Teaching our children boundaries is so important to me, but it is not only the boundaries that they shouldn’t step beyond, it is also teaching them the boundaries that other people shouldn’t overstep with them.
Our children, I believe, need to the learn to use the word NO, and to say, “Please don’t do that because it makes me feel uncomfortable”, and, “I quite simply don’t like it”. People take liberties with children and so often go one step too far because invariably children don’t know how to say no in an authoritative enough way to make an adult understand that what you are doing is really making them feel uncomfortable.
As adults we so often forget that children have feelings and also have rights that should be considered just as important as adults rights. For example, if you are playing with your children and maybe you are tickling them, how often do we carry on when our child has said stop? Quite often I imagine. If we as adults were being tickled and we said stop, the chances are the person doing it would stop. So why are we not respecting our children when they say stop? We carry on regardless because we think it’s funny. It’s not funny if we are ultimately making our child feel very uncomfortable and quite possibly vulnerable and anxious.
If as parents we can’t respect our children saying no when they don’t like something then what if another member of the family or a friend starts doing something our children don’t like? They may not say no because this is what happens at home with mum and dad. It’s normalising behaviour that will be completely unacceptable if somebody else did it.
This is why we need to show and teach them boundaries, and also teach them what is acceptable and give them a strong voice to say no when they are not happy with somebody’s behaviour towards them.
I am not saying for one minute that we take the fun out of life and having a laugh because fun and laughter is very important, but boundaries must be applied when it comes to our children. We also need to teach our children that it is not acceptable for other people to tickle them or actually touch them if it makes them uncomfortable.
I have always been very uncomfortable with other people even touching my children. I wouldn’t even put my hand on another child’s shoulder, so why are others being so familiar with my children? It’s quite honestly inappropriate and completely unnecessary.
This will enable them as teenagers and young adults to know that there are boundaries that others must never overstep and they won’t shy away from saying no when they feel something is wrong or inappropriate, and will possibly put them in a position of vulnerability. Learning what boundaries other people should not cross will help our children never to feel pressured into doing something because they don’t know how to say no!
Teaching our children in their early years about the boundaries that others should never go beyond will allow our children to grow into strong adults without fear. It will also teach them not to do something just because they don’t want to offend or upset somebody. It’s not offending anybody, it’s telling somebody that they don’t want to do something because they don’t like it.
If your young children tell you to stop, do you instantly stop?
Do you feel uncomfortable with other adults even placing a hand on your child’s shoulder?
I would love to hear in the comments below.
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