This week's column in Jackson Hole News&Guide is about maintaining clear boundaries with our children and teens. How do you feel when you've set a boundary and then let it slip away? Perhaps your kids' arguments and emotions are too strong; you feel bad for your kids or feel you are being too "harsh"; or you don't have the confidence that your boundaries are well placed.
When we let our boundaries slide, often we feel depleted and resentful; deep down we know we aren't upholding our values and standards and we aren't teaching our kids skills they need to learn.
Maintaining clear boundaries in a firm and kind way is respectful to ourselves as parents and to our kids. As parents we don't feel taken advantage of when we hold to our boundaries. For the kids, if we say what we mean and mean what we say they know, as Brené Brown says "what is OK and what is not OK." They know the "rules", what is expected of them, and how to move forward in the world.
If we have boundaries that are often co-created, or steeped in our values, and hold to them, the arguments, nagging, and complaining will begin to decline. What a gift to the relationship we have with our kids! Of course our boundaries need to be reasonable - we want to give our kids the freedom to grow. They also need to be maintained with respect so that our kids want to adhere to them.
If you start creating boundaries where none have previously existed, expect some push back from your kids at first. This push back will diminish over time if the boundaries are upheld with respect and understanding. Read more in my recent column in Jackson Hole News & Guide about how to create boundaries and the benefits of doing so. "Say it straight, say it simple, say it with a smile." 🙂
Rachel Wigglesworth has an M.Ed. in Parent and Family Education and is excited to explore the world of raising children with you!