Why do kids push boundaries?

May 15, 2018

Why do kids push boundaries?

Isn’t it frustrating when our children insist on pushing the boundaries we set? Why can’t they just get on and do as we say? Why do they have to push and challenge us on what we try to enforce for their own good?

Here’s the thing… Kids need boundaries to keep them safe and to help them to feel secure. They just don’t always consciously know that! Their brains are still under construction and so the part to do with controlling the impulse to disagree and the bits to do with rational thought aren’t in place just yet. See my blog ‘Warning – Brain Under Construction’ http://bethparmar.co.uk/brain-under-construction/ for more explanation. Therefore, they look to us to let them know what’s right and wrong. They look to us to keep them safe and secure. It’s one of the most basic needs they have and we need to give them that security while they’re not mature enough to feel secure in themselves.

Let me share an analogy of children pushing boundaries which will give you a new perspective on how you feel about it. Imagine you are at a theme park about to ride a massive roller coaster. You’re sitting in the seat and the attendant comes over and pushes down the safety harness and clicks it into place so you can’t move. What’s the first thing you do once they’ve walked away? Push against the harness, right? Just checking it doesn’t move and stays in place. Why would you need to do this? The attendant who is fully trained to operate the ride has already checked it as they pulled it down. And yet you can’t help just giving it a push……just in case. You’re checking for one thing and once thing only. And you’re hoping for one thing and one thing only. That the harness holds firm and doesn’t move. This is EXACTLY what your children are doing to you every time they push your boundaries. They want you to hold firm. They want you to make them feel safe and secure. If you budge on boundaries your children will start to feel that you’re not keeping them safe because you’re not being consistent.

The best thing you can do is to put thought into the boundaries you set and make sure that they are age appropriate and suit your family’s lifestyle and values. If this is the case then hold firm. Show your children that you are in charge of keeping them safe and they will respect you and although they may complain at the time they will thank you for it later!

If you would like more tips and strategies to make your job as a parent easier and less stressful take a look at my Parent Powers programme http://bethparmar.co.uk/programmes/parent-powers/




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This post was written by Beth Parmar