I was recently contemplating why some children have respect for the property of others and why some don't. Some children seem to believe everything within their reach is fair game. They will take it, play with it, and leave it wherever they happen to be standing when they are done. You might live near such children and find everything outside needs to be under lock and key or you will never see it again!
These are not children who are trying to steal or even really knowingly being rude. They just don't realize that there are things they shouldn't touch.
I know children like this. They are children who are raised by wonderful parents who teach them strong morals and values. I have also known adults like this. It got me thinking.
As I thought about children old enough to make decisions of whether or not to touch things with the realistic expectation of them obeying, my thoughts led to the home. I realized that homes that were child-proofed rather than house-proofed were producing children who didn't have knowledge and control to not touch the property of others. I am not talking other kid's toys; I am talking things in your garage or even cars. Whatever they can reach is fair game.
And doesn't that just make sense? Doesn't it make sense that a child who is given no physical restrictions in the home will carry that over around the neighborhood? Doesn't it make sense that the child who is allowed to be overly physically active in the home with balls and other toys because there is nothing breakable around will translate that into the homes of others? Of course they will!
House-proofing your child helps your child to learn boundaries. It helps your child to learn respect for others and for the possessions of others. You can't touch whatever you want whenever you want in the real world. When Brayden was 9 months old and I was following the advice to leave some things to be "off-limits" to him, I had no thought about this benefit. As I told him over and over again to not touch a coveted item, I had no idea that it would lead to him having a respect for the property of other people. What a blessing to me, my neighbors, and himself!