Every parent struggles with setting boundaries with their child. It’s often unclear where to draw the line and set your boundary. You don’t want to break your child’s spirit, but some things just have to be done whether your child likes it or not.
You wonder if you are being too inflexible and controlling or are you spoiling your child by letting her walk all over you? Plus there are the seemingly inevitable power struggles where you and your child each attempt to gain the upper hand, making parenting a battle of wills. You want to be close and connected to your child, not being a full-time disciplinarian.
This kind of conflict and effort is not why most people decide to become parents. They don’t do it for the struggle and frustration. You became a parent to have the joy of loving your child and sharing fun moments with him. When you became a parent, you looked forward to days of enjoyment and play together.
During this last weekend, I read a Tweet from a mom that read, “deciding if I am a fantastically creative or fantastically stupid mom to let kids play with huge box of Christmas wrappings.” This is a question every parent struggles with in one form or another.
I’m sure if you think about it, you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, trying once again to decide where to set your boundary with your little one, or big one as the case may be. Your child discovers something new and interesting and wants to explore it now. You’re not so sure it’s a good idea. He could make a mess. She might get hurt. You know it looks like fun, and you don’t have time for this now.
Here are some guidelines to help you.
* The only person who can make this choice is you. There is no right or wrong answer. Your child needs for you to say “yes” to her in as many ways as you can. And she needs for you to be clear with yourself and with her when you need to set a boundary. Your child needs the freedom to be himself and boundaries to feel grounded, connected and safe. You have to listen to yourself for the answer. A book or even a close friend cannot answer it for you.
* Take a chance. This mom wonders if she’s fantastically creative or fantastically stupid. One way to discover the answer to this question is to give it try. Explore ways of saying “yes” that works for your child and for you. Try something new and see how your child responds. See how it feels to you. When you explore new possibilities, you gain more clarity for the future. If you don’t go exploring and take a reasonable risk, you’ll never know what the outcome might be.
* Explore those times when you feel the need to control your child’s behavior. What’s really happening? Are you on Auto-Pilot or are you objectively considering the situation?
* Take good care of yourself. When you expend much of your energy to manage your child’s or your students’ behavior, you have little left for yourself. Nurturing your own emotional wholeness makes you a parent / teacher your child wants to have. When you nurture yourself, you can more honestly nurture your child
Copyright 2009, Connie Allen
By geralt from Pixabay