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Child Development: Teaching Children Boundaries

By Bob Lancer   |  Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

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Child development

When you bring child development into the process, you are teaching the child self-control

We usually think of teaching children boundaries as child discipline, but child development is an essential component of it.

The goal of teaching children boundaries is not merely stopping a problem behavior. If that is all you are after, you are not really teaching the child anything.  You are keeping yourself in the role of controlling your child.

 

When you bring child development into the process, you are teaching the child self-control.

 

Actually teaching responsible boundaries involves a child development process – developing the child’s the ability to recognize and remain within his/her own behavior-limits.

 

We actually fail teach children HOW to recognize and heed appropriate boundaries when we react with anger and stress. All we are doing then is to show them how to trigger us off.

 

Begin leading your child into the development of self-control by demonstrating healthy, responsible self-control yourself.

 

Reacting with anger and stress is not good for you. It wears you down, drains you of energy and joy.  At the same time, your angry reactions cause the child to be focused on how to keep YOU under control, not on keeping himself/herself under control.

 

When a human being, of any age, is emotionally worked up, his/her ability to demonstrate wise self-control is lost. There is simply too much energy surging through the nervous system to direct that energy into intelligent, loving behavior.

Positive child development includes developing the child’s ability to recognize the level of his/her emotional intensity, so the child can make the necessary adjustments to maintain positive control over his/her behavior.

 

Children are programmed to absorb and adopt the behavior and emotional patterns displayed around them. You begin teaching your child boundaries through child development by modeling healthy emotional self-control.

 

Parenting advice for child development

You begin teaching your child boundaries through child development by modeling healthy emotional self-control

Based on the child development principle of modeling, we also need to protect our children from over-exposure to other children how overstep boundaries. Children become like those they spend time with, whatever the age of the other person.

 

Another important principle of child development to keep in mind has to do with the habit-formation. Each time a child oversteps behavior boundaries, that way of behaving grows habitual. The sooner you step in to redirect the child, the easier it is to prevent the child from developing unruly behavior and the more you instill the pattern of appropriate behavior.

 

So another way that children learn boundaries through child development is by the parent’s practice of closely supervising the child to recognize when the child’s behavior is drifting off track, and then intervening as soon as possible to help the child get back on track.

 

From the age of around four-and-a-half the natural child development process takes your child into a new level of intellectual ability. At this stage the child can understand reasons clearly enough to apply them as a means of self-control.

 

From this point forward, by offering a clear, simple, accurate reason for the behavior you expect, you can expect more reasonable behavior from the child.  Development of the child’s power to behave reasonably requires that we exercise the child’s ability to connect reason with behavior.

Parental self-control is essential for this aspect of child development as well, because to the extent that we feel emotionally worked up, our ability to think and communicate reasonably is compromised.

 

In order for a child to comprehend and apply reason, the child must also be basically calm.

 

The more emotionally worked the parent, the more emotionally worked up the child will be around that parent, making it impossible for the child to control himself/herself in a reasonable way.

 

Teaching children boundaries through child development is the parent’s work on the emotional level.

 

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