One of the things we must teach our children about is relationships. It’s our job to help them learn to navigate the process of interacting with others. This includes dealing with difficult people. Teaching your children to set solid boundaries for themselves is one of the best skills you can offer when learning to manage healthy relationships. Take a look below for some suggestions.
Know Your Boundaries
Before teaching your children about good boundary setting, you must first understand your own. Being sure about the kinds of limitations you place on those around you gives you a good sense of teaching this skill. You’ll have solid examples to pull from your own experience, and you’ll be modeling appropriate behavior for them in your day to day life.
Talk to Them About Comfort Levels
When you’re secure in your boundaries, you can begin to share with them a basic definition of the term and what it means. Move on to talk about what feels comfortable to them. Let your kids know that they don’t have to do things or engage with people in ways that make them feel discomfort. For example, it’s okay to ask about certain rules respectfully or decline a relative’s hug. Encourage them to begin to notice signs of discomfort so that they can then enforce their boundary.
Involve Kids in Setting Boundaries
Help your kids to develop a list of their boundaries. Explain to them that this list is likely to change and grow over time. That’s because people’s preferences and comfort levels evolve. When children are involved in developing their own set of boundaries, they will feel more empowered to practice them.
Finally, it’s a good idea to practice their newly-established boundaries. You can do this by talking about them and discussing possible scenarios in-depth. You might even wish to physically role-play various circumstances in which boundaries may need to be established. This practice will help your kids better recognize the limits they set and use them in real life.
Helping your kids to establish boundaries is an important life skill. Set aside some time to talk about this process and practice it to be ready to implement it into real-world scenarios.