insecure kid

How We Make Our Children Feel Insecure

The infamous playground boundary story goes a little something like this.

The school yard had built a nice fence to separate the playground from the sidewalk and road. During recess (when that actually existed), kids would play all over the place, many congregating near different areas of the fence.

New age thought won, and soon, they decided to take down the fence to give the children the sense of freedom. The thinking was that the kids would feel free instead of walled.

The result startled the school staff.

Instead of roaming wider and farther, as the space allowed, the students actually stayed closer to the school and were more crowded than before.

Why? Because they didn’t know how far they could go. There was no longer a line. Their boundaries were no longer clear, but vague. The bottom line is this…

Kids feel insecure when they are in control. They may seem super pumped up to make all their own decisions, but there are negative consequences and they are not pretty.

The good news is this… none of us really want our kids to be in control. We know that we – not them –know what’s best for them. Or at least, we try hard. We don’t want our kids to feel like King/Queen of the Castle with mommy or daddy slaving away in a hot dungeon kitchen all day.

How We Inadvertently Make Our Kids Feel Insecure

We don’t give clear boundaries

Your kids need boundaries so they know what’s expected of them. Only then do they feel secure in their environment. It’s why most kids, when in public, stick close to their parents. They only venture off when they are safe and assured it’s okay. They want to stay near mommy (or daddy) because they don’t yet know their boundaries.

Our kids may occasionally roam around like wild and crazy animals – tempting us to buy them a leash or cage – but that’s because children have a sense of security knowing we will tell them “too far is too far” or “enough is enough.”

We don’t regularly enforce boundaries then lose it All of a Sudden

Hear my confession, friends. At times, I am guilty of this. I let a few of our “rules” fall by the wayside because I’m busy keeping the baby out of the trash can or trying to go to the bathroom alone. A few days go by while I let small infractions go undisciplined and then suddenly things have gone too far.

I get frustrated, yell, and bring down the house rules in full force, much to the dismay of my kids. This lack of boundary keeping makes them feel insecure because they get the idea the rules aren’t consistent. They aren’t sure when or when they won’t experience consequences for their actions. In fact, they don’t know what papa will do at any given moment.

We don’t want them tiptoeing around us because they don’t know when we are going to lose our heads.

We let them do what they want all day

Now, I am a HUGE fan of Free Play. I want my kids to roam around, get bored, think of creative games, and let their imagination run wild. In fact, I make a point to let them play instead of entertaining them. However, that doesn’t mean the kids decide exactly when, where, and for how long they’ll do it each day.

There has been no study ever showing that routine has negative effects on kids. There have been tons of studies showing that routine provides security, stability, and predictability for kids. It can be hard for us adults who are like “for Pete’s sake, can’t we just do whatever we feel like?

But, when you see the calm and contented behavior your kids display (most of the time, okay, they are not angels) you’ll see the direct link between acting out and lack of routine.

We give them too many choices

If we’re giving our kids multiple choices all day long they are getting decision fatigue. I know it sounds funny and a bit ridiculous, but this is a thing. Even adults get decision fatigue, and it’s why those in high up positions wear the same clothes and eat the same breakfasts and lunch day in and day out. Because when we reach a certain point, our “decider” starts to malfunction.

As decision fatigue worsens, we don’t give a rip and make poor decisions. As the day goes on our “decider” starts to make us look dumber and dumber, and children are no different. We can give them choices to let them assert their own independence and personal flair, but too many will backfire on us.

What I know for sure is:

Kids will fight for control, but they don’t really want it.

Kids will push the envelope when you create a boundary, but they want you to keep it.

Kids are learning to take charge of small things, don’t put them in charge of big things.