Setting limits is a hard task for many parents. Some find it hard to stick to the limit once it is set and some are on the other side of things and are very rigid about sticking to the limit they set. As Intentional Parents, trying to meet our children where they are, we are presented with a wide variety of variables to consider. While we work to create our individualized set of boundaries, there are a couple tricks we all can use to be more successful.
1. Be consistent about the fact that you (the parent) are in charge of the boundaries. The reality is the goal is to not set a boundary you are not willing to follow through on. However, life can throw us curve balls and sometimes we just can't make it happen. You can make the decision that for today the boundary can be changed because of special circumstances. It's really about your child understanding that YOU are the source of their safety at all times.
2. Once you give a boundary, you are not obligated to justify it. You are the parent; it is your job to set boundaries that are healthy for your child. When you are confident about that, your child will be too. It can be helpful to give the reason you set the limit, but do not repeat yourself - it will just tick you off. Offer the explanation once and then...zip your lip. This is especially important if everything deteriorates to an emotional meltdown. The reality is that they are in fight or flight and effective language is not accessible. You sound like the Charlie Brown teacher - you are wasting your breath. If you need to speak (some people just NEED to speak), use a simple mantra to get you through...my favorite is, "It is my job to keep you safe and healthy."
Limit setting is no parents favorite thing to do, but it is so crucial to the emotional health of your child so focus in and be intentional. Find that sweet spot that helps your child be successful and your relationship with your child flourish!
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