As a mother, you can feel your entire being should be devoted to your children,
And in a way, yes, as mothers, most things we do, think of, and work on should be about our kids.
However, in raising children comes the task of teaching them healthy Behaviour boundaries in the home and with others, both so they can reflect these in their own future relationships and so you as a mother can breathe.
Taking the time to instil rules in your home to create these healthy boundaries is key.
What is the purpose of healthy Behaviour boundaries in children?
In situations where healthy boundaries are not in place and respect is not being taught, parents are often run ragged and are overwhelmed with their child’s needs.
These parents often burn out, become lost and will begin to decrease their level of awareness and overall ability when it comes to raising their children, not to mention more often than not, they don’t enjoy their time in the home.
- A healthy boundary set by you, the parent, is something that creates a level of respect, and respect for what you ask, what you do, and what you say.
- A boundary is not dictated by the child but rather to be learned and in time understood to it’s full context.
- It is not to be bargained on, met halfway or up for constant debate.
- A boundary in the home works best if both parents agree, and act on enforcing the same boundaries.
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Examples of healthy Behaviour boundaries in the home.
From a young age, you can teach your child healthy boundaries.
- Boundaries are not about enforcing or feeling you are enforcing a fierce dictatorship in your home.
- They are there to help you live together with gladness, and most importantly to teach your children to consider the needs of others.
- To understand how people feel around them, how their actions affect others, and how they can best behave to encourage good mutual relationships.
EXAMPLES OF BAD BEHAVIOUR BOUNDARIES IN CHILDREN
for young children are usually more physical.
They are not obeying, they do not take no for an answer, leaving you either,
- listening to nagging crying children,
- you are trying to fulfil their needs, in ways that run you ragged.
these are fixes with simple child training solutions, but watch out, even that 3-year-old can start using some serious attitude, (I know I have one in training right now!)
As your children get older however you can have more than the basic behaviour boundaries being crossed, (this starts earlier than you think, 3-5 years old)
- having children talk back to you with a serious attitude. This is a huge crossing of a child-to-adult boundary.
- having them feel okay with telling you no, telling you that you are wrong or need to change.
- Telling you that they shouldn’t have to do something because of what you did.
- They speak badly of other adults in their life.
- they ignore you.
These are all bad behaviours and lead to a child crossing behaviour boundaries crucial for family peace, and for their own good, kids who demonstrate the above behaviour do not grow into good adults.
Healthy behaviour boundaries serve the purpose of harmony
From teaching a child general obedience as we covered in post 1, the 4 pillars to effective child training
Boundaries in the home begin with you, the parent, start with what you need from your children right now.
Even young children can be taught physical behaviour boundaries to play alone during quiet time, or they can be given an activity to complete, or told to play outside or just around, and not be demanding your attention.
We all want to be there as much as we can for our children, and let’s face it, we often have these thoughts when we aren’t doing the best we can.
I have many times realised I failed in something I wanted to do with my kids and vowed to do better the next day.
While it isn’t always a physical behaviour boundary, with some reflection I can honestly say that 95% of the time, the reason why I may feel I am failing in an area with my children, is because I have one or two, who are pushing the boundaries either emotionally, with attitude or physically (usually a mix of the three) constantly and wearing me thin.
This leaves me tired, snappy and not emotionally able to be the best I can be.
While pushing the boundaries means they are disobeying, (see the first post in this series)
IT also means that the times I have set in the day for some breathing space, are taken up with nagging, crying children who refuse to give me a break, it means I talk over and over again and I feel frustrated at the back-talk, the attitude and the general animosity that child can create with an unchecked attitude.
What does it look like to have a child push boundaries, or not have healthy Behaviour boundaries set in place?
- Well for one, it is outright disobeying.
A child that doesn’t do as they are asked the FIRST time, may wait till you have asked 4 times, they know your limits and will choose to push them.
That’s a boundary being crossed.
Now in parenting books, and websites, they say that you have to find ways to cope, that children are wired to cross our boundaries and yeah, they are, but you can fix it, not just cope with it.
A crossed boundary is one where you feel out of control, you feel overwhelmed when you see it, hear it, or even think of having to go through with it, with your child.
It is teaching the child disrespect, to you personally and to authority in general, which if they are young now, will become a much bigger problem in later life.
Another crossed boundary is one where you have no personal space OR you feel that it is wrong to have personal space, this includes being spoken to by your children in disrespectful ways.
Now, I don’t mean a young child, a baby, toddler, they aren’t going to understand personal space, and unless they are doing something like hitting you in the face, then I don’t enforce personal space in the same way, I would a ten-year-old.
I don’t allow a toddler to hit me or others, I do not allow them to kick, spit, or scream in others’ faces. These are boundaries I set so that we can enjoy their company as a toddling 18-month-old, without being constantly bombarded with unpleasant actions.
You can instil basic rules into a toddler to help you begin the process of teaching healthy Behaviour boundaries.
- Do not allow hitting, spitting, or kicking of you or others, this can be seen as “cheeky” behaviour, but really you are growing disrespect which will be harder to remove later than stop now.
- Do not allow noisy behaviour during times of quiet, ie: afternoon, the evening before bed, and outside the home, church, occasions etc.
- Do not allow a toddler to destroy yours, or a sibling’s or someone else’s property, teach them to touch only what they are allowed to, especially if it is a sibling’s property, I am all for sharing, but if your cute little toddler has king kong capabilities when it comes to lego or someone’s fragile playthings, then train them to not touch.
- create boundaries in the home where you do not want a young child to play, for example, my toddler for a time thought my bed was a great place to bounce after a morning of playing in the hay bales, I trained him to stop and went so far as to not allow in him in my room if I am not in it.
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It’s okay to create some personal boundaries for yourself as a mother
From setting aside quiet time, to asking your children to play alone with toys in the evening before bed while you spend time with your husband, or having some time to clean while they have set playtime outside.
These are healthy boundaries, and ones you should not feel guilty for taking.
You have to TAKE/MAKE them as a mother.
No one is going to come and give you free time, no one is going to come and take your, children, away.
ANd no one is going to come and wipe away that bad attitude you are putting up with from that child/ren
You need to create some healthy boundaries that serve the purpose of breathing, even just for 15 minutes, to be able to live in harmony and to have your children respect and respond to your authority.
To create healthy behaviour boundaries you need to give your children rules.
How to create rules to create healthy boundaries
- Make your rules easy to follow.
- set a time limit
- create the space
- follow through on discipline of misbehaviour
from a toddler upward, you can teach them to have some time in the day to play alone. They can be taught to sit, play or colour or read, and while you are around, but you aren’t there for them in that moment.
They can watch you work or do something you enjoy and they don’t have to be a part of it.
This is healthy.
Practising healthy boundaries in day-to-day life
If you instil a quiet time/nap time period for your children and young children then you will get some of this naturally, if not, then I suggest you do.
But even in the day, especially on the weekend, when sometimes you just want to relax, take things slowly and just not be ON all the time, it’s okay for you to tell your, children, to play outside or do an activity and they are simply not allowed to bother you.
As they get older you can tell them of this change in pace, let them know that Saturdays are for whatever comes, it may be that we go somewhere fun, or it may be that I decide to refinish an old cupbourd and I am only available for prevention of accidental death and slap-up meals.
WHAT ARE UNHEALTHY BEHAVIOUR BOUNDARIES TO EXPECT IN THE HOME?
I want to add this here, an example of unhealthy parenting.
the first one deals with time, with taking too much away from your children, even in your home.
We live in the age of distraction, screens, portable, fit in our palms and are absolutely lethal to family life.
Tv, gaming devices, and computers, all can be used in a healthy way.
All can also be abused.
There are boundaries for sanity, rest and for cohesion.
There is also the ability to create boundaries to provide the means for distraction.
I am a stay-at-home mum, my distraction? My fairly new blog and youtube channel, and to be honest I am still learning how to juggle these additions to my everyday life.
I need to sacrifice, but I cannot sacrifice my children, nor can I give the best of me to my online pursuits.
The best of me should always be in my home, to my children, my husband and my duties.
Is it easy?
No, I often feel overwhelmed, the to-do list seems to only get bigger every day.
Many of us as mothers can feel this way, even as life changes, as it gets busy or we simply get distracted.
An unhealthy boundary is put up by a parent who is desiring to fuel something other than their duty at that time.
To set a boundary to spend time doing something you want to get done is healthy.
But how much time to spend doing it?
Child training, home keeping, healthy cooking, cleaning, organising, and the many other family duties are time-consuming, but you can get them done.
you should read aloud, you should spend time conversing, teaching and listening to your children.
Do you aim for a perfect home every day, NO!
But you should be able to cook, clean, wash, read to, child train, teach, play, with your children and have a conversation with/spend time with your husband every day.
They are your duties.
If you want to do extra? you fit it in, again I practice quiet time, a very healthy way to get time to do something for myself, but the rest of the day until the children are in bed, they are filled with duties, that I am happy to complete, but cannot be traded it for something else.
Unhealthy emotional boundaries.
For many we would never admit to having an unhealthy emotional boundary, something we struggle with in our daily lives toward our children.
But they exist, and I know this because when I was first starting my parenting journey with two under two, I really didn’t know I had these boundary issues. (a big statement, perhaps a little OTT but I will use it none the less)
becoming a person who can be emotionally available 24/7 is HARD.
I think we think we are good at it at the start, then like me ten years on I realise I wasn’t, and I am still evolving.
If you feel you are falling short, that you are too quick to anger, that you don’t always speak the way you wish, that you feel overwhelmed and burnt out.
You probably are.
It can and usually is a mix of two things.
1. your children need training.
2. you need to grow.
Now one, your children need training.
Read the posts in this course.
Two, you need to be okay with knowing that you are falling short, and set yourself some new ideals to work on, start small, commit to spending time with a child/children, set an alarm, and get in the habit.
Start a challenge with yourself, to not yell ever!
you can still have rules, discipline, guidance and instruction without ever having to raise your voice!
In fact, every aspect of child raising is made healthier by not having to constantly use your anger and frustration in hurling loud words at your children.
And trust me, this is something I struggle with, when the days are hectic, and I just can’t seem to catch a break, I shout. I shout because I am frustrated, no one will listen, no one does what I ask properly, I seem to lose every shoe and sock, and there are no hair brushes in the whole house? My washing is taller than me, the dishwasher broke, we are out of cream for my coffee ….
I could go on.
Then one, the day I was like, der.
Your house is falling apart and I am an emotional wreck, who is only shoving my children away further with my inability to be emotionally welcoming and the mother I want to be because I was dropping the ball.
I wasn’t as organised as I should be, I wasn’t getting up early enough, I wasn’t training my kids consistently, and I wasn’t doing any of the things I know I need to do to enjoy my home life and be the mother I want to be.
Anyone can have the tools, but we have to remember to use them, and repeat the, and come to what works, and what works is consistently showing up with 100%, not easy, but with practice, not impossible.
you need to choose where your 100 lies( it should be in your home, and not in distraction, in your pursuits) , and then make yourself grow into it.
Being okay with the fact that you need growth, and that you need to work on yourself is the first step to being able to remove unhealthy emotional boundaries.
I could list all the things that are unhealthy emotional boundaries, but I think that honestly.
Write them down and commit to working on each one.
Teaching SELF-AWARENESS in regard to others
Another aspect of healhty boundaries is self awareness, this is taught inside the home and mostly put into practice outside the home.
If you are like me and homeschool your children, then we all learn each other’s boundaries naturally, and even if not, then family life is easier to get a grasp on each other, and so with general manners, and my rules put in place we all get along pretty well, (there is always general bickering)
But I want my children to be self aware, to understand that their little sphere of physical and emotional needs gets a little smaller when you are not in your own home.
There are others to deal with, to share space with, and it’s best if we can learn at a young age that in order to do so well, we have to put others first.
Both physically and emotionally.
SELF AWARENESS TOWARD ADULTS IS
self-awareness when it comes to healthy boundaries is the instilling of knowledge that your children should have as they age, 8-9 up, that their beliefs, thoughts, actions and emotions affect others, and that their actions, emotions and thoughts, don’t always need to matter and they should consider the others persons first.
- As a very young child, it is more actions and emotions that are in play here, and so from a young age, you can teach your child to act a certain way in front of other adults.
- This is not hinderieing your child’s personality or development or shutting them out, this is crucial step in instilling healhty boundaries and it helps them understand themselves better.
- a child should understand that adults are not like them.
- Adults require a level of respect from a child that a child needs to be taught to give.
- This creates a level of self-awareness in your child, it has them understand who they are compared to everyone else and teaches them how to deal with their own thoughts and beliefs in healhty ways.
This is teaching your young children to enjoy company or be a part of a large gathering among adults, and enjoy speaking to others (as they get older this will come into play) but they arent to dominate, or give advice if not asked or to see themselves as equal to the adults twice or three times there age.
From physical things like letting an adult have their seat if there are no others, or addressing them as Mr or Mrs. these start the process of having your son or daughter be able to have conversations with adults that are healhty and fruitful with a genuine level of respect.
To be able to converse with their peers and adults in ways where they understand how they should respond in different situations, this is a self-aware child.
A young child should not interrupt conversation, or push first line because oh well, he’s just a kid.
that kid is going to grow up, and if you don’t teach them who they are in relation to others, then they think they are equal, to everyone, and sorry but that’s just not true, and when an older child (teen, young adult) thinks this way, you can spot it from a mile off, and it’s offputting to adults, and think, future relationships and employers.
SELF-AWARENESS WITH PEERS IS
when your children are dealing with peers you want to teach them to be able to handle differences of opinion without being “frazzled”
This will come from experience, your children may come to you and tell you that someone they have spent time within their age group said something that they think is wrong or just different.
You need to 1, chat about this difference, and how it reflects on their own ideas and thoughts, and then 2, you need to teach your children how to handle the situation in a way where their beliefs are important o them, but unless this is something that you yourself are uncomfortable with, that they can continue to enjoy their freinds company without conflict by:
- Not having to be right, or better.
- Not having to control the environment
- Not having to agree with everyone
- That their emotional needs, which may be to feel right or to feel in control is not healhty, and that if you have said that the conflict, (or mere conversation ) is nothing to be worried about, then perhaps the only problem here is pride.
children can feel a loyalty to their beliefs that they spend so much time learning in the home,(and so they should, I am a Christian mum and put a lot of effort into teaching my children the Gospel and the bible) but we know as adults that you are going to spend time with people who don’t agree with you.
you have to learn how to deal with it early, to be able to hear someone’s opinion, you will listen to how it is the same or different to yours and you have to learn how to socialise without demanding everyone think the same as you do.
Kids can be like this, they don’t yet understand that the world if filled with ideas, and views, and as they get older, they will be immersed.
And you want to have instilled in them how to be strong in their convictions, while not letting their emotional side overwhelm them and have them on the defence with every social encounter.
this comes with you instructing them and slowly teaching them how to handle the different social situations as they arise.
- Don’t allow pride to get the better of your children
- Don’t allow gossip -have a healthy conversation and then have the child, teen, or young adult, leave it be, and wait till another social encounter with that person arises, do not allow constant talking of them over a period of time, this isn’t a healthy way to deal with a social conflict.
HOW IS CREATING HEALTHY BEHAVIOUR BOUNDARIES RELEVANT IN THE CHILD TRAINING 101 SERIES?
we started with the introduction to child training through setting standards, choosing your discipline and knowing how to follow through and reconcile.
Crucial concepts to child training.
In the next post I dealt with your roles as a mother, what you should expect of yourself, and how to self assess and grow.
In this post, I give you the tools to create time for yourself, as well as the knowledge that you can request boundaries, and teach boundaries, that are healthy and beneficial to the entire family.
If you are wanting to take on child training then you need to be able to create these boundaries in order to create the lifestyle that facilitates rest and breathing time, while you share a home with your children.
hello! I’m shenaede
Wife, mother, & homeschooler
I started this blog to help mothers find joy in the home.
Joy is not just feeling, it is a culmination of actions and mindsets, you need to create it, to set yourself in it.
Motherhood is a mindset, it is hard work, and all we do as mothers can be moulded towards growth and nurtured into a genuine capacity for joy!