Let’s face it – boundaries are hard work and annoying!
We seem to struggle with them all our lives. They put us in a constant sort of war with ourselves and others. It would be so nice if we can just skip boundaries.
Why do we need boundaries?
Boundaries help us create order in our lives. They keep us from harm. Make it possible to communicate and socialize in a healthy way, and help us fulfill our goals and dreams.
Why is it so hard?
Setting boundaries is difficult because it basically means saying ‘No’.
Saying No to ourselves is difficult. Saying No to our children is hard work and heart-breaking.
It’s so much more fun saying yes.
Setting boundaries force us to face our children’s sadness and anger. It works against our desire to make them happy.
In places where we have boundaries properly setup within ourselves, setting boundaries for our children will be easy. The problem will be with the places where we struggle with boundaries ourselves.
How does it work with kids?
It’s really easy to understand why boundaries are important for children from just being around some that haven’t got any. Boundary-less children are very hard to live with. When they’re really young we think they don’t understand and they are so very cute, so we somehow manage.
But as they start growing older, children with no or very little boundaries become impossible to be around.
While we, as their parents, might be willing to suffer for the sake of our love for them, the rest of the world will not.
As adults, in order to achieve any goals in life, we need boundaries. Children that weren’t properly taught boundaries will either have to work very hard creating boundaries for themselves, or will struggle.
Whether we like it or not, setting boundaries to our children is part of our responsibility towards our children.
They say Love and Boundaries go hand in hand.
So how do we do it?
Choosing a new boundary to bring in
First, try really hard to remember NOT to set boundaries when you’re in the middle of a fight with your child and nearly losing it. It’s really tempting, I know.
We tend to make the most harsh, ridiculous threats when we’re angry, which both us and our children know we will never follow through. That is not setting boundaries. It’s just a weak demonstration of us losing it.
You must choose a boundary that is really right in your eyes to fight for. To do that you will need to be calm and thinking from the adult part of your brain. So do take the time to think it through thoroughly. Make sure it is important, reasonable and fair.
Making it happen
1) Talk to your child before you begin setting the new boundary and explain what’s going to happen from now on.
2) In order to turn a new behavior into a habit you will have to be persistent. Be prepared – the first few days will be hard and you’re probably going to need a lot of energy to keep your new boundary in place. Hold on to your boundary tightly.
3) No matter how cooperative your child was when you talked about the change theoretically, once you set the boundary for real he will check how serious you are.
You must understand – from his point of view the rules have changed for the worst.
Be ready for this, as you will have to enforce your new boundary to a rebellious, angry, stubborn little fighter.
4) Remember to be emphatic. You have set your boundary. Your child did not get the toy he wanted, another sweet, left the swings and got in the car, etc. No need for lectures now (I told you..). Now is the time to understand the new boundary you have set is really difficult for him to adjust to, and give him a hug.
5) As your child adjusts to the new boundary, remember to encourage and praise him for it.
That’s it. The whole art in a nut shell. Only if it was that easy to put into practice..
I hope you found this useful for you. If you feel like sharing your experience or have any questions, please leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you.