Our children need to be able to measure their increasing effectiveness and potential as they grow. In doing so, children need freedom. This freedom is not unlimited freedom. Borders and rules have an important place in our children’s learning and discovery process.
The most important issue that challenges parents when raising children socially is to set “appropriate and safe limits” for children. Being an island community, living closely with our extended family, raising our children in families with more than two parents (grandparents, aunts, aunts, uncles) and having difficulties in following the rules socially increase these difficulties of parents.
Why is it necessary to set limits and have rules?
In order to ensure a peaceful and balanced coexistence, it is necessary to set limits and establish some rules by parents. In families without rules and borders, confusion is inevitable. Finding limits and rules will protect the child against dangers and help determine the path-direction as it grows and develops. Also, finding clear boundaries and rules will help children develop acceptable behaviors both in the family and in the friends and school environment. When our children open up to the world, they will face fewer conflicts, rejection and negative reactions. Children who do not learn to follow the limits and rules will also be more mentally restless because they cannot develop healthy coping methods and their risk of developing psychiatric diseases will increase.
Every child needs age-wide and restrictive limits that allow them to have healthy trials, but create confidence and a sense of responsibility. During the process of setting borders and establishing rules, parents have questions that they must answer continuously: How much freedom, power and control are necessary? How much is too much? How much is too little? How much of it is in its full decision?
Limits that are too restrictive mean excessive control, limits that are too large mean uncontrolled, limits that are inconsistent are mixed control. These are unhealthy and unsafe methods of setting borders. Such boundaries will prevent children from making a healthy discovery, as well as limiting learning opportunities and causing them to over-test, push boundaries, and often rebel.
Setting boundaries is a dynamic process. As children grow up, they need boundaries that are wide enough to allow healthy discoveries, limited enough to ensure their safety and responsibility, but flexible enough to allow development and change.
What should be considered when creating limits and rules?
- Limits and rules suitable for age and development period
- Being clear and stable during application
- Consistency when setting limits and rules (applying the same limit and rule every time)
- While creating boundaries and rules, disagreements between parents are not experienced in front of children and resolved between parents.
- Parents are aware of each other and in good communication
- Parents’ words and behaviors are consistent with each other
- Taking necessary precautions to prevent large family members from sabotaging the limits and rules set.
What should be done to comply with the limits and rules?
Not all children are alike. While it may be enough to remind some of them only, it may be necessary to warn others that sanctions will be applied when they do not comply. However, this should not remain at the level of threat. Our approach and attitude will determine whether the child follows the rules and takes them seriously. While it is often sufficient to say “HAYLR” with a serious and determined tone of voice, it should be reported that the wrong behavior is a sanction in the children who are forced, and the sanctions appropriate to the age and developmental period (punishments should be applied with determination. The sanctions applied should definitely not be physical and emotional.
It should not be forgotten that discussions with children and verbal warnings such as “doing and not doing” will often not work. Placing limits and rules will only occur if it is consistent and decisive. Limiting your child will make the lives of both you and your children easier and make them more durable and equipped against life.
Author: Uzm. Dr. Ayse Zeki