For parents, setting foundations for their kid’s lives is a common challenging area. The importance it holds can have a long-term effect on shaping their kid’s personalities while helping them create new mindsets for their self-worth and self-awareness.
As an initial step, creating boundaries in the early stages of children’s lives is a way to target all developmental stages as they grow up. Parents can start teaching limits through the child’s play space. This can happen by explaining to them that they cannot, for example, play with their toys while running around everywhere in the house. A way to approach this boundary is by trying to designate a certain room or a specific area in the child’s bedroom where they can play in.
Applying this new tactic starts as parents begin to arrange their kid’s toys in a certain way, in a specific place in the house. After doing so, parents should communicate to the child that this place is theirs and that they are free to color, draw and play around as much as they would like to in this area. This method teaches children physical boundaries.
Simple, but crucial
It’s important for parents to avoid physical aggression with their children, especially when they are at a young age because it could make it more difficult for a child to form their boundaries in terms of physical touch when they grow up. It’s quite simple to grasp the idea that physical violence or aggression is not condoned and is better to avoid it, but it’s quite crucial in shaping children’s self-worth and respect.
Take for example a family member, teacher, stranger, or any other person that happens to try to lay a hand on your kids. How would you want them to react? It all depends on how you decide to teach them about boundaries. Avoiding physical aggression and communicating how it’s not okay to do so will create a mindset that whenever it does happen for anyone else, saying NO will be the kid’s reaction. They might even trust you enough to confide in you if it ever does happen.
Kids tend to mirror their parents from a very young age. This term can also be called observational learning where children observe how their parents act, respond, listen, and behave then imitate that in plenty of settings. That is why it’s crucial to teach children about boundaries through their own behavior. The small steps and actions that parents take regularly do have a strong impact on their children. When parents do certain behaviors on repeat, eventually their children will pick up on that behavior and it’ll be noticeable.
Mirroring as emotional boundaries
Parents can use mirroring for their children’s emotions as well. For example, if a parent sees that their child is crying and sad the moment they got back home from school, the first thing they can say to them is “I can see that you’re sad” or “I can sense that you’re not yourself, do you want to tell me why is that?”. Parents need to grasp the idea of the power they hold when it comes to mirroring. They serve as reflections for their kid’s feelings and in the long term, is a way to set healthy boundaries. This is stated because sometimes you can find that your child is not able to express or communicate verbally, so it’s important then for the parents to pay attention to their child so they can be able to understand how they are feeling. And when the child is not able to use words to describe or explain how they are feeling, the parent can be the one to do so or better yet, help them navigate through these emotions. When a parent reflects or mirrors their child’s emotions and brings them to the surface, the child then feels more reassured. This is mainly because they will feel that someone sees and understands them and most importantly, they will know that someone validates how they are feeling. This will teach the child that they have rights for their emotions and that they are validated no matter what. In addition to validating emotions, it is also the parents’ role to help their children regulate their emotions. For example, if a mother notices that her child has a problem and she becomes a mirror to his emotions by telling him that she sees that he is upset or that something is bothering him, she needs to help him regulate his feelings afterwards. Regulating the child’s feelings means helping them control the feelings, and adjusting them in a way that will be of benefit to them.
A Word from O7therapy
Teaching physical and emotional boundaries to your children from a young age can be very beneficial later on in their lives. It teaches them to create certain standards, boundaries, and self-worth about themselves. Avoiding physical aggression and using mirroring as a technique to teach children about boundaries are just two simple, but important examples.