Respectful parenting and boundaries. How do I set it up at home?

When we talk about respectful parenting , we very commonly face endless criticisms that stem from ignorance. It is common to hear from people who believe that respectful parenting means not setting limits, letting children do what they want and when they want to feel respected.

This concept could not be further from reality. Respectful parenting is about letting the child be just that, a child in all his splendor, but always establishing guidelines that help him recognize his own limits and why he cannot transgress them.

More specifically, respectful parenting is about treating the child as an equal, and not as someone who is below me , to be empathetic with their feelings, be they of joy or anger, sadness or frustration; to respect their processes and rhythms of development since each child is different, and finally to establish clear limits that help them to form from democracy, values and attachment, without the need to violate their integrity.

So, it is not letting the child do what he wants, it is respecting him for what he is , a child, so that he learns how to respect others. It is to offer him options by promoting his possibility of choice and decision making within the established limits, it is to remember that behind a tantrum or tantrum there may be an unmet need or an emotion that does not result that he does not know how to express, it is to understand that he is still a child, that he is small, and that his rhythms are not the same as those of an adult . Knowing all this then, how do I set limits within respectful parenting? Here are some guidelines that may help you.

Tips and guidance

To begin, remember that there is no manual on how to be a good father or a good mother, the only manual that exists, is your own children. Being parents entails the responsibility of taking care of that little person who came into our lives , of accompanying him in his growth process, and the commitment to teach him that in every society there are social norms and guidelines that we must follow, in order to interact properly and respectfully.

As humans we are relational beings by nature, so teaching them these guidelines is what will help you integrate into society. A well-established limit is not the one that slows you down and modifies your behavior, it is not the one that makes you adapt to the needs of others, leaving aside your own, it is not the one that restricts your activity. A well-established limit is one that helps you develop adequately on a social and emotional level, it is one that helps you understand behavior patterns, provides guidance, support, and support. It is then our job as parents to know how to establish these limits.

These limits change as our children grow older , because they also mature, and their needs and level of understanding change. The important thing is that children feel accompanied throughout their growth process, so that later, when it is time to leave the family nest, they feel safe and confident enough to do so.

The easiest and most effective way to set limits, then, is by explaining the “why” of everything that happens. We frequently hear how parents and significant adults constantly repeat to their children “you must behave well”, “that is not done”, “you cannot hit or insult”; but they almost never provide clear and precise explanations of what it is to “behave well” and why they cannot carry out certain actions.

It would be much easier if instead of telling a child “you must behave well” we said: “Honey, mom is a bit busy and needs your help, if you are running, jumping and screaming everywhere, an accident or mom could happen to you Maybe it can be altered, why don’t we better find a quiet game so that you are safer, and in a while mom will be with you? In this way, we are explaining to the child exactly what we expect from him and how we can help them, we are explaining the reasons why his behavior is not appropriate, and he will most likely understand it more easily.

In the same way it works when we want them to stop inappropriate behavior, why not try instead of telling them what they can NOT do, tell them what they can do? For example; Instead of saying “María, don’t run inside the house” it is better to say “María, inside the house it is difficult to run since there are many objects and you can hurt yourself or break something, we go to the park or the patio where you can run freely and without any danger ”

crianza respetuosa

It is also of utmost importance, when setting limits, to adapt to the child’s developmental moment and their understanding. Obviously, the understanding of a 3-year-old child will be very different from that of a 9-year-old child, that is why it is necessary to use a language in which the words are adapted to what my child can understand, never underestimating it , more good, respecting their age and evolutionary moment. As mentioned above, the limits will change as the child grows older, because he matures and begins to understand many more things that perhaps he did not quite understand when he was younger.

If, from an early age, we respect their essence as a child, and we teach them that there are rules of coexistence that must also be respected, that there are things that should not be done since they can raise a risk situation for themselves or for other people , we will be raising children who will later become adults capable of caring for both their physical and emotional integrity , as well as that of other people around them, having internalized these basic rules of coexistence, integrating without problems in their society and culture, always bringing peace and respect as a premise wherever their destiny takes them.

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