What are boundaries and why are they important?
Updated: Sep 26
Driving on the winding roads of California on vacation, I was terrified looking over the edge and seeing nothing but the way down. I prefer having a guardrail, so that if I were to make a mistake, or lose control, something would be there to stop me from something really bad happening.
Our kids are the same way. They want and need some freedom and independence, and they also need boundaries in order to feel safe within that freedom. For some parents this topic is filled with anxiety.
On one hand there are parents who struggle setting boundaries at all. They feel mean and worry about damaging their relationship with their child. They may really value independence and want their child to advocate for their wants and needs, or they may hate hearing how upset their child gets when a boundary is set, so they would rather not set one at all.
Other parents may have no problem setting boundaries, in fact they have a lot of them. But they wonder why they have to keep upping the consequences threatened in order for their child to follow through. Or their child complies, but as they get older it's clear they have not developed clear judgment and now are being told what to do by their peers.
So is there a middle group? YES! Purposeful boundaries set and held with empathy and connection. The most important aspect is your relationship with your child. Our children are hard wired to crave connection with us, and the more connected they feel the more likely they are to choose that connection over all the other things they really want to do (hit their sibling, throw a truck across the room, stay out past curfew).
And sometimes they really won't like a boundary, they will have BIG feelings about how much they don't like it. This can be really hard to witness (and is often where parents either give in or get angry). But when our kids are given the chance to experience their emotions, name their feelings, and see that you are calm and confident in your decisions, they learn that they can trust you, and that you are on their team and will listen to what they have to say.
I'll be sharing more information about how to choose your boundaries, set them effectively, and follow through when necessary in future weeks. You can join the BPODS Connected Parenting: Support for Parents Who Wish to Lead With Love Facebook group where I'll also be sharing #tuesdaytips on how to implement what is talked about here.
If you need a little more support figuring out boundaries in your home, set up a 30 or 60 minute problem solving support call, and I can help you make a plan specifically for your family.
Here is support of you,