It’s time for you child to end his screen time and they start to say “no! I don’t want to turn it off.” You say. ” It’s time to turn it off. If you don’t turn it off then you won’t get to go to your friend’s house.” Or possibly you are so tired of arguing you just “give in.”
It can be really hard setting boundaries and even harder sticking to them and getting them to actually work.
Have you ever thought to yourself, “how can I just get my child to listen to me!? Why is it so hard for him to follow simple rules. Why can’t they just listen to me the first time and the yelling and crying wouldn’t even happen.
We end up being the power over parent or we end up being the power under parent or “pushover”. So how do we set boundaries in our house to where they stick and our kids actually follow the boundaries without arguing?
How are you supposed to get your child to do what they need or what is expected if we aren’t supposed to punish, bribe, or threaten our children?
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The real purpose of setting boundaries
Boundaries are fueled by our core values, an example of a value in the house could be teamwork. So one person cooks and the other does the dishes, one person sets the table and the other clears the table, not only one person takes the trash out everyone rotates every week. Boundaries are our strategies to honor our values.
It gives our children a sense of parameter, structure, predictability, and consistency which they feel secure. They understand what is expected of them. But we need to be really careful, just like what we talked about last week, if you didn’t read the blog post or watch the LIVE in the Facebook group then I highly recommend watching it.
What to keep in mind when setting boundaries
The power over parenting paradigm expects kids to follow boundaries, limits, agreements, and rules perfectly way before they are capable of doing it, which is actually never because nobody is actually perfect at following boundaries, honoring limits, or keeping agreements, ever in their life.
But, we need to be very aware that we are dedicated to the process and engagement with the boundaries, limits and agreements not necessarily perfectly accomplishing the boundary limits.
So if you have a thought in your head that “my child never listens to the rule, they are defiant, or they are always crossing the boundaries”, this is where we need to be extremely curious here. Just like last week where we need to solve the unsolved problem that is keeping them stuck on meeting a certain expectation.
Rather than latching out, taking their stuff away, grounding them, and yelling at them for never listening or following rules, we need to look at what is going on here. Remember it’s not a lack of motivation but a lack of skill.
Digging deep to ensure boundaries are not being crossed
Are they age-appropriate? Are they appropriate based on the security of the attachment? Do they have a safe and secure attachment with the parent? If they don’t have that safe attachment with their parent they won’t trust the parent, they won’t trust the boundaries, they won’t trust the rules and they, won’t trust the limit because they are feeling terrified inside of their body.
I know that is a hard pill to swallow. If we are constantly yelling at them, judging their behavior, punishing them that can create an unsafe and insecure attachment for the child. I will talk more about that another day, but they need a sense of safety and certainty.
So before we focus on the child not meeting our expectations, following out boundaries and meeting our limits, we need to have connection.
To set clear boundaries we need to have clarity in our communication
A lot of our boundaries and why they might not be sticking has to do with our communication. Being able to communicate our boundaries in a way that everyone feels like they matter, they are seen they are heard they are involved in the process of establishing the boundaries, so it makes sense to them. Many of our boundaries are lacking understanding for our child, they don’t understand why.
Many of us were raised being told “because I said so, that’s why. Because I’m the parent and your the child.” There was no communication, a lack of understanding of why. The child is now thinking “oh, I’m supposed to just do it because your my parent, a stronger and bigger person who can hurt me if I don’t listen.”
A lot of our following limits, boundaries, and agreements came from fear, scarcity, shame, corrosion, and or manipulation. So of course we struggled with being able to have a power with, dynamic with our children that is rooted in security, safety, and clarity, and confidence.
So now you get to have that opportunity today to know more about your own family’s core values and establish boundaries around them together as a family.
How to establish clear boundaries so they have meaning
Having a family value gives our boundaries reason and clarity. So we want to be empowered with our child. So you can take a look at your own core value and think where you can be more flexible and where you need to be more firm. For example you may think a time that you need to be more firm is if there is potential of physical, emotional or psychological danger.
So, “no, you are not going to throw rocks from the front yard. Someone could get hurt or something could get broken. There is no negotiation with that.” The “no” is because I love you and my job is to keep you safe, and I am still your parent.
The more we can practice in being the safe place and security and not go into the corrosion or manipulation, over exaggeration or fear, the more our children will trust us. They will see our words, hear our words, view our body language and know they can rest in the boundary.
If you are still feeling very confused about boundaries, and you want to come to me and say your struggle with a certain boundary whether it’s screen time, or bedtime, or curfew for your child. This is the nitty-gritty part of parenting and it is really hard. Many of us don’t know what the right thing to do is, how to figure it out or how to make decisions. If you’re still needing more support, join me on a call, and let’s see how I can best support you.