EP20 - How to Set Healthy Boundaries with Your Child
In this episode, we speak about how to set healthy boundaries for yourself and your child in order to create an environment at home that fosters potential win-win scenarios for everyone. We speak on why boundaries are necessary, the benefits of setting boundaries, and give examples of how to set boundaries. A boundary is what allows you to show your child what you stand for, what you believe about yourself, and what you expect from them. It’s a way to help them understand what your capacity is in the relationship with them. It allows you to be your fullest self, while feeling safe to do so, and models the same for them.
Be sure to listen for:
· Why boundaries are important for parents to create
· The negative feelings that may come up when setting a boundary
· The dangers of authoritative parenting and permissive parenting
· What can happen when we don’t set boundaries
· How to set boundaries empathetically with age appropriate and relevant consequences, with examples
· How to set clear boundaries consistently
· The importance of allowing your child to explore the boundary
· Scenarios when boundary lines become blurry and questions to ask yourself when they do
About the Hosts:
About Dimple Arora – Founder of Mindful Evolution
Dimple Arora is the founder of Mindful Evolution (ME) — a parenting movement that aims to empower parents and their kids towards positive transformation and life-changing results...one thought, one emotion, and one choice at a time.
Dimple is an expert in women and teen empowerment and specializes in helping individuals reduce the debilitating effects of stress and anxiety using mindfulness, nutrition, EFT tapping and other energy psychology modalities. Dimple is a Certified Life Coach, EFT and NLP Practitioner, Holistic Nutritionist and Energy Therapist. She holds degrees in mathematics, business, and education and was previously employed in the corporate world and as a high school math teacher.
You can book a complimentary coaching call with Dimple on her website at https://www.mindfulevolution.ca and connect with her on social media.
About Shaista Fatehali – Founder of Thrive Kids
Shaista Fatehali is the founder of Thrive Kids BC where she works with children and families to help nurture connection, empower a sense of self - worth and discover what is needed for individual families to thrive. Shaista is a speaker and the author of the children’s book BACK HOME; which has received accolades nationwide. She is a certified children’s and parent life coach and works with clients to build soft skills such as interpersonal awareness, effective communication, emotional agility emotional regulation, problem solving, transition planning and mindfulness . As a teacher and mother of two young girls, her true passion lies in giving her children, her students and clients the tools to reach their most true authentic selves.
To book a complimentary call with Shaista or to learn more about Shaista and the programs she offers at Thrive Kids BC, please visit her website at https://thrivekidsbc.ca/
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/thrivekidsbc/
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Imagine being present calm and connected, while creating a family environment where everyone can thrive.Dimple Arora:
Welcome to the IM mom parenting podcast, providing inspiration and actionable steps to manifest the meaningful and magical life you desire for you and your family.Shaista Fatehali:
We are your hosts dimple, Aurora, founder and mindful evolution and shape the daily founder of Thrive kids.Dimple Arora:
Thank you for sharing the I am mom journey with us. Let's get started.Shaista Fatehali:
Hello, everyone, and welcome back to the I am mom parenting podcast. Today we're going to talk about boundaries and setting boundaries with our children, for our children. And for ourselves, we're going to be talking about setting boundaries and what that actually means what it looks like, the benefits on setting boundaries and how we can develop our own abilities to set boundaries by ensuring that they are aligned with our own personal values.Dimple Arora:
I love this topic because I only learned how to set boundaries, I would say a few years ago. So a boundary is what allows you to show your child, what you stand for what you believe about yourself, what you expect from them for yourself, it actually is a way to help them understand what your capacity is in the relationship with them. And it's the thing that really keeps your energy in check and keeps you feeling safe, and teaches them how to keep themselves feeling safe. So it's about being your fullest self and feeling safe to do so. Now, when we think of boundaries, we often get really concerned that we are going to turn somebody off or make them feel bad or, or rich, make them feel rejected or closed off or that we are unhelpful. But that's not the point of the boundary, the boundary is there to help you express yourself to the fullest and give openly but with a hard stop so that you could also protect yourself.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah, exactly. And I think that with, with us as parents, when we're trying to set boundaries into place with our children, it's uncomfortable, right? Because the thing is, we love our kids, and we do not want them to be upset. So when they want something in, we know that we probably shouldn't give it to them. For example, we have a hard time saying no, right. But when we do have those boundaries in place, then what happens is that it makes our parenting journey a lot easier, right? Because all of us need to learn what is expected, what is expected of us. And when you think of childhood, it's actually the best time for them to learn how to set boundaries and what boundary setting actually looks like. And when you think of developmentally, it actually aligns perfectly with developmental goals as well, right. And the reason is because children are exploring, right? They're exploring their environment. And they're looking at what we are doing. They're observing what we are doing, right. And they're forming their own schema. So that is the way that they perceive the world. So when boundaries are set in place, and they know that they're seven plays, we're actually helping them right, we're actually giving them the opportunity to get used to these future, like rules and expectations that will definitely come aboutDimple Arora:
definitely, and it really helps them as well with their own emotional regulation, because then they know what is expected of them. And it helps them with their executive functioning skills as well. So it helps them to develop their problem solving skills. And then it's a way for them to feel more connected to us because it's a form of connecting with them. You're trying to create Win Win scenarios by setting these healthy boundaries and all Those things are actually correlated with higher self esteem and better long term outcomes for our kids in their personal their academic their professional lives. Mm hmm,Shaista Fatehali:
exactly. It's so important. But I think the thing is like, it's so hard to determine what boundaries are appropriate for our kids without sounding like or coming across as, quote unquote, mean, right? How do we teach our kids boundaries in a healthy way? and let them know that we still love them? Right? So how do we do that, and one of the best ways to do that is modeling how to set boundaries and setting boundaries ourselves,Dimple Arora:
it really needs to start with us. Because if we come across as too authoritative, or too pushy, or on the other extreme, as too much of a people pleaser, our kids are not going to learn strong boundaries, and it is going to affect them in every relationship that they experience. As they get older. And it becomes it becomes draining. When boundaries are not expressed, it becomes you may start to feel resentful as a person in your relationships, when you don't have strong boundaries, it could affect your health. And it could affect your just the way that you interact with everyone, you might become anxious or uncomfortable in certain scenarios, like there are so many things that could happen if a child is not taught how to set healthy boundaries.Shaista Fatehali:
Mm hmm, exactly. There's just so much that can happen. So how do we set these healthy boundaries? Right? One of the ways that we could do this is to give clear and direct rules, right. So saying something that's really, really clear for them, and allowing them the opportunity to explore these rules, and something that will not really explore them, but understand them, I should say, and follow them. So the expectations are there. Now, it really depends on their language capabilities as well, right? So sometimes, when kids are growing up, they might not be able to understand fully what you're saying. So your language should be very, very, more direct, right? So that they can understand that.Dimple Arora:
Yeah, that's a really good one. And I guess we'll just go through a list of things that parents can do to set boundaries. And the next one would be to stop doing for your child what they can do for themselves. Mm hmm.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah. Really important. Yes. BecauseDimple Arora:
it is, I mean, it's painful to see your child trying to struggle to do something, and we love them, and we feel responsible, and we naturally want to help them or to fix things for them. But when you do not let your child work through a challenge or an obstacle on their own, you're actually denying them this important experience, right? So the experience of disappointment or failure or, or, you know, whatever, like say, they're learning how to tie their shoes, if you're constantly offering to help them, they may feel like they're failing at the challenge. But if you allow them to explore it themselves without trying to fix it for them, then you're setting a healthy boundary, and helping them to fight their own battles when it's possible and when it's appropriate.Shaista Fatehali:
Mm hmm. And along those same lines is using your body language as well. Right? So, you know, using your tone of voice using your facial expressions, when you are setting boundaries, really getting down at their level and their eye level. So if you have to stoop down, because what happens then is that it doesn't become intimidating, like there isn't this person over powering this little person, right? So it becomes like this. This this even kill that is there right? Now, if you're trying to set boundaries and you're laughing or you're smiling it the might not take it as seriously right, they won't be as convinced. So ensuring that when you are using language, that you're compatible with your body language as well, right and that is also reflected when you are are asking them to carry through with a challenge that they have just like you mentioned,Dimple Arora:
that's a really good point, I try to say things in a way that that conveys to them that you mean business, but also giving them that body language that teaches them to expect that you expect to be listened to and taken seriously. Right. And this is where the parent really needs to focus on themselves as well, and how they're responding and take charge of yourself when you are setting a boundary with your child. Because by doing that, you will continue your own growth and your maturity in any situation is going to help them with their maturity.Shaista Fatehali:
Mm hmm. Yeah, absolutely. Now, the other thing is, I think that, um, you know, the world is definitely changing. And I think sometimes empathizing with our kids, is a helpful strategy to not only set those boundaries, but to be able to move past that, right. So when they are set and building these relationships, because these boundaries are in place. So for example, let's just say, you have your child who is playing a video game, right? And you ask that you tell the child that, okay, you know, at six o'clock pm, you need to shut off your game, right? So as a parent, when six o'clock rolls around, we might go and say, six o'clock, because you're shut it off. But instead, if we say, you know, I know you're probably in the middle of the game. Why don't you take the next five minutes and finish up this game. And then it's time to shut off your game because it is past six o'clock. So the way that I just said it right there is showing empathy or understanding where your child is coming from. It's not super authoritative and direct, you're setting the boundary, but you're doing it in a way that they are going to be like, oh, okay, it's not going to set up a power struggle there.Dimple Arora:
I love that. And it's important to empathize but not over empathize. Because if over empathize, and you worry that your child is going to fall apart, when you set the boundary, you have to realize that they need to manage their disappointment in that situation. They have to learn how to manage their own pain and their own hurt. And if you let your child experience these difficult situations, while being empathetic, but not overly empathetic, then they will learn from those experiences and, and actually, you'll build a better connection with them. And they will respect you more for that.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah, absolutely. So we don't want our kid finishing the entire game until eight o'clock pm.because they're going to be upset that it's off. But you're right, the over empathizing. Because we want to keep them safe. That's where it comes from. We want to keep them happy. We don't want to upset them. But that takes away their ability to regulate their emotions, right? And I think too, it's really important. And you hear this a lot. But consistency, right? But what does that really mean? consistency means familiarity, right? So when something is consistent, it becomes familiar. That means that there's structure and when there's structure, they're going to know what to do, and they're going to know what to expect. And there's not going to be that major power struggle, because they're familiar with it. That's what it boils down to.Dimple Arora:
Exactly. And I understand that there will be times where we are completely exhausted. And then we will probably in some scenarios give up our parental authority. But that could be very dangerous because there are scenarios where and households where the child has completely taken over the household. And the child is actually running the home and what emotions are coming up are dependent on what the child is feeling. And the parents are going along with everything. Either because they're exhausted or they don't want to fight the battle with their child and they then become overly permissive. This is a dangerous scenario. Okay, so what we want to do is hold our parental authority and Let the children know who is in charge, while at the same time creating open environment where we can foster Win Win scenarios. Like it's important to get your child's buy in, especially if they're older. Right? When you're setting boundaries, get there by and work with them to figure out that screen time limit and, and know that let them know that you have their best interest at heart. Okay, but there are times where we're going to give in and nobody's perfect. So instead of beating ourselves up for this, we might have to let ourselves off the hook, we might have to let them off the hook. Sometimes.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah, absolutely. And with that, too, it's really important to look at how we're setting up consequences as well, right? Because, you know, if you don't shut this off, you're never getting the iPad ever again, that is probably classified under an empty threat, right? Because that's probably not going to happen, right. So then they know that, well, you know, my mom, or my dad, or whoever is there is not serious about this, right. But when you are able to remain decisive, and follow through with healthy natural consequences that are rational, they're going to be able to know that I need to follow through with this. And if I don't, this is what's going to happen. And if this does happen, I do have will have to live with these consequences.Dimple Arora:
Exactly. Because we need to let them feel the impact of when they cross a boundary. Otherwise, it could keep happening, right. So if you cross a boundary with them, it's best to apologize and empathize. But if they cross a boundary with you, it's important to hold them accountable. Otherwise, it becomes a repeating pattern. Right? So if they don't experience those consequences, they will not come to this understanding of respecting you, they will constantly try to cross those boundaries.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah, absolutely. These are definitely lessons right there lessons that are necessary. So don't feel bad about setting these boundaries, right? Or setting these consequences, because it's tempting to withdraw it sometimes because you don't want to cause any upset. But when this happens, the learning doesn't occur there, which is so necessary while they're growing up.Dimple Arora:
And it's important to have the consequence also match the outcome that you want. Right? So the consequence, like you said, should not be irrational, it should be very in line and tied to the circumstance at hand, and what with what you're dealing with?Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah, and it also needs to be developmentally appropriate. Right, exactly. Another thing that's super important, because when we're able to understand what kids can do at certain ages and developmental trajectory trajectories, that's going to help us to be able to set the right expectations, right, if they're too high, for our child at that point, they're not going to be able to get there. And that's just going to cause so much frustration. So if you're not sure what is expected, there's so much there are a lot of resources out there that are specific to age groups. So really understanding what is developmentally appropriate for your child, is of utmost importance.Dimple Arora:
Yes. And so for the younger child, that's when you really got to paint a very clear mental picture for them about what you expect. So I remember with my daughter when she was younger, whenever we were going somewhere, say we were going to the play center or somebody's house or to a restaurant, I would speak to her beforehand about what it's going to look like what do I expect there at the restaurant, we don't get up and run around the restaurant during the middle of dinner. So just making it very clear, according to their age is going to be very helpful for them because there's so much going on in the world and they're learning so much at a fast pace. And there's a lot to teach them but we have to mentally prepare them so they can visualize themselves successful when you set that boundary and it actually helps them they're not guessing because A lot of times when kids cross boundaries, we tend to punish them and let them know that they're making a mistake. But they were actually not clear on what was expected of them in the first place.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah, exactly. And along those lines, it's also important, particularly with the younger kids, to recognize when they have stuck by those boundaries, right? Because you're then reinforcing it, and they're going to love all of the positive affirmations that you are giving to them, right? They have stuck to those boundaries, it enables them to feel acknowledged, they love getting praised, especially younger kids from their parents. And helping them recognize that they have stuck to those boundaries, is going to enable them to know that they're able to do it, and they will continue to do it.Dimple Arora:
Exactly. And you know, one that really shows up for younger kids often is when we take them to the store and they want to buy something. Yeah. So, for example, you go to the store and the child wants I mean, this is still happening even with older kids, right? So they want to toy. And there are some families that I know that where their children will not even ask because the boundary has been set, and they know that it is non negotiable. That's not the case in our household. The audio will still always ask, but I remember when she was younger, I would say sometimes, I mean, a lot of times I gave in, but now I feel I'm better at setting boundaries with her. But that's because I've become better at setting boundaries with everyone in my life. At this point, I think it's a skill that we need to practice. So one of the things I would say and it helped helped a lot, and you could use this for younger kids is that let's go home and check, you know, if we have enough money in the budget, but let's see how that shows up for you. Or let's take a picture of it. So that we remember for next time. And usually they just forget about it. Or we can ask them to put it on their wish list. Yeah. Or, you know, for Christmas or the Wally or either, right. So they know that you're not buying that toy today. But there's so you set the boundary, it's not being bought today, but that you're not completely dismissing their, their desires.Shaista Fatehali:
Yep, exactly. That's a really good strategy. That's something I use a lot as well to just to take a picture of it. And you know, put it on your wish list. We'll see if, if you get it later, but not right now. I think that also goes with just not giving them so much control and power. Right, exactly. So you're you're not giving them an inflated sense of influence and authority. You're not dismissing what they want, but you're also not getting into them. Right? Because then they do, what will happen is that's going to set a blurred boundary. And in the future, when they do get older, it's just going to become a lot more challenging, right? A lot more conflicts and power struggles.Dimple Arora:
Exactly. And just to remember, these boundaries are not brick walls, they can be changed. Do you want to actively listen to your child? Remember, you're raising a child, okay, you're not following this rule book, right? So you're raising a child and your job is to figure out what works for everyone in the home. so that it can you can foster a peaceful environment, and an emotionally safe place for yourself and for your child. And for them to realize that not all behavior is acceptable. But you want them to know that despite what's happening, all of their feelings are acceptable. So there will come times where you have non negotiable boundaries. Okay, and they need that you're going to see them disappointed. You're going to see them maybe act out about it, but you need to let them regulate their feelings and co regulate your feeling their feelings with them.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah, absolutely. I know I've said this before, but that saying about you get what you get and you don't get upset. That always bothers me because it's okay to get it. You don't get you don't get what you want, whatever it is, whatever. But it's okay to get upset. It's okay. You know, you're not going to get everything and you will get upset and that is okay. That doesn't mean you're just going to get it right. It's how you how you regulate yourself around that and doing this and helping our children learn this in Childhood is so important, because it's in their environment, right? It's in their environment. And it's within a supportive and loving household, when in which they're going to feel a sense of unconditional love. And when the they do break these boundaries, they know there's going to be consequences. But they also know that the love you have for them is not going anywhere.Dimple Arora:
And it's unconditional, and bringing it to now the boundaries as a couple. There are a lot of parents that struggle with boundaries as a couple. So when you are trying to have a conversation with your spouse, for example, and your child keeps interrupting, of course, it depends on their age. But you have to teach your child that you do have boundaries as a couple and you're allowed to have boundaries as a couple. Otherwise, if you make your child the focus of the household at all times, the relationship will fall apart. Mm hmm. Exactly.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah. And there's some ways that you can set these boundaries, right. Like, for example, when you are talking to your spouse, and your child is interrupting, especially when they're young, you kind of want to be like, Oh, yes, yes, yes. And just stop talking. But I think just setting that boundary, like, Oh, look, I'm talking right now to blank, blank, blank. So when I'm finished, I will come and talk to you. But I think with younger kids, the thing is, you want to ensure that they feel heard. So oftentimes, what I'll do is I'll just touch, like, I'll put my hand on their shoulder and just be like, I hear you. But right now I'm talking, I'll tell you when it's your turn.Dimple Arora:
That's exactly what I did with audio as well. And because it's hard for them to understand at a young age, and we have to be empathetic to that with audio, even now with her being eight years old. If I'm talking or even if I'm on the phone, and she needs my attention, she I've taught her to put her hand on my shoulder. And then I acknowledge her to make sure she's she's seen, right and to let her know that I'm going to get to her in a minute or two. Right? Exactly. And, you know, it's very common for couples to have blurry lines and blurry boundaries when in their relationship when they first have kids. And that's understandable. Because if we go back to that episode we did with Allison on the on the seasons that every couple goes through, if you're in the coping season, and you just had a new baby, right, then your relationship lines as a couple may be blurred at that time. And that's okay. It depends on what's going on in your life at that time.Shaista Fatehali:
And having that conversation with your partner, right, and being able to set boundaries as a couple in a collaborative way.Dimple Arora:
And the last blurry boundary that I want to speak about is when you overshare with your child, so you treat them like a friend rather than a child. And it happens a lot with older kids. It's beautiful to have an open relationship with your child in terms of speaking to them about many things. But there does come a point and it could affect them emotionally and mentally as well. If you are sharing too much. So you can ask yourself, Is it my child's role right now to listen to this problem? or listen to the story? Is it too much for him or her? Would this be more appropriate to share with my friend? I mean, if your child is giving you advice about I don't know your dating life, for example? Yeah. Then it may be too much for them. Right? So if you are also living through your child, so their successes are making you feel good or bad, right? So you can ask yourself, do I need to focus more on my goals? Am I living too much through my child is, you know, there's so many questions you can ask to determine if you are blurring your boundary lines. So also, if you're losing parental control, you feel like your child is taking over the house. You can ask yourself, you know, is this child controlling my mood, my behavior my you know, on demand, and am I playing the role of a parent who's in charge? Am I giving up my role in the household to my child child out of fear or anxiety. So, a lot of times parents are operating from anxiety and Some way, and that's also causing the boundaries to be crossed.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah, absolutely. And I think it brings us back to the first point we made, right, where when we are clear on our boundaries, our kids are going to be able to see and replicate that for themselves in the future, right. And I think that it's really important as well, for kids to understand that it is important to respect other people's boundaries, right. And doing that requires empathy. And it requires awareness. And when you are showing that you are self aware of what's happening with you, you will model that for your kids. And there are specific ways that we can talk about in future episodes on how to build empathy and self awareness. But it's a good point to keep in mind. Right. So when you are doing this, you are helping set boundaries, but you're also helping your kids understand by respecting boundaries is important.Dimple Arora:
Yes, definitely. And, and teaching your child to respect themselves and their own boundaries as well. And so I think the best advice here is to stay in your parental role, and respond and create boundaries according to the values that you want to see in the home. And teach your child to honor the boundaries in the home and make sure that you are honoring your own boundaries so that you are not feeling resentful, worn out anxious, define your boundaries, stick to them, and let your principles and your values drive the boundaries that you are creating. And remember, it's a win win scenario for everyone. And both you and your child will be happier.Shaista Fatehali:
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Thank you so much for listening today, and we will talk to you on our next episode.Dimple Arora:
Thank you for joining us on the IM mom parenting journey. If you enjoyed today's episode, please follow us and head on over to iTunes to leave us a review. We invite youShaista Fatehali:
to check out the show notes for this episode, and click on the link to join our free Facebook community to stay connected and continue the conversation with other like minded moms.