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How to Choose Positive or Negative Boundaries with Your Children

May 09, 2013 09:40AM ● By tina

Setting consistent boundaries for your child can help her develop into a happier, better-behaved child.

Sponsored by Brain Balance Achievement Center

Written by K. Kendall and C. Powell

How many times has your child thrown a fit at a store because you did not buy him or her what she wanted? Maybe your child does not react loudly and with obstinacy but instead shows total disinterest in friends, family and activities. These behaviors can be a symptom of a hemispheric imbalance. Each side of the brain has different traits, and when your child has a deficiency on one side of the brain, certain behaviors become apparent. Understanding where the imbalance occurs can help you better establish boundaries and improve behavior. Setting boundaries for your child can help lessen such unwanted reactions. Also, using consistent negative or positive reinforcement can help your child know when boundaries have been crossed. By creating consistent expectations for your child, you can help him or her develop into a happier, better-behaved child.


Why does my child act out?

Often bad behavior is a direct result of an imbalanced brain. When one side of the brain is stronger than the other, both good behavior and bad behavior will be out of sync. Poor behavior is often a sign of an inability to appropriately respond to a certain setting or to people’s reactions. This can manifest itself as temper tantrums, public meltdowns, blatant disobedience, withdrawal from friends and activities, shyness, laziness or compulsive behavior.

Certain emotions are associated with the different sides of the brain. Happiness, anger and surprise are left brain emotions, while right brain emotions are negative motions that give your child good reason, like different fear responses that keep your child safe. Therefore, if your child is moody or even depressed, this can be a result of a left-brain deficiency. Is your child wild and disruptive? This could be due to a right-brain deficiency. The deficiency of one hemisphere intensifies the traits of the opposite side.

An imbalance results in your child’s inability to know how to act appropriately. Imagine how it feels when you are in a crowded, small place. You feel completely overwhelmed, antsy and just want to get out of there as fast as you can! A child with a hemisphere imbalance often feels like this in certain situations, and it’s probably why he or she might act out with poor behavior. Learning to verbalize his or her needs instead of throwing a tantrum or becoming sad can help the child overcome these poor behaviors. A better balanced brain results in your child’s ability to understand his or her own emotions and intellect and how to respond to different, overwhelming situations.

How do I create boundaries?

Consistency is key in creating boundaries for your child. Being inconsistent lets your child know that these boundaries are not serious and that by continually pushing your buttons, they can get the result they want with persistence.

Creating a structured environment and routine decreases stress and benefits brain development. Creating house rules is a beneficial way to set boundaries at home. Involve your kids in the development of a home routine. Having them discuss what areas they need to improve at home or where they want to help allows your child to take ownership of a facet of his or her life. This creates responsibility, allowing your child to become a stronger individual. In addition to showing respect for you and the rest of the family, taking an active role in the household creates self-worth and improves self-esteem.

Communication is another important part of setting boundaries. Set clear and concise expectations for your child by observing his or her behavior. Better conduct is a direct result of greater self-autonomy. Once your child knows what you expect out of him or her, they can begin to self-monitor their own behavior. Verbally expressing when they feel overwhelmed by a situation or the impulses is the overall goal of setting boundaries. Instead of acting out due to their natural impulses, you want to teach your child that it is okay to let you know when they feel a situation is too much to handle. Once your child can verbalize his or her needs, he or she will be able to better understand verbal cues, facial cues and finally, body language. Every parent’s natural tendency is to solve every issue that a child must face; however, the child will never be able to correct his or her impulses unless you let him or her be a more independent child who is responsible for his or her own behavior. 

How do I enforce boundaries?

Deciding between positive or negative reinforcement is difficult. However, children respond to each differently, and often this is a result of their hemispheric deficiency. A left-brain deficient child will need positive reinforcement, while a right-brain deficient child will respond better to negative reinforcement.

A left-brain deficient child is one who exhibits gloomy or moody behavior. Positive reinforcement means happy emotions, i.e. the release of dopamine in the left side of the brain. A child with a left-side deficiency will be motivated to accomplish their goals by reward. When they are crossing a boundary, phrase the reinforcement as “if you do x, then you will receive y.” Hope in a left-brain deficient child is a great motivator.

A right-brain deficient child is hyperactive or prone to argue or oppose what you say. Negative reinforcement is required when correcting crossed boundaries. They need to hear, “If you do not do x, then you will not get y.” Immediate reinforcement is important because if the punishment is too far away, they will lose interest. Do not take away something they have already earned, as this will just have the opposite effect. 

Brain Balance

Brain Balance Achievement Centers offer the Brain Balance Program ® in 54 nationwide locations. The Brain Balance Program® is an individualized and comprehensive approach to helping children with neurobehavioral and learning difficulties surmount their unique challenges.

This proprietary, non-medical program has been successful in helping thousands of kids reach their physical, social/behavioral health and academic potential. We work with children who suffer with ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Tourette’s, Asperger’s and Autism Spectrum Disorders.