What Kids Need: Family Boundaries

What Kids Need: Family Boundaries

This series on What Kids Need comes from the research and survey data of the Minneapolis-based, Search-Institute.  Search has surveyed nearly five million kids from 6th-12th grades to determine what kids need to grow up to be caring, competent, and productive adults.  Family boundaries refer to the relationship boundaries that exist within a family and its members.  What is important here is the difference between young people within the family and that difference related to the adults in their lives.  So often, older siblings try to push another sibling to be more like this or that, rather than allowing each young person to be themselves.  Kids learn how to establish boundaries in their lives through the boundaries that exist within the family.  If the boundaries in the family are too loose or ill-defined, they will have challenges as an adult when establishing boundaries with a future partner, spouse, friends, or co-workers.

Boundaries exist to separate private and personal exchanges between men and women, including sexual relations or marital problems.  When marital issues are present with children, it damages their self-esteem and causes a tremendous lack of self-confidence.  The problem exists when parents do not know when to establish boundaries.  For example, my parents argued about marital problems in front of us kids.  My older brother could see it coming and would quickly exist before it started.  However, my younger sister and I were caught in the middle of it the impending argument. Which often started by us asking a question that sparked the debate. When kids are around parents while arguing, they can misinterpret thinking they caused or triggered the argument.

When establishing family boundaries, keep private things private, and share enjoyable moments while encouraging each young person to be themselves.  When we allow kids to be different, they are more comfortable in their spirit and can move as they feel confident in the world.  I challenge our parents to sift through the workings of boundaries in the family, including conversations, disagreements, and private information.  When boundaries exist, we help develop healthy kids who can grow up before confronting some difficulties that are not part of their lives directly.  Examine the relationship between siblings and what is said by older siblings to younger ones.  Each child is unique and different and needs the opportunity to grow up healthy, caring, competent, and productive towards adulthood.

I have written on Family Boundaries a few times, read this post as well Setting Boundaries and Limits – 2 – Dr. Rich Patterson (pattersonphd.com)

Here is an article on How to Set Boundaries with Family How to Set Boundaries with Family: The Definitive Guide – MedCircle

 

Yours for Better Parenting,

Rich