Boundaries

Boundaries: unofficial rules about what should not be done : limits that define acceptable behavior

What comes to mind with this word or definition? Personally, the word boundary, made me think of the the border that separates two countries. An imaginary line on a map that defines where one nationality ends and another begins. Never before did I think this word could also apply to people!

Yet boundaries, are essential for all of us to have if we are to be emotionally stable. What makes them so necessary? Well, imagine living in a house in a neighborhood that has a high crime rate, and none of your windows or doors have locks! Thieves catch on to this fact and brake in to steal. If it was easy to get in the first time around, chances are they’ll be back, right?

Why do we let others “brake in”, so to speak and wreak havoc and steal, into our lives? Maybe we weren’t taught how to establish boundaries to protect ourselves. This begins at a young age. It starts with respect. Respect for the belongings of others and our own. It includes their feelings, beliefs and body. Many times children aren’t respected by adults, but they are expected give respect in return. How ironic and backwards is this?

How frustrating it must be for them to see adults demanding, what they can’t give in return! No doubt it’s a multi generational, multi cultural way of dealing with children. I myself felt this frustration. When did I cross over to join the senseless adults? We live at a time when information and education is so abundant and accessible, that we have no excuse to be ignorant of the consequences! We also live at a time when respect is little more than a word, everyone wants it but no one wants to give it! So how do we make it up to our kids? How do we teach them?

It begins with learning boundaries yourself. You can’t teach anyone what you yourself don’t know! A boundary is not a wall meant to keep everyone away. It involves you approving of who will come into your personal space, and who won’t. Will they respect your rules? How about your beliefs? Will they be considerate of how they treat your belongings? What about how they treat your family? If there is someone close to you who doesn’t show any such respect, it’s time to start working on that protective boundary.

With our kids, it begins with teaching them the word no. The worst thing we can do is not allow them to tell us no. I’m not talking about when it comes to doing chores or homework (that’s a whole other article!). It’s about when they are scared and nervous, yet we push them. What’s our rush, can’t we wait ’til they feel reassured? Or when we push them to do what they don’t want. Maybe they’re more artistic than athletic, yet we force them into sports. What about with food, do we try to force them to eat? When another adult tells you no, don’t you respect it? Don’t we owe that to our kids? What we want to avoid is raising children who can’t say no to adults for fear of displeasing. Think of how easy we would make it for the wrong people to approach our children if we fail in this area.

You can compare the world we live in to that high crime neighborhood. We can’t move out of our house, but we can make it secure. It not only requires locks but an alarm system too. Is what you have inside your house not worth all the effort? Family is not replaceable, and once damaged takes years to recover.

I write this with the hope that it will move you to educate yourself more about this subject and its importance. Knowledge is powerful when it helps us to improve ourselves and the lives of others.

Love you guys ; )

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