TEACHING BOUNDARIES TO YOUNG CHILDREN

TEACHING BOUNDARIES TO YOUNG CHILDREN

BY: STEPHONIA LLEWELLYN, LMHC

With the new school year fast approaching, I know lots of parents are hoping that their kids as well as the people around them have proper boundaries. And as a reminder, boundaries are rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them. For most parents, setting boundaries is second nature. We say keep your hands to yourself, don’t interrupt others etc. But as our kids grow, they need to learn to set boundaries for themselves and respect those of others. So the big question is how do we teach our children how to set boundaries? These are a few of my top ways:

  1. Teaching the importance of no and when someone says no, NO MEANS NO!
  2. Role play with your kids different scenarios and possible solutions (example: a friend does not want to share with you and vice versa)
  3. Talk about respect and what that looks like
  4.  Read books about boundaries with your children, such as “An Exceptional Children’s Guide to Touch: Teaching Social and Physical Boundaries to Kids by Hunter Manasco
  5. Make a list of Get-a-grown-up scenarios: These can be when they feel unsafe or uncomfortable or when someone hits/punches them
  6. Model the behavior. Children imitate what they see and often times, it’s from what they see their parents do

Helping kids get comfortable advocating for their boundaries early will help them do so in the future when the stakes can be much higher.

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