"children need boundaries" (is this true?) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 135 Old 04-18-2006, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have heard over and over again that children need boundaries to feel secure. I feel like setting boundaries and gd dont always mesh. If my two year old hits one of his friends, I tell him, hitting hurts....please dont hit. ( I get this look from other parents ). If my son tries to take away a toy from another friend, I tell him, "your friend is sad because you took away his toy...can you please give it back....(ds runs off screaming, I run after him and tell him I need to give the toy back to friend because it's his). Again, I get from the other mothers.
So, in the above instances, was I setting boundaries? Are "boundaries" supposed to have greater consequences than just "please dont do that"?
I feel like since I've been using more gd, my mainstream friends look at me like "what are you going to do about that?" :

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#2 of 135 Old 04-18-2006, 08:36 PM
 
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I don't think children need boundaries to feel secure, but all people need boundaries to maintain order and civilization. The examples you gave were setting boundaries. You made it clear that he should not hit or take other people's things. To me, no boundaries would mean everyone running around doing whatever he wanted with no thought to how his actions affected others. But boundaries don't have to mean punishment. I've never punished my children and they managed to learn boundaries just fine (well, some things are still being worked on, but for the most part they get the basics, even the 3 yr old).
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#3 of 135 Old 04-18-2006, 09:48 PM
 
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Having boundaries doesn't mean you aren't GD. If you don't allow your child to run in the street, you are setting a boundary. If you don't want your child smashing the china on the floor, it's a boundary. If you don't give your child boundaries, you are telling them that they can do anything they want, and they probably will feel insecure, that you don't love them enough to keep them from harm.

So yes, you can have boundaries and still GD. Just enforce the boundaries with gentleness and love.

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#4 of 135 Old 04-18-2006, 09:55 PM
 
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I think it really depends on the individual child. Really. A lot.

Some children do well with no, or very few, boundaries. For them, the best thing a parent can do is get out of their way.

Others seem to crave limits and boundaries, and if they don't get them, will anxiously or aggressively push hard to get some set for them.

I think overall there are more children in the second category, needing some limits, needing to know they are not always in charge and they can depend on someone else to keep them safe even though they don't act like they appreciate it much. I think its better to start with some boundaries and then ease up if the child doesn't seem to need them, than to start with few boundaries and have to try to "tighten up" after the child has already become fearful or aggressive.
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#5 of 135 Old 04-18-2006, 10:11 PM
 
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I look at it this way: boundaries are things that a person sets around himself or herself - only. I set the boundaries about what is OK for me, and I have no right - or even ability - to set a boundary around another person. Not even my children.

For example: it is not OK to me to be hit. If DS were to whack me, he would most certainly be butting up against a boundary, but it would be one that I make known is mine.

For me to think that there is any way to impose a sort of invisible fence around another person and dictate what happens within it is folly. It's controlling, pure and simple. I control my sphere, and help DS learn about and express his sphere.

DS gets to set his boundaries too. He is a human after all, and has that right like all other humans. If he is making known to me that we a treading on or near one of his boundaries, we talk it out and find a solution that we are both (all) happy about.

Looking at it this way keeps my thinking in line with respecting DS's feelings. It's not that he gets his way all the time - who does? - but that he is in control of what feels OK to him, and expresses it. And perhpas most importantly, is heard.
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#6 of 135 Old 04-18-2006, 11:09 PM
 
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aira - that is EXACTLY what I am always trying to explain to people! Thank you for articulating it so perfectly, can I quote you?
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#7 of 135 Old 04-18-2006, 11:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aira
I look at it this way: boundaries are things that a person sets around himself or herself - only. I set the boundaries about what is OK for me, and I have no right - or even ability - to set a boundary around another person. Not even my children.

For example: it is not OK to me to be hit. If DS were to whack me, he would most certainly be butting up against a boundary, but it would be one that I make known is mine.

For me to think that there is any way to impose a sort of invisible fence around another person and dictate what happens within it is folly. It's controlling, pure and simple. I control my sphere, and help DS learn about and express his sphere.

DS gets to set his boundaries too. He is a human after all, and has that right like all other humans. If he is making known to me that we a treading on or near one of his boundaries, we talk it out and find a solution that we are both (all) happy about.

Looking at it this way keeps my thinking in line with respecting DS's feelings. It's not that he gets his way all the time - who does? - but that he is in control of what feels OK to him, and expresses it. And perhpas most importantly, is heard.
But one person's boundary can't conflict with another person's boundary--in your hitting example, your right not to be hit is a boundary on your ds's behavior in that he does not have the right to hit you. Like the saying about how your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. And the boundary isn't just yours, because everyone has a right not to be hit, not just you, right? I mean you wouldn't tolerate hitting of someone else just because it wasn't you, would you? Aren't those universal boundaries of people's natural rights? Sorry if I'm missing your point here.
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#8 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 12:41 AM
 
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I believe that children need boundaries. Children who do not know what is expected of them are confused and miserable. The same applies when parents are inconsistent about boundaries.

I can say this with some authority...I remember it clearly from my own childhood.
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#9 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 08:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie
I think it really depends on the individual child. Really. A lot.

Some children do well with no, or very few, boundaries. For them, the best thing a parent can do is get out of their way.

Others seem to crave limits and boundaries, and if they don't get them, will anxiously or aggressively push hard to get some set for them.

I think overall there are more children in the second category, needing some limits, needing to know they are not always in charge and they can depend on someone else to keep them safe even though they don't act like they appreciate it much. I think its better to start with some boundaries and then ease up if the child doesn't seem to need them, than to start with few boundaries and have to try to "tighten up" after the child has already become fearful or aggressive.
:
Exactly. Bolding emphasis mine. You took the words RIGHT out of my mouth! I think it's up to us as parents to figure out what "kind" of kid we have....a kid that needs some boundaries and doesn't get them is going to be as bad off as a kid who needs more freedom and is restricted. I think if we're trying one way and it's not working, to try the other even if it seems unnatrual to us - after all, we're supposed to be listening to our children, not just stuck in some set way of doing things. Of course, either of the above ways can be done GENTLY.

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#10 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 10:04 AM
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I look at it this way: boundaries are things that a person sets around himself or herself - only. I set the boundaries about what is OK for me, and I have no right - or even ability - to set a boundary around another person. Not even my children.

For example: it is not OK to me to be hit. If DS were to whack me, he would most certainly be butting up against a boundary, but it would be one that I make known is mine.

For me to think that there is any way to impose a sort of invisible fence around another person and dictate what happens within it is folly. It's controlling, pure and simple. I control my sphere, and help DS learn about and express his sphere.

DS gets to set his boundaries too. He is a human after all, and has that right like all other humans. If he is making known to me that we a treading on or near one of his boundaries, we talk it out and find a solution that we are both (all) happy about.

Looking at it this way keeps my thinking in line with respecting DS's feelings. It's not that he gets his way all the time - who does? - but that he is in control of what feels OK to him, and expresses it. And perhpas most importantly, is heard.
True dat.
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#11 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 10:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mykdsmomy
I have heard over and over again that children need boundaries to feel secure. I feel like setting boundaries and gd dont always mesh. If my two year old hits one of his friends, I tell him, hitting hurts....please dont hit. ( I get this look from other parents ). If my son tries to take away a toy from another friend, I tell him, "your friend is sad because you took away his toy...can you please give it back....(ds runs off screaming, I run after him and tell him I need to give the toy back to friend because it's his). Again, I get from the other mothers.
So, in the above instances, was I setting boundaries? Are "boundaries" supposed to have greater consequences than just "please dont do that"?
I feel like since I've been using more gd, my mainstream friends look at me like "what are you going to do about that?" :
But you DID do something about it! You persisted with what you consider your ds's boundaries to be (taking toys from others is not okay), and I'm assuming here, but did the child get his/her toy back from your ds? I'm sorry those other moms aren't seeing the bigger picture, which is teaching your ds about being kind and respectful rather than teaching him that bigger people enforce rules with punishments. What did they WANT you do to? Freak out and make a huge deal out of typical toddler behavior? Sheesh.

In my opinion, when you give your ds information about what is okay and not okay, you ARE laying down boundaries. He will get it eventually, and I think it will happen without harsh punishments.
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#12 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 10:21 AM
 
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Yeah, children need boundaries, and in the examples in the OP, yes you were setting boundaries. You told your son not to hit and explained why. You removed the ill-gotten toy to its rightful owner. You just set boundaries in a different way than those mainstream mothers who roll their eyes.

I do believe children need boundaries. I have a friend whose son is extremely violent. She either ignores it, or tells him for the zillionth time why it's not cool to attack other children. For me, when talking isn't working, that is the time to make the boundary a little firmer. Time out, anyone? It would not be my first or second strategy for sure, but for this kid, he really needs some firm limits somewhere in his life. I believe he is looking for them, and they are nowhere to be found. I had to stop bringing my young child around this boy as his sole aim was to torture her.
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#13 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 11:06 AM
 
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Theskuldt, sure - no problem!

Brigianna, I don't really see universal boundaries here. But everyone who has an aversion to being hit has a personal boundary. If DS were to hit a stranger, I'd speak for that person, explaining that (s)he doesn't like it, etc...

Just as a counter example of why I don't see it as universal, DH and I practice martial arts. (I've mentioned this here before, but I see that you're new. ) We actually handle the hitting boundary in a very unususal manner. We turn it into play in a martial kind of way (I taught a kids' class for years...) and when the mood is cheerful, we talk about how other people don't want to play this way - only Mommy and Daddy, or in the dojo. And that we don't hit when angry, we talk. We've never had any problems with DS hitting. It's also noteworthy that we give him our utmost attention when he has a problem, and give him the language to express his feelings. That's a big part of it too. He never resorts to hitting in frustration.

So the conclusion here, is that yes, I think children need boundaries. Their own. They need to have parents who make their own boundries clear and consistent - and who facilitate the child in expressing his or her boundaries. And of course, respecting those boundaries with communication and negotiation.

How many times can I fit the word "boundaries" in one paragraph?
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#14 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 11:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aira
Theskuldt, sure - no problem!

Brigianna, I don't really see universal boundaries here. But everyone who has an aversion to being hit has a personal boundary. If DS were to hit a stranger, I'd speak for that person, explaining that (s)he doesn't like it, etc...

Just as a counter example of why I don't see it as universal, DH and I practice martial arts. (I've mentioned this here before, but I see that you're new. ) We actually handle the hitting boundary in a very unususal manner. We turn it into play in a martial kind of way (I taught a kids' class for years...) and when the mood is cheerful, we talk about how other people don't want to play this way - only Mommy and Daddy, or in the dojo. And that we don't hit when angry, we talk. We've never had any problems with DS hitting. It's also noteworthy that we give him our utmost attention when he has a problem, and give him the language to express his feelings. That's a big part of it too. He never resorts to hitting in frustration.

So the conclusion here, is that yes, I think children need boundaries. Their own. They need to have parents who make their own boundries clear and consistent - and who facilitate the child in expressing his or her boundaries. And of course, respecting those boundaries with communication and negotiation.

How many times can I fit the word "boundaries" in one paragraph?
Okay but I still don't think I'm getting the distinction between setting boundaries around yourself and setting boundaries around other people. In your example you can be hit in a martial arts context because you consent to it, but it's still a universal right not to be hit non-consensually, right?

Sorry if I'm just being dense.
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#15 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 11:51 AM
 
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Well, I still don't agree that there are universal boundaries, but yes, I agree to be hit if I consent to it.

I suppose if you saying that there is a universal right not to have anything happen to someone without their consent, I certainly agree with that. But I don't think there are universal specifics that everyone has. Some people really like to be hit (consentually) to the point it hurts. Others think that's crazy. There are no blanket preferences, only guidelines that we all get to say what's OK for us.

I've got a little one climbing all over me and a scortching headache right now - sorry if I'm not making sense...
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#16 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 12:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by aira
Well, I still don't agree that there are universal boundaries, but yes, I agree to be hit if I consent to it.

I suppose if you saying that there is a universal right not to have anything happen to someone without their consent, I certainly agree with that. But I don't think there are universal specifics that everyone has. Some people really like to be hit (consentually) to the point it hurts. Others think that's crazy. There are no blanket preferences, only guidelines that we all get to say what's OK for us.

I've got a little one climbing all over me and a scortching headache right now - sorry if I'm not making sense...
Okay, I think we are saying the same thing but using different terms. I would consider having a universal right not to have something done to you without your consent to be a universal boundary. Each individual chooses how he will exercise that right, but no one has the right to violate it.
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#17 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 12:36 PM
 
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#18 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 01:13 PM
 
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Havent' read the replies- I have to hurry and type while I'm not nak!
I don't think that kids "need boundaries to feel secure" per se.
I definitely don't think they need arbitrary boundaries or limits. They need to know what the real boundaries *are* (or rules, or whatever). They need to know what is acceptable and what is not, so they don't get caught offguard. I imagine most parents (at least here) make sure they communicate that type of info to their kids.
I have boundaries- I don't like to be hit, ds insn't allowed to come near the oven when its open, he can't drink my coffee (lol). And I think it is quite possible to enforce those types of boundaries in a gentle respectful way. I usually give info, then redirect (by giving acceptable related alternatives- that are fun, hopefully). That usually does it. I think kids (at least my ds) know when something is important and when its not. So arbitrary rules get met with much more resistance than true boundaries. Or if you try to set arbitrary boundaries often, you might get resistance to all of it. lol
I do also think that kids need parents to be in a position of authority. Not like "I'm the boss." More like not looking to your kid for guidance on how to raise him. But I also respect his opinion and when he gives it, and if he dissents to something that I'm doing to him, I generaly stop.

If your ds stopped hitting after you did what you did (whether he stopped of his own volition or you stopped him), then you set a boundary. There's no need to go further than giving info and redirecting (well, perhaps physically stopping the hitting if dc can't/won't stop). What did they expect you to do more than what you did? Punish?

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#19 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 03:22 PM
 
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I agree that children need boundaries. The reason (eloquently explained in The Continuum Concept) is that children are born aware that they are small and vulnerable and inexperienced, and they are wired to seek guidance and imitate the ways of their people. The boundaries should be observed by the whole family and taught to the child by example, rather than being imposed on the child by authority figures who are themselves "above" the rules.

Unfortunately, a lot of people say, "Children need boundaries," as justification for whatever they want to make kids do by whatever means.

Mykdsmomy, you ARE using boundaries in your discipline, and I think your gentle explanations are excellent. 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.

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#20 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 06:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca
Unfortunately, a lot of people say, "Children need boundaries," as justification for whatever they want to make kids do by whatever means.
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."

I personally think it is ridiculous to try and dream up "extra" boundaries to enforce. Children have so many natural boundaries anyway, way more than we have as adults. There are so many things that are already out of their control. I agree w/EnviroBecca, we can teach them appropriate social behavior through modeling and occasionally pointing out or enforcing the "finer" points, without having to drive it home with a punishment or imposed consequence.

Having said this, I also want to disagree with BellinghamCrunchie and Donosmommy04 and say that it's not some children that need boundaries, it's some parents. Like me. In order for GD to work in my family, we use a more coercive, authoritative model. I am not a patient person, at all. My mother hit us a lot, and even though I hated it, and hate to admit it, the reflex to do the same to my children is still very strongly there. So we have a top-down family structure with lots of rules, and this keeps things pretty peaceful, for the most part, around here. I think that if I could maintain a healthy relationship with my children and have less coercion or less rules, they'd be fine, but this is the mom they got, and this is the way we make our relationships work.

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#21 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 07:08 PM
 
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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.
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#22 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 07:22 PM
 
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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.
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#23 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 09:01 PM
 
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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.
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#24 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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 )

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#25 of 135 Old 04-19-2006, 11:49 PM
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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
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#26 of 135 Old 04-20-2006, 01:56 AM
 
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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.
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#27 of 135 Old 04-20-2006, 10:36 AM
 
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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!
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#28 of 135 Old 04-20-2006, 10:56 AM
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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.
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#29 of 135 Old 04-20-2006, 11:37 AM
 
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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...
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#30 of 135 Old 04-20-2006, 11:52 AM
 
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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
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