What it Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families Series- Day 25

Consciously Parenting: What it Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families
Book 1 of the Consciously Parenting series

Children and Boundaries

Principle 7: Children need boundaries. We can set appropriate limits for our children while still respecting their needs and feelings–if we are aware of ourselves. (We can ask, for example, “Is this about me? Is this about them? Are my children communicating a need? Is the boundary I’m setting necessary, or is it an opportunity for me to grow?”)

Perhaps the least understood guiding principle is about boundaries or limits. When we think of loving guidance and having a focus on relationship, we sometimes think that means the children can do whatever they want.

In order to respect our child, we often let go of our own needs in order to meet our child’s expressed needs. Or perhaps we feel the consequences of setting a limit with our child are going to be too great- for us.

So we co-sleep for longer than we really wanted to, let our child eat whatever they want to the point that their nutrition is suffering, or completely rearrange our lives so that we have the least amount of conflict with our child.

I’m not saying that we ought not keep in mind what our child wants and needs. On the contrary, we need to keep our child’s needs in mind when we make decisions that affect them.

At the same time, we also need to respect our own needs so that we aren’t feeling resentful of our child while we constantly disregard our own needs. The difference in relationship-focused limits is the presentation of the limits and that our child’s feelings are honored when a limit is set.

From the book Consciously Parenting: What it Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families

Sometimes we need to say no to our children.

What does that feel like in your body when you think of saying no to your child?

For some parents, it comes easily.

For others, this is really challenging.

When we say yes and mean no, we aren’t being authentic in our relationship. We’re not in congruence with ourselves and our non-verbal communication, so it becomes confusing for our child. Saying no in a loving way is a foreign concept to most people. Saying no and making room for how they feel about the no is also a foreign idea.

Our children actually need our no when we mean no.

This is true of our babies and toddlers to our teens and young adults.

“We’re not going to have cookies right now and I know that might be hard for you. I see your tears and I will stay here with you while you cry.”

“I can’t let you go to Sarah’s house when I don’t know her parents and if the house is safe for you to be there without me. I need to keep you safe. You might feel sad or angry because I’m saying no right now and I can listen to you and your feelings about it.”

What would it have felt like if your parent had made room for your feelings about something that happened that was tough for you? What might it feel like for your child if you were able to do that for them?


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  • Rebecca Thompson Hitt

    Rebecca is the founder of The Consciously Parenting Project, LLC, and author of 3 books (Consciously Parenting: What it really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families, Creating Connection: Essential Tools for Growing Families through Conception, Birth and Beyond, and Nurturing Connection: What Parents Need to Know about Emotional Expression and Bonding), numerous classes and recordings, and the former co-host of a radio show, True North Parents.

Rebecca Thompson Hitt

Rebecca is the founder of The Consciously Parenting Project, LLC, and author of 3 books (Consciously Parenting: What it really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families, Creating Connection: Essential Tools for Growing Families through Conception, Birth and Beyond, and Nurturing Connection: What Parents Need to Know about Emotional Expression and Bonding), numerous classes and recordings, and the former co-host of a radio show, True North Parents.

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