Friday, August 25, 2017

Setting Boundaries For You and For Your Kids

I did an at home workout yesterday while M and V played together. It involved a lot of breaks to help them with things, but it got done.

Then we spent the morning doing puzzles and putting silverware back to where it's supposed to be. (V has a thing for taking movies, utensils, toothbrushes, and combs out and carrying them around the house).

While J was at school, and I was folding laundry, V reached clear up on the counter and pulled J's little frog planter down and broke it, then he tried to eat the pieces. This kid is definitely my busiest kid.  Hopefully she won't be too heartbroken because I'm not sure where my mom got this years ago.

We spent the afternoon with cousins and spending some time in the pool. Summer is ending, and I think everyone is a little sad about that.


Something that has been on my mind a lot lately is setting personal boundaries for yourself and for your kids. When I was going to therapy, this was something that my counselor and I talked about a lot. Not just to keep yourself safe physically, but to also protect yourself emotionally and mentally.  I think a lot of this ends up happening with out us knowing that we are doing it. This happens automatically for me when I first meet someone. My wall goes up (especially if I feel threatened or like something is off) and it takes some time and work to get that wall to go down.  But when I get that wall to come down, I'm good until something happens where I feel like I can't trust someone again.

Teaching your kids how to trust someone is tricky when you struggle with trusting people yourself. I know this from experience. When my kids started getting new friends and I'm not feeling safe about them playing at the friend's house, or if I don't know their parents, I usually say they can play at our house or in our front yard so that I can see them. That way they can make new friends and I can have a piece of mind until I get to know the parents.

I was thinking about this while I was on my run the other day, and thinking about how I want my kids to be able to trust people (because I clearly have trust issues) and I want them to make friends, but I also want them to be safe, and smart.  One thing that I think is a big help with this is programs like RADKids. J took Radkids last year as an afterschool program. Rad kids is a holistic empowerment program that teaches kids how to be safe. And not only that, but why they deserve to be safe: because they are important. "I wear a seatbelt in the car because I'm important, and seat belts keep me safe", "I can tell a stranger 'no' because I'm important and they can't hurt me"...That kind of thing. I think that it's great because not only are they learning how to defend themselves and keep themselves safe, but they also learn that they are important and that they matter.

I think a big part of teaching kids about good boundaries with other people is teaching them that they deserve to be treated well and by showing them that you respect them, and also respect yourself. Kids learn so much by example. They learn their health habits, eating habits, productivity habits etc all from example, so why would this be anything different. Learning how to treat yourself right and keep your self-safe physically, emotionally, and mentally will help your children learn how to make sure that they set healthy boundaries for them too.

I also think a lot of setting boundaries is instinct. Trust yourself when you feel like something isn't right. Trust your child when they feel distressed or scared or anxious about a person or a situation. While a lot of learning is pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, but you can usually tell when something is wrong VS when something is hard. Trust your instincts with these things.

A lot of parenting is trial and error, and most of the time I'm not sure if I'm doing any of it right. But I feel like if I can give my kids a way to create themselves some good boundaries, I know that they will be a little safer and stronger.

Are you ready for fall?

How do you set good boundaries for yourself and your kids?

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