Monday, 14 November 2011

Do you set boundaries for your child?

Children need boundaries in their day to day life. What are these boundaries? In simple terms, boundaries are limits that make children aware of what is acceptable and what is not. Not only do boundaries help children, they also help the adults in their life- the child understands that there are limits that cannot be crossed and the adult gets clear on what to expect. This eliminates a lot of stress for both.

Often, children behave badly because they do not know what is expected of them. This is made worse when the adults in their life are unsure of what good behaviour is and are poor role models. For instance, take a child who shouts frequently and disturbs an entire class of children. A simple issue like this can be addressed by setting a boundary- a rule that does not permit children to speak loudly or disturb others. It is up to the adult to set this boundary and enforce the rule subtly. If it is enforced aggressively, children are likely to resist it. It must be enforced in a manner that is firm yet kind.

What if the adult in charge also speaks loudly in class? In that case, setting a boundary would be a lot more challenging. It certainly helps when we model the behaviour we want children to learn. Therefore, if you want the child to speak softly in class, speak softly yourself. If you want the child to speak respectfully, speak respectfully to the child and everyone around. If you want the child to learn to say “Sorry” and “Thank you”, say it yourself whenever the occasion arises.

Children are keen observers of the world around them. So, do you think they observe the people they most interact with- their parents and teachers? Absolutely! So, get set to be a learner yourself and have fun with your child! Be the best role model your child could ever hope to have….

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