The ability to create healthy boundaries is a wonderful tool to have at any time of our life. It helps us keep our emotions flowing, while not taking on or internalising everything that is said to, or done to us. For kids it’s a really useful life skill. Here’s why creating healthy boundaries is essential for kids:
Who needs boundaries?
Some children are naturally more sensitive than others and so need healthy boundaries in place around them. What runs off the back of one child may deeply impact another.
This is our own uniqueness, our very essence and, while we cannot change somebody else, we can certainly provide him or her with tools to cope.
Children will be children and learning to take a knock and bounce back is one of life’s lessons. For some however the knocks can cause life to be unbearable at times.
Explaining the concept of healthy boundaries in children’s language.
When I am trying to explain “energetic” tools like creating healthy boundaries to my children I use examples from films they know so it is not just “Mommy talking again”!
A lot of children’s movies have deeper insights than what appears on the surface. For example, in the children’s movie “The Incredibles”, Violet is able to create a healthy boundary in the form of a protective force field around her family in order to save them.
Violet has this power within her but at the start of the movie she doesn’t believe in herself enough to use it. Sound familiar? It is only when her mother pushes her and tells her she can do it that she eventually believes enough in herself.
How to Help Your Child Create Healthy Boundaries
The force field that Violet creates is a symbol of protection, a healthy boundary to keep out what need not come in and harm her.
Sometimes children need such protection from the harsh words of others. It is a boundary beyond which negative projections are not taken on board.
We can teach our children to imagine putting themselves inside their own protective bubble if they are suffering from boundary issues. Their bubble of course lets everything good in; it’s only the negative destructives forces it keeps out, just like Violet.
If your child is being called names you could tell him or her to put up their bubble and allow the words to sit on the outside: so while the words can still be heard they are not allowed past the protective bubble of the healthy boundary and penetrate into a child’s psyche.
In doing this we teach our children to not become what others tell them they are, and most importantly, the negative stuff. After all what someone calls us is only their opinion anyway!
Can healthy boundaries help with emotions like anger?
When we have healthy boundaries in place we can deal with emotions like anger in more productive ways. A lot of people that have anger issues have poor boundaries or no boundaries at all and may feel like a perpetual victim.
When we put up boundaries we are telling others and ourselves what we will and what we will not accept. We are better able to activate our voice and say, “Don’t do that, it is not acceptable”. We are also able to react in a more positive manner towards others.
We may even find we can laugh at certain names people call us. Yes it is true! Because we have our boundaries and they are healthy.
So when we teach our children about healthy boundaries, we can have confidence that we are doing ourselves and our children a great service in having them healthy and shining at all times, keeping our personal space filled with only the good stuff.
Over to you now. What’s your experience of creating healthy boundaries for yourself and for you child? Any tips? Share them with us in the comments below.