Counseling Update February 23, 2017
WHO’S IN CONTROL?
This topic has so many layers and nuances that I am going to skip any fancy introduction and just jump right into the topic of control and boundaries. Let’s face it, kids push the boundaries every day, all the time. They test us and see how far they can go; it’s in their nature and part of growing up—remember, we did the same thing to our parents—payback. Remember, it is our job as the adult to stay calm, loving, and firm. Stay in the role of parent and don’t lose sight of the fact that you are not your child’s friend, that is, not yet; wait until they are adults then maybe that can happen.
So, how do you know if your child is pushing the boundaries? It should be obvious; but, just in case you are unclear here are some hints:
Still unsure when boundaries are being crossed; then, check your emotional meter. Do you feel uncomfortable, angry, tense, embarrassed, resentful, diminished, or put upon when you are having an encounter with your child? Are you feeling anxious about your child’s behavior; therefore, over compensating for them? How do you know if you are over compensating? It is when you do too much for them—that is defined as doing things that they can and should do for themselves. If any of this sounds familiar, then boundaries are being crossed. Setting boundaries is not easy; it needs to be a deliberate and a well-thought out effort.
Here are four suggested tips that can be implemented when setting boundaries:
Final word: When you know where you stand, you’ll know what you will and won’t put up with from your child. Define your boundaries and try to stick to your principles rather than reacting to your moment-to-moment emotions. If you let your thoughts and principles drive you, you won’t be so apt to let your emotions determine your parenting—and both you and your child will be happier for it.
Linda H. Matchie,