Boundaries Inc.

09 May
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There is no doubt that, as parents, we face many challenges …technology, financial issues, time pressure, confusion re what is the appropriate way in which to discipline our children. An essential ingredient is the establishment of firm, consistent boundaries for our developing children. We do not need to resort to the harsh, punitive and autocratic methods which were relied on in days gone by. But there is no doubt that children need the security and predictability of knowing that there are rules/limits and that they will be given choices which will involve consequences. If a child knows that it is unacceptable to behave aggressively ie to hit another child, and that the consequence for choosing to do so will result in time out or withdrawal of a treat, then the parent will need to ensure that this consequence is carried out. The child must be given a choice prior to enforcement.

The parent-child relationship is very important for effective discipline. This means that parents need to learn the vital skill of empathy/active listening. To decode behaviour – to see what feeling lies beneath the surface. To learn the importance of firm but respectful” I” language rather than judgmental” you” language. And of course to focus on the positives wherever relevant. The most precious gift we can give our children is to learn the importance of resilience – and this means allowing them to learn from the consequences of choices they make.

And above all, make time for fun and relaxation with your children. Life is stressful and we, as adults, have many pressures to deal with. Learn to switch off all the screens – and simply focus on sharing and connecting. We need to make time to “smell the roses”.

Anne Cawood
Social Worker in Private Practice.


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