Bound by Boundaries Ruled by Rules

An Old and Unworkable Idea

The idea that kids need boundaries
is an old, tired and ancient ideology.
It is one that is not thought through very deeply.
People who think this way are mostly parroting what they have heard
and repeating what they have experienced.
They have not taken the time to truly investigate
all of the ramifications of this concept.

Kids need love, compassion and respect.
They need these things unconditionally and in abundance.
They need to have these things modeled and not enforced
They need to be inspired and integrated, not legislated

Rules Create Rebellion

A set of rules governing behaviour creates a controlling environment
and any intelligent person would just be waiting,
itching for a chance to break them.

If parents REFUSED to exert any power over their kids
and instead worked WITH them,
the world would be a better place.

If you think kids can’t handle respect
and instead need boundaries, rules and control,
well you have a very low opinion of kids
and of the human race in general.

Have Faith In Your Kids

My preference is to believe that our young people are capable of greatness.
I always did my best to treat my daughter as if she was a caring and loving being.
When I looked at her I did not see someone who wanted to take advantage of me.
I saw someone who wanted to live in peace and harmony with her family.

This meant I never felt the need to impose rules upon her.
I never forced her to act respectfully
because I believed respect was in her nature.

I See The Best In Young People, and They Respond In Kind

Whenever I interact with young people I always take this approach.
I treat them with respect and give them the opportunity
to offer me the same respect.

Often when it is a new young person I am dealing with
they have not been treated that way in the past.
Therefore it takes them some time to really believe
I am giving them respect and not manipulating them in some way.

Slowly they begin to see that I am not treating them
like most of the adults in their lives.

Being Treated with Respect and Acceptance Can Be a Shock

They often experience a sense of surprise and shock at first
because they are used to being talked down to.
They are used to adults using the power they have to control them in some way.

Once they start to really believe that I respect them as they are
their desire to reciprocate that respect is astonishing!

They will often inconvenience themselves greatly
in order to show respect and appreciation to me.

Patience is Power

This requires a lot of patience on my part
because in the initial stages of building this trust
kids will often push back against me
to see if my love and acceptance are real.

(I recently wrote about patience. You can see that blog post here)

As they see that I do not waver, their defenses begin to drop
and their hearts soften and open.

Even after having experienced this many many times over the years
I am still amazed at the seemingly miraculous transformation.

I say “seemingly miraculous” because
it is actually a natural process.
I believe all of us in our essence are loving beings
and that we have the potential to live in harmony with each other.

Kids Desire to Live In Harmony

Our young people have a very deep desire to live in this harmony.
In fact I believe they are aching for a loving and harmonious family life.
When they see that this is possible they spontaneously gravitate towards it.

Most adults will insist on children treating them with respect,
rather than inspiring respect in them through their own behaviour.

Real Respect Can Only Exist In An Atmosphere Of Freedom

Only when respect is a free choice is it authentic.
We cannot force love,
We cannot force friendship.

We can however force obedience
and the external show of respect for a time.
At some point though this falls apart
as we can see in how so many young people end up acting out.

Respect in the Workplace

If you go and work in an office you have to respect
your boss to a certain degree or you will get fired.

This is not a free environment.
There is a power structure in place
and you are subject to it as long as
you want to stay in that workplace.

If you break those conventions of expected behaviour there are consequences.

We teach kids how to use or abuse power
By how we use the power we have over them

In a traditional family setting there is a similar
power and control structure in place.

The difference is children do not have the option to leave.
As adults we have economic and physical power over them.
They are trapped.

The way we use this power teaches our kids a great deal about
how they should treat people when they have some kind of power over them.

We Model Bullying In The Home

Is it any wonder that bullying is so prevalent in our schools?
It is not because children are evil or cruel as so many people say.
It is because they are acting out what they have seen
modelled in their own environment.

Children do not need rules and boundaries in order to learn to behave well.
If their environment is one of love, communication
and respect from the beginning they will naturally integrate
these qualities and work to maintain
a harmonious environment for themselves and their family.

Bound by Boundaries, Ruled by Rules

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