If I could hold a foam #1 finger and cheer you on while chanting, “No means no and YES is powerful,” I would. This is a tough boundary to set sometimes, but it will help you and your family thrive in the long run. But HOW?! Here are five ideas to help you set boundaries, offer structure, and many times reduces anxious feelings in your kiddos, yourself, and, well… everyone in your life.
1. Think before responding to a request. Removing reflex responses will help you make decisions you can stick with.
2. Choose your “noes” wisely and carefully. For example, your child is aching to run through a puddle. You have a choice. Does this situation actually demand a hard “no”? I mean…their outfit will have to be cleaned anyway, right? Assess the situation and say “yes” whenever possible. Choosing “yes” is a powerful stance!
3. Be resolute in your response. “Yes” means “yes”, and “no” means “no”. Telling your kiddo “no”, knowing full well you are going to change your mind if your child is persistent, removes the power of your response. (See #1)
4. Transparency is key with kids! Talk to them. You are raising future adults. Teach them why you make the choices you make. For example, some kiddos are wiggly when getting in their car seats. Tell them that you love them and part of loving them is a responsibility to keep them safe. Then offer a choice. “Would you like to climb into your seat on your own or would you like me to use my strong, loving arms to lift you up?” The end result is the same…your kiddo is safely buckled in. For extra oomph have the conversation BEFORE you are actually in the situation so your kiddo knows your expectations. It may take a few times, but it works!
5. Follow through with your word when you make promises to your kiddos. You will teach them integrity by keeping the commitments you make.
When your kiddos fully understand that you’re steadfast in your decisions, it will build relationship with them. They will learn to appreciate your “yeses” and be much less resistant to the “noes”!
What are the ways you set boundaries with the kiddos in your world?
I’d love to hear what works for you.