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Boundaries as an Act of Compassion

Children feel more settled in an environment where they know what to expect and know their needs will be met.
Lisa Porter Kuh and Iris Chin Ponte, The Complementary Curriculum Approach

"It's not written in stone. It's not punitive. It's not emotional. A boundary is an expectation and a promise to follow through regardless of what that is," shared Jerica Casper and Jules Watson, on Kristen RB Peterson’s The Play Based Learning Podcast.

"That's honestly why we feel so passionate about boundaries being a way to alleviate anxiety in children because a lot of ‘behaviors' are stress responses from children. Most adults prefer knowing what to expect, and children are no different, so if a child is feeling stressed or anxious, and then you can tell them what to expect—even if it's not the most exciting thing in the world,…it's just ‘hey, in 5 minutes we're going to get in the car and go home’—that is so inherently comforting. Even if the child doesn't want to leave the park, even if it's, you know, not great news to them, knowing what to expect is so linked to trust. That's our view on why boundaries are more important for the connection and not just discipline."

Casper and Watson caution, "The trap to avoid falling into is the ‘five more minutes…5 more minutes…just this once…’ That is honestly very scary to children…it is really stressful in the brain. Even if the child is excited to have 5 more minutes, they're feeling that uncertainty, and they are no longer able to count on that adult. If they can predict the responses every time from an adult in their life, that codes that adult is safe to them…Setting boundaries is an act of compassion."

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