THE iKiFit BLOG

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Teach our children the boundaries of social existence.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Clear guidelines help build confidence - and competence.

This week I’m excited to be reading the long running best seller “The 12 Rules for Life” by professor Jordan B Peterson.

He says he is surprised by the popularity of the book given that his main message is that we take responsibility for our actions – and teach our children to do the same.

We all benefit from structure in our lives and a key is to teach children boundaries: – remembering that those guidelines, or rules, are there to do two things – to give children (and everyone else) the security to explore, learn and have fun, while protecting them (and ourselves) from the chaos of anti-social behaviour.

It’s about protecting us ‘enough’ that we feel secure to explore and learn and so become competent – but NOT about trying to save us from all possible pain, as that destroys challenge, initiative, fun and resilience.

He says in Rule 5 that our job as parents and teachers is to set boundaries consistently and fairly. To punish when those boundaries are crossed and reward when the boundaries are adhered to. “Clear rules and reasonable discipline matter for the self- secure, psychologically mature and socially developed child”

Some argue that we should protect children from negative emotions as much and for as long as, we can, but Professor Peterson makes the point that negative emotions serve a purpose. “Pain is a signal of what not to do. Anxiety is a signal of things: – situations and people, to avoid. These feelings protect us by teaching us how to operate in this wonderful - but dangerous – world, in order to promote our survival. Preventing our children from experiencing negative emotions can result in more harm because we defer their learning”

“It’s far better to render the beings in our care competent, rather than to “protect” them.

Have a great week. 

Kim.