This week we are talking about the importance of creating resiliency in our children. One of the most important ways we can do this is by teaching out children about boundaries. Children need structure and routine. These things provide kids with a sense of safety, security, and stability. Providing your children with a supportive, nurturing and safe environment helps them thrive, but it also provides them with a solid foundation that can be drawn upon when dealing with life stressors.
There is a great metaphor that can help parents understand how boundaries help children develop resiliency. Think of boundaries like the edges of a puzzle. The first thing most people do in building a puzzle is to find the border pieces to form the frame of the puzzle. Boundaries are like the frame, giving structure and help children build strength and a firm understanding of who they are and who they want to be within this structure. Parents providing structure give children an understanding of what is ok and what is not ok, within certain boundaries. Teaching our kids between right and wrong, as well as what they can and cannot do, provides them with experiences and knowledge that they can draw upon when faced with difficult choices and significant life's challenges.
Another way to teach children the importance of boundaries is through modeling or being an example to them. Building upon the puzzle metaphor above, when an individual is able to see an example of the complete picture on the box of the puzzle, they can know how to be successful in meeting expectations. Modeling helps a child know what they need to do, how to do it, and can help them see the benefits of living within protective boundaries. Hopefully, the outcome for children will be in their ability to recognize that experiencing hard things is part of life, that they are capable to handle their problems, and can bounce back because of the safety precautions established with boundaries.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post when Natalie talks about building emotional resilience.
Written by Emily Freeze, MPH, MA, LMFT
Emily Freeze, MPH, MA, LMFT is a marriage and family therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Emily enjoys doing individual counseling, couples counseling and family counseling. Emily specializes in women's issues, specifically maternal mental health and reproductive mental health.
Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.