that brings his aggression out. He isn't ready. It isn't fair. I learned this approach from Aldort's book, Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. I learned that instead of insisting on a setting that doesn't work and struggling to fit the child to it, I can be kind to the child and to myself by listening and noticing what does and doesn't work.
post #82 of 135
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post #83 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy
I will go further to say I don't think most people like or respond well to value judgements on their actions. I mean, something someone does may be *wrong* to you, even to them, but it doesn't help the situation (imo) by telling them THAT WAS WRONG!!! I just feel that it doesn't accomplish much, with children or adults.

Suppose I had a friend over to my home who for instance, smacked her child in front of me. I don't allow that in my home, I feel personally it is wrong to hit children, but in my approach I will be seeking a gentle, effective, peaceful way to make my stance known. I think it would be more effective and gentle to say to said friend, "I realize you are frustrated friend, but I don't allow hitting in my home. Let me make you a cup of coffee and let's all cool off for a moment, sound good?" (or something similar, just using an example). I don't think it would do anyone any good to say "THAT WAS WRONG FRIEND! WE DON'T HIT!" To me, that sets up an immediate adversarial situation where said friend feels on the defense and like I am making a judgement of her (which I would be).

So, some people may not see the difference between "I don't like to be hit, I like to be touched gently" while demonstrating a gentle touch -- or saying "hitting is wrong", but I see a big difference in how a child may percieve said statement.

It is not my aim to shame my child in any way, and it is just my humble opinion that telling my child they are wrong or hitting is bad or other value judgements, is shaming to them, even if it is a *soft* shaming. Now, before the responses come, I am not suggesting that my child won't ever do anything that I *percieve* as wrong in the context of this discussion, however, I just don't see how pointing out her failings gets me closer to helping her become the person she is meant to be. I would rather focus on treating her how I like to be treated when I have said or done something "wrong". I would rather help the offended party communicate -- (Are you okay Suzei? etc) "Suzy does not like being hit, she seems upset." I *may* even go as far as saying that depending on the situation -- but I wouldn't make a blanket statement about something being "wrong and bad"...especially morally, because as we all know, that is subjective.
I wouldn't advocate saying it in a punitive or shaming way, just as a statement of fact. I wouldn't say "it's wrong to hit people; people have a right not to be hit" any differently than I would say "the grass is green." To me they are both neutral true statements.
post #84 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna
I was little, maybe 5 or 6, I used to recreationally torture my younger cousin. I would pull him away from the adults.... I wasn't trying to get any needs met, it was just fun. Today of course I'm embarrassed at the memory of what a demon-child I was. Fortunately my cousin is a very forgiving man who doesn't hold my demon-child self against the adult I am now. But I certainly didn't have that good motivation. I do today, but that's because of a conscious choice on my part.
I would disagree here -- what if the adults had been paying enough attention so that you couldn't have done this? What if an adult had been 'filling your cup' by playing with the two of you together?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna
A 3 yr old isn't immoral when he hits his playmate any more than he's immoral when he mis-remembers the alphabet. But he needs to learn and be taught.
This is waaay waay beyond the scope of this thread, and we still haven't helped the poor OP -- but, this gets to the notion of 'original sin'. I would argue against that -- no a 3 year old isn't immoral, but it's because s/he doesn't have the impulse control, not because s/he needs extrinsic rules to not hurt people.

I can't believe that a 3 year old really wants to hurt someone. It's that s/he can't think of anything better to do, can't take another person's perspective and realize BEFORE the action what the consequences are, and they can't control their impulses. None of that is moral for me. All of that is developmental, and it's part of my job as a parent to help give my child other strategies (using words, and HOW to use them), and to keep them out oif situations where their lack of impulse control is going to be a problem.

So, if we're crossing the street, my 23 month old needs to hold my hand - because she doesn't have the impulse control to stop if there's a car coming. If we're at the park, she's free to run.

Similarly with hitting, with little ability to control impulses and no ability to take another's perspective, I'm going to rely more on action, not explanation to keep my child from hitting. I will explain too, but it's short and sweet and most likely AFTER I've dealt with the behavior "be gentle. I don't like to be hit."

When a child is little and hits repeatedly, then it's my job to set a boundary first by preventing her from hitting if I can (saying "be gentle"/stopping the hand), and second by separating her from the victim if prevention doesn't work. Until she develops reliable impulse control (and my 23 month old ain't got it!), I need to do those two things. I won't do a time out at this age because she won''t 'get it'. But I will sit her on the couch to remove her from her brother or walk away if she's hitting me. I will remind her to be gentle. I will shadow her and sit next to her while she plays so I can catch that hand when it's going back and teach her that hitting is not allowed. I will step out with her in a group situation that's become too much for her.

Finally, I think it pays to remember that kiids don't reason like we do either. This I think is where setting boundaries only verbally fails - and it's how gd gets a bad rap. My one year old insisted on try to put large lids on small pots and vice versa because she honestly couldn't tell by looking that they didn't fit. At age 3, our son played hide and seek by covering his head with his blanket. When our son learned that the busses stop running at 1 am and start again at 5 am, he thought that the bus drivers ALL worked until 1 am, slept for 4 hours and started again at 5 am. Our explanations of shift work made no sense to him.

So for that reason, I don't expect them to understand that 'MiKayala doesn't like to be hit." and use that as intrinsic motivation not to hit. Not before about 4 or 5 at least. That doesn't mean I won't say that, so as to try to teach it, but it's not my major way of setting that boundary. Instead, I model the behavior I want, and help direct them to appropriate behavior.
post #85 of 135
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post #86 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy
I will go further to say I don't think most people like or respond well to value judgements on their actions. I mean, something someone does may be *wrong* to you, even to them, but it doesn't help the situation (imo) by telling them THAT WAS WRONG!!! I just feel that it doesn't accomplish much, with children or adults.

Suppose I had a friend over to my home who for instance, smacked her child in front of me. I don't allow that in my home, I feel personally it is wrong to hit children, but in my approach I will be seeking a gentle, effective, peaceful way to make my stance known. I think it would be more effective and gentle to say to said friend, "I realize you are frustrated friend, but I don't allow hitting in my home. Let me make you a cup of coffee and let's all cool off for a moment, sound good?" (or something similar, just using an example). I don't think it would do anyone any good to say "THAT WAS WRONG FRIEND! WE DON'T HIT!" To me, that sets up an immediate adversarial situation where said friend feels on the defense and like I am making a judgement of her (which I would be).

So, some people may not see the difference between "I don't like to be hit, I like to be touched gently" while demonstrating a gentle touch -- or saying "hitting is wrong", but I see a big difference in how a child may percieve said statement.

It is not my aim to shame my child in any way, and it is just my humble opinion that telling my child they are wrong or hitting is bad or other value judgements, is shaming to them, even if it is a *soft* shaming. Now, before the responses come, I am not suggesting that my child won't ever do anything that I *percieve* as wrong in the context of this discussion, however, I just don't see how pointing out her failings gets me closer to helping her become the person she is meant to be. I would rather focus on treating her how I like to be treated when I have said or done something "wrong". I would rather help the offended party communicate -- (Are you okay Suzei? etc) "Suzy does not like being hit, she seems upset." I *may* even go as far as saying that depending on the situation -- but I wouldn't make a blanket statement about something being "wrong and bad"...especially morally, because as we all know, that is subjective.
I completely agree with this. When I say "hitting is wrong" or "hitting is unacceptable" there's a very, very good chance that what my child is actually going to hear is "you are wrong" or "you are unacceptable." Children tend to take things very personally, as a judgment of themselves not just a judgment of their actions. So we may not think we're shaming them, but often we are-and unnecessarily, because there are so many other ways to communicate effectively about hitting (and many, many other things in life). And when a child perceives our comment that "hitting is unacceptable" as "I am unacceptable" it shuts the door on empathy and communication and learning. Children, especially very young children, just are not all that able to separate their actions from who they are.

In fact, I know many adults who bristle at being told that something they've done is wrong, who take judgments (however softly we think we're saying it) as personal attacks. And if this is true of so many adults (so, so many adults) then I think it's almost inevitable that a young child will feel the same way-even if they can't articulate it or don't quite undestand what that bad feeling they now have is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayala Eilon
boundaries are also understanding your child's limits and respecting them. I would not put a child in a setting that brings his aggression out. He isn't ready. It isn't fair. I learned this approach from Aldort's book, Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. I learned that instead of insisting on a setting that doesn't work and struggling to fit the child to it, I can be kind to the child and to myself by listening and noticing what does and doesn't work.
This is a very good point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna
I don't believe children are born knowing morality any more than they're born knowing algebra. They have to be taught. That doesn't mean they're born evil or immoral, just ignorant.
Children may not be born knowing their parents or their cultures moral code, but they are (IMHO) born with the innate capacity (note: I said capacity, not fully developed ability) for compassion, empathy, gentleness, and just all-around goodness. I think that all we really have to do is water those seeds of "goodness" in them. When you have a lawn, you can pull weeds like crazy and they'll likely keep coming back unless you water and feed that lawn so that it grows so think and lush that there's much less room for weeds to grow. I think the same goes for people. When you water the seeds of compassion and kindness, etc., there is much less room for the seeds of anger and violence to grow and take hold. I don't have a point to make about this that directly speaks to the issue of boundaries, but the prevailing view of children as somehow, in their ignorance of our moral code, innately drawn to violence/other undesirable behavior is sad. I just don't perceive children this way. Children want to do "well" and when they are able to, they will.

Just my POV. Carry on.
post #87 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
When I say "hitting is wrong" or "hitting is unacceptable" there's a very, very good chance that what my child is actually going to hear is "you are wrong" or "you are unacceptable." ..... Children, especially very young children, just are not all that able to separate their actions from who they are.
I think this is exactly right. I've heard so many mainstream parents try to emphasize: "YOU are a good person but your BEHAVIOR is bad." That just doesn't work, psychologically, for a child. And probably not for many adults. Its wishful thinking to believe people can separate who they are from what they do.
post #88 of 135
I can see that kids might not be able to separate themselves from their actions, but you don't have to yell (as all caps implies) that it's wrong and so on. I've heard my son repeat quite gently on the playground to others who have hit that "We don't hit" and I don't think he was repeating any shaming. I like the socialist collective "we" because I feel like it takes the heat off of him a little bit. I've tried the gentler "Susie doesn't like to be hit" and so on and it can feel strangely disrespectful to Susie and somewhat incongruent with the offense just commited against her if I don't take a firmer stance against said aggressive action. I suppose when I have time to explain how we touch and so on, then maybe that is just as firm. But often times I feel like I need to briefer than that because he stops listening if I'm going on about gentle hands. I think there are ways that condemning of the action could be perceived more personally, but I don't see that in the common "That's not OK, we don't hit" statements, assuming they're not said with anger. It's not the most subjective thing to me, in most situations I think it's wrong.
post #89 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
Children may not be born knowing their parents or their cultures moral code, but they are (IMHO) born with the innate capacity (note: I said capacity, not fully developed ability) for compassion, empathy, gentleness, and just all-around goodness. I think that all we really have to do is water those seeds of "goodness" in them. When you have a lawn, you can pull weeds like crazy and they'll likely keep coming back unless you water and feed that lawn so that it grows so think and lush that there's much less room for weeds to grow. I think the same goes for people. When you water the seeds of compassion and kindness, etc., there is much less room for the seeds of anger and violence to grow and take hold. I don't have a point to make about this that directly speaks to the issue of boundaries, but the prevailing view of children as somehow, in their ignorance of our moral code, innately drawn to violence/other undesirable behavior is sad. I just don't perceive children this way. Children want to do "well" and when they are able to, they will.
Okay, well in keeping with this analogy, which I really like, you do still have to pull the weeds. I agree, the more you do for the grass, the less room there is for weeds. But occasionally one might crop up, and require attention.

I wanted to return to a point you made earlier:

Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
And I'm thinking that I guess I don't understand exactly what's meant here by parents not taking a strong stand against hitting (except for the mentions of parents not responding or responding unclearly). Is it a stronger stance to say "never hit, hitting is wrong" than to say "he didn't like being hit, it hurt his body, let me help you solve this without hitting"? I think that in my every day interactions, when I focus on how that other person felt and focus on teaching my child alternative ways of handling a situation I am taking a pretty strong stand against using violence (even if I don't say "hitting is wrong"), and am pretty strongly promoting solving things in a more peaceful way-in no small part by dealing with my child peacefully myself. KWIM? I'm not saying my way (er, the way I aspire to) is better, just that maybe don't be so quick to write it off as not strongly showing a child that violence isn't the way.
I think there may be a stronger stance made with the former statement, though tone of voice and body language would influence both. And the more that I have thought about this, the more I've realized that I DO think it's okay to make very strong statements to your children on a few key issues.

For example, we live on a very busy street, and when my dd got mobile and learned to open the door herself, I had a VERY serious talk with her about what could happen if she went out in the street. Honestly, I scared the dickens out of her. One of her first two-word sentences was "Car smash!" which she said in parking lots. And, she has never, never once bolted into traffic or taken her hand away from me in a parking lot.

Now, this might seem shocking, some might say it's cruel to instill fear in my child. However, I feel that 99% of her world is safe. Most of the time she is free to roam, experiment, climb, try, and do what she wants. And she has a healthy respect for traffic and cars.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you are paying attention to your child's needs and filling their cups, and when they occasionally lose it and haul off and hit their sibling, and your response to this is, "Stop! We don't hit! I know you're frustrated, but hitting is unacceptable. Let's move this toy up to the table instead, where the baby can't reach it," you're sending the message that you feel very seriously about hitting and that you feel it is a very grave offense. Will they feel that THEY are unacceptable? Maybe briefly, but I kind of doubt it.
post #90 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
I completely agree with this. When I say "hitting is wrong" or "hitting is unacceptable" there's a very, very good chance that what my child is actually going to hear is "you are wrong" or "you are unacceptable." Children tend to take things very personally, as a judgment of themselves not just a judgment of their actions. So we may not think we're shaming them, but often we are-and unnecessarily, because there are so many other ways to communicate effectively about hitting (and many, many other things in life). And when a child perceives our comment that "hitting is unacceptable" as "I am unacceptable" it shuts the door on empathy and communication and learning. Children, especially very young children, just are not all that able to separate their actions from who they are.

In fact, I know many adults who bristle at being told that something they've done is wrong, who take judgments (however softly we think we're saying it) as personal attacks. And if this is true of so many adults (so, so many adults) then I think it's almost inevitable that a young child will feel the same way-even if they can't articulate it or don't quite undestand what that bad feeling they now have is.
In some cases I think this is true, but I think it depends on how it's presented. There's a big difference between yelling "Hitting is WRONG!" in an aggressive tone and saying "it's wrong to hit people; people have a right not to be hit" in a calm, kind, matter-of-fact way. I think tone matters even more than words for the 3-and-under set.

Quote:
Children may not be born knowing their parents or their cultures moral code, but they are (IMHO) born with the innate capacity (note: I said capacity, not fully developed ability) for compassion, empathy, gentleness, and just all-around goodness. I think that all we really have to do is water those seeds of "goodness" in them. When you have a lawn, you can pull weeds like crazy and they'll likely keep coming back unless you water and feed that lawn so that it grows so think and lush that there's much less room for weeds to grow. I think the same goes for people. When you water the seeds of compassion and kindness, etc., there is much less room for the seeds of anger and violence to grow and take hold. I don't have a point to make about this that directly speaks to the issue of boundaries, but the prevailing view of children as somehow, in their ignorance of our moral code, innately drawn to violence/other undesirable behavior is sad. I just don't perceive children this way. Children want to do "well" and when they are able to, they will.

Just my POV. Carry on.
Yes, I agree that they are born with the capacity but not the fully-formed ability for compassion, empathy, etc. Just as they have the capacity but not the fully-formed ability for things like reading and math. But I think they're also born with the capacity for selfishness, anger, arrogance, etc. And our job as parents is to nurture the capacity for the virtues and not nurture the capacity for the vices, while still allowing them as much freedom to make their own choices as possible.
post #91 of 135
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post #92 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna
I think I agree with this, but could you explain what "filling their cups" means?
Well, that term gets tossed around here occasionally, I guess it's making sure they're getting enough love and attention, feeling like they have a place in their family, value, etc.
post #93 of 135
I'm just lurking on the GD board because it's something I'm thinking about and processing now for myself--still quite a ways from being a mom.

So I just wanted to add my little contribution. The original question was about whether kids become insecure without boundaries. I think of it this way: When you're carrying a kid, you want to hold the kid firmly. (Without unnecessary constriction.) If one has a very loose grip, the kid might keep falling down. Or even if one barely keeps the kid from falling, the kid has a sense of physical insecurity. While they sometimes need independence, in that moment of holding the kid is depending on you to hold him or her effectively.

So boundaries are similar. Sometimes it works to be loose and floppy; but there are times when appropriate firmness is needed.
post #94 of 135
We definitely need to set boundaries. I don't let me son run rampant just because we have chosen gentle discipline. I guide and direct him in a respectful manner, but he knows I mean what I say.
post #95 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna
I think I agree with this, but could you explain what "filling their cups" means?
That's a phrase from "Playful Parenting" where Larry Cohen talks about the need for everyone to "fill up" on love/attention, etc. When chidlren misbehave, often their "cup" of love and attention is in need of filling, and yet what punishment does is deplete it even more. So, he talks about the need to keep a child's "cup" full, so that they have more resiliance. I've lent my copy of the book out, and so can't check the quote exactly, but that's the idea.

I maintain that a child who's got enough love and attention will not want to hurt others. And a 3-4 year old at least, will be able to resist the urge. A 2 year old, no, but a 3 year old should.
post #96 of 135
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post #97 of 135
You keep stating that you were a demon-child as if it's a fact.

Why is that?

I seriously doubt that anyone here remotely believes that there is a such thing as "demon-children".
post #98 of 135
I'm jumping in here not having read all pages in this thread.

I do believe that children need the kind of gentle guidance about likely boundies that other kids have. In all likelyhood the child who was hit or had his/her toy taken away wasn't comfortable or happy with that, you were helping to protect their boundries. I also belive that setting boundries helps protect our children from danger. I think when gentle guidance doesn't work something more than being told may be necessisary- this of course depends on the child.

I also believe that boundries should be used sparingly. I only set boundries that are important to me and that I am willing to consistantly enforce. I think it's silly to set a boundry that doesn't really matter and have your kid disrespect the boundry just because he or she can. ( I was recently angered by someone who said I don't set boundries, when I DO and she sets boundries that are unreasonable and has a child who walks all over her- I wanted to say Dr. Phil style "how's that working out for you?")
post #99 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinxie
I'm just lurking on the GD board because it's something I'm thinking about and processing now for myself--still quite a ways from being a mom.

So I just wanted to add my little contribution. The original question was about whether kids become insecure without boundaries. I think of it this way: When you're carrying a kid, you want to hold the kid firmly. (Without unnecessary constriction.) If one has a very loose grip, the kid might keep falling down. Or even if one barely keeps the kid from falling, the kid has a sense of physical insecurity. While they sometimes need independence, in that moment of holding the kid is depending on you to hold him or her effectively.

So boundaries are similar. Sometimes it works to be loose and floppy; but there are times when appropriate firmness is needed.
I really like that analogy; I've never heard it before.
post #100 of 135
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