Boundaries or borders concern our country, our home and also ourselves – both externally and internally. In the physical world, most borders are visible, while in the internal world they are equally real, though more difficult to see.
Boundaries protect us in every sphere of life.
Noticing our natural boundary is one of the most important skills in life, which allows us to live a dignified and happy life. Boundaries define and protect us, tell us what we are and what we are not. They build a sense of value and responsibility.
How to set them?
Boundaries are not innate, they are formed throughout our lives. We receive this gift primarily through upbringing. Setting limits is a process that starts at the earliest months of a child’s life. Every experience, every relationship in our lives can contribute to the widening or narrowing of our limits. Children need them in order to feel safe and develop properly. In this way, they get ready for their roles and tasks in society.
If we, as children, received clear rules and respect from our loved ones, then in adulthood we have a compass, which will navigate us through life. Thanks to it we know where to direct our children and what signposts to follow while making choices in life.
Boundaries and freedom?
Man needs freedom to live according to his potential. He also needs another person and community. However, it is only by establishing clear boundaries and respecting them that life in this community or society is harmonious. So when we share life with someone, we need both freedom and closeness. All this is made possible by setting the right boundaries that will be accepted and respected by all family.
We try to bring up our children to love, to be independent, to be able to tell the truth, to be responsible, to respect themselves and others, to be curious about the world, to enjoy life, to cope with the hardships of life, to be creative, to develop their talents, to be able to ask for help. This is nothing more than values that lie within our borders.
Boundaries and complying with them
While respect for external borders is obeyed by the majority of people, the way we deal with our internal borders or those of other people is different. Frequently it is necessary to become aware of them and focus on going in this direction.
It is up to us whether we teach children respect for others and ourselves, or teach them to respect the borders out of fear of other people’ authority. It is not only important what the rules are about, but also how we formulate them and pass them on to the child.
It is worth mentioning here that no word can be a substitute for the example we can give the child through our actions. In fact, if we are authentic with what we do and what we say, there is no better model for children and other people dear to us.
Sometimes we learn to respect the borders of ourselves and others as late as in our adult life.
There is nothing unusual or embarrassing about the fact that an adult is still in the process of learning his boundaries.
Not all parents equip their children with identification and consent to accept them.
Sometimes it is difficult for us to define our own boundaries, because in our childhood we had to give them up, renounce them – this was what our parents and caretakers demanded of us. Some of our boundaries may have been violated or ignored.
Today, the majority of parents reject such an authoritarian upbringing. The problem, however, is that we sometimes wonder what to replace these orders and bans with. In our attempts at ‘different’ upbringing, it happens that we feel lonely and helpless. This may cause that in difficult situations, we automatically and rather unconsciously reach for the old patterns taken from home.
Violation of a child’s integrity, in turn, makes the child see no reason why he or she should respect others and so reluctantly violates the boundaries set by parents and environment. And so it becomes a vicious circle.
On the other hand, parents who radically reject the authoritarian upbringinging system fall into a different trap: they allow the child to take command of the family, which has as fatal consequences as a forceful approach.
Children, whose borders are not violated, willingly give others the same what they get. If a child is treated with respect and grows up in a family where people take care of each other and try not to push the boundaries of others, speak clearly about what they feel and what they want, then they treat others in the same way.
One small reflection
It is worthwhile to look at our family here and think about the most frequent conflicts with children and our loved ones, and then think about whose borders are being violated. Because it is the violation of someone’s borders that often leads to quarrels. So how to behave in order not to push the borders and to find a satisfactory solution to the conflict?
If you are interested in answering the question and would like to learn how to discover our internal borders, please visit the next edition of the blog. It will be interesting and practical.