Setting Boundaries and Limits – 2
In the previous post, I wrote about helping kids learn how to set boundaries and limits using “I” statements. Boundaries and Limits help kids to trust themselves and build self-esteem. The key to effectively being assertive is to avoid using a sentence that includes “you” in it. Statements like, “You shouldn’t feel like that.” or “You made it a bigger deal than it is” put the receiver on the defensive. When we begin with an “I” statement, then we respond with, “I believe I have the right to feel this way.” or “I see how it would look like that.”
To take this a step further, teaching kids to learn boundary setting and limits can help them protect themselves in an intimate relationship or feel safe and respected. My take is this; often, we can teach kids to anticipate the need to set boundaries with someone based on the situation they are likely to be in at some time. Maybe they are going on their first date, and you want to help them to be able to set some physical limits right at the start. By allowing them to construct some questions and statements that they can use, you help them feel confident in new situations. Sit with your kids and practice various conditions. Maybe they are going to the movie with a friend. By assisting them to know how to be direct with someone regarding their expectations would be beneficial. The conversation might look like this, “I would enjoy being with you and watching the movie. I expect that we hold hands but that we don’t touch each other; that way, we both will feel comfortable and enjoy being together.” You can construct your behavior limits and help them to word them in their way.
When we help kids learn to step up to others in a polite but assertive way, we greatly enhance their self-esteem and help them to trust themselves in more significant ways. This trust manifests itself in other ways in their life as they learn to deal with others’ behavior and their expectations about how to be treated. When we step up to others and let them know that their behavior is not acceptable, we help kids feel confident and self-assured that they can handle the many relationships they will encounter as an adult.
You may want to read the first post in this series here Setting Boundaries and Limits – Dr. Rich Patterson (pattersonphd.com)
Read this post if you are struggling with what your role is as a parent regarding the setting of boundaries How to Set Healthy Boundaries with Your Child | Empowering Parents
Yours for Better Parenting,