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Civilizing Little Monsters, Part II

Updated on January 24, 2017

The Importance of Boundaries

As we all know there are definite reasons for setting boundaries for children, but what are they based on? They are based on the nature of the child and his needs in becoming a healthy happy and functional person who has survival capabilities. Although that was one sentence, there were many crucial ideas in that sentence.

1. Nature of the child.

2. His needs.

3. Becoming a functional person.

4. Having survival capabilities.

How do boundaries contribute to all these things?

Good question. But first what are the boundaries based on? Basically on morals, which are set forth very well in the Bible through the Ten Commandments. Many people today are resistant to the idea of setting boundaries. They prefer to think morals are " built in" through evolution... that they are just naturally there. They say this idea is based on the finding of neuroscientists.

I agree that love is the nature of the child. Babies are very loving creatures and thrive on love. Without it, they perish, as we all know by now from the cruel experiments invoving mother-deprived apes. However, if we do not set boundaries, the child cannot function or thrive in the world. Boundaries put a conscious limit to human behavior. Humans are born without instincts and have free will.They do not act instinctively to their own best interests, interestingly enough. They are like wild colts that run helter-skelter... and could run right off a cliff without paying attention......or if mother suddenly trotted off leaving the colt without guidance and direction at a crucial moment.

The child IS programmed by nature to follow the parents lead for the sake of its own survival. Take the example of the baby bear. It closely watches mama bear forage for edible nourishment in the forest. All young creatures including the human, since we are part of nature, are programmed by nature to absorb the behaviors of its parents or adults in charge. The powers of absorption are exceedingly powerful taking everything in, with great attention to minute detail.

As a rosebush needs to be pruned and the weeds pulled out from around it, in order for it to grow into a beautiful and blooming bush, boundaries help the child grow into a vital human being. Morals are the basis for boundaries and are not set for the sake of themselves alone but for the sake of something else as well.

Q. What is that something else?

A. To facilitate the child's ability to become a capable person who is motivated, interested, intelligent and hopeful about life.


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    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Kathryn, I truly concur with this hub. You have presented some excellent points. Sadly, many parents do what you have described above and yet they wonder why their children are hostile and have low self-esteem. Children are human beings and they need to be respected, loved, and treated with the utmost dignity. Parents must also be guiding and nurturing adults, not using mindgames and power upmanship regarding raising their children. Voted up for very useful!

    • Kathryn L Hill profile image

      Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

      Thanks, G. M. Williams.

      The boundaries and respect that adults must have when dealing with children ultimately serve to protect and preserve what Dr. Montessori referred to as the "Inner Life" of the child. Today as a Sub, I witnessed a librarian being very rude to my class which I brought into the library. "Be quiet! Don't you know how to be quiet yet? What is wrong with you? You are acting like you have never been here before! Why are you all asking so many questions? I have work to do!" Needless to say I was cringing and holding back an angry outburst. However, I saw that the children were so accustomed to her negative attitude that it hardly fazed them! So, I let it go. If t h e y had adjusted, so could I !

    • Kathryn L Hill profile image

      Kathryn L Hill 4 years ago from LA

      Setting boundaries is very subtle. The adult in charge must set boundaries and offer discipline with respect for the child. (As the librarian in the incident above did not.) The adult must realize that children are naturally co-operative. If they are not willing to comply with your requsts or expectations, search to comprehend why. Children tend not to go against their own needs. It is our job to understand what their needs are. The Secret of Childhood, The Absorbent Mind and The Montessori Method are books that helped me tremendously.

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