Intro:  This month I am previewing a book I am working on Inspired Parenting.

Boundary: (noun) a line that marks a stopping point.

Creating stopping points for our children at first is easy, but the older they get, the more curious they get, the more difficult it can become. Here are two things I like to consider when setting boundaries for my child, as well as for myself:

Why am I setting this particular boundary? The purpose of boundary setting is to protect people from something, but not necessarily limit life’s pleasures. So the question then becomes, what am I trying to protect myself, and my child from?

For example if I limit the amount of time my child has with technology, and/or set up parent controls, perhaps I am protecting them from seeing too many negative images that could lead them to thinking those types of habits and thoughts are okay, when in actuality they would make my child a less productive, and ultimately, an unhappy person.

What will I put in place that will replace the positive feeling my child believes he, or she, will gain from something I do not which her, or him, to have?

For example: If I say to them, you may only have two hours of technology time, I must spend time with my child, that would otherwise have been devoted to technology, or find another activity for them to participate in.

 

Believe it or not, boundaries set by parents are often broken. When this happens, the first instinct is to get angry. Go back to the setting expectations rule of giving each other a time out to process the anger, broken boundary, and then come back together at an appointed time when both you, and the child, are calm. During this time, I like to use the following questions during the conversation:

1. Why did you feel the need to break the boundary?

2. Did your decisions and actions make you, and those around you, more or less functional?

3. Did your decisions and actions lift you, and others up, or did they drag you and others down? In other words, how did you, and others, feel after the decision to break the boundary was made?

4. What would you do differently next time?

5. What will you put in place for yourself to ensure you make a better decision, or have a better experience?