Learning to set boundaries for ourselves is a vital part of growing up. Boundaries look different for every person, which means we all have to learn how to set boundaries that uniquely fit our beliefs, feelings, and values.
Teaching boundaries to youth can be challenging as they are still figuring out a lot of things about themselves. Helping kids set boundaries helps them develop empathy, humility, and inspires confidence. As a parent, you have the exciting and daunting task of figuring out how to teach your kids about setting boundaries with friends, with technology, and even with other family members.
Boundaries help kids learn to trust themselves when it comes to what they will do with their choices, their bodies, and even their technology use. As parents, it’s important to arm your kids with all the tools they need in setting personal boundaries. That can be as simple as having your kids write down what they will or won’t do with their friends, giving them things like a Troomi phone to help aid in setting technology boundaries, or even talking about what to do if they don’t want to give someone a hug!
Still intimidated by all this boundary talk? Don’t you worry! We’ve got you covered with the top questions other parents just like you have asked about teaching boundaries to youth.
Why is it important to teach children boundaries?
Boundaries are an important way to help children identify what they are really comfortable with and what’s not OK with them. This can be a confusing concept for young kids, but it’s important to reinforce as they grow. Boundaries can be important to help kids identify that it’s OK for them to say no to things that don’t make them feel good and to respect when others say that something is too much for them.
What happens when kids don’t have boundaries?
Kids that don’t have boundaries set up can find it hard to vocalize to adults or peers when they are feeling uncomfortable. Helping your child set boundaries will build trust between both of you. If something is ever wrong or they’ve experienced a violation of one of their boundaries, you already have a foundation of open, honest, and supportive communication to help them solve the problem quicker.
How do you help others set boundaries?
Setting boundaries is really unique to every person, which can make helping others set boundaries a little tricky. One of the best ways to help others, especially your kids, set boundaries is to first encourage them and offer your loving support. If they’re having a hard time determining what might be a needed boundary in their life, start asking them questions. Asking questions and sincerely listening will open up a conversation to help them identify and set boundaries that will keep them safe and happy.
How do you set clear boundaries in friendships?
Friendships are extremely important in a child’s development. Figuring out how to teach your kids about setting boundaries with friends can be a sensitive topic, especially if you have concerns about one of their friends. Helping your kids set clear boundaries in their friendships can start by identifying what a good friend is and what they do. From there, you can help your kids identify what things they want in their friendships, and what things won’t be helpful.
What are some examples of boundaries kids should set?
A great example of boundaries kids should set is physical boundaries. For instance, if your child is meeting a new relative for the first time and doesn’t want to hug them, remind yourself to respect their boundaries! While a lot of adults will try to coerce or convince a child to give the relative a hug, you can reinforce healthy boundaries by saying, “That’s OK you don’t feel comfortable hugging Aunty Sue. You just met her!” This will help a child feel validated in their boundary and reinforce that if they are uncomfortable or unsure about hugging someone, they don’t have to. Acknowledging your child when they stand up for themselves is a positive way to help support your child in setting boundaries.
Teaching boundaries to youth is important in helping your kids grow and be confident in themselves. Even though it may be intimidating, take the time to talk with your kids about what healthy boundaries look like and how setting boundaries can help them be happy and safe.