At the moment I am raising a very outspoken, confident, strong-willed toddler. On one hand it is so amazing because he is so confident in the way he communicates and expresses his opinions, feelings and thoughts. However, on the other hand he can debate and battle for a compromise of sorts with us, his parents, ’till he is blue in the face. He has a lot of fight in him, and at the end of most day I feel like I have been playing the toddler ‘Hunger Games’ with him, where I just about survive. Because he is so strong-willed, we need to keep those boundaries firmly in place, or otherwise he takes over and rules the roost!
It is so exhausting, and some days I feel like giving up and letting him do whatever he wants. However, I know I need to suck it up, get my head in the game and put those valuable structures in place, as a means of keeping us all (semi) sane!
Boundaries shouldn’t be seen as something negative, or as a means of controlling our kids. Kids should be raised to form opinions, and should exercise the right to feel and express them freely. However, they need to learn that they can’t always get their way. They need to learn to respect others by having established boundaries in place.
When establishing healthy boundaries remember to:
- Be consistent
- Let them have and voice an opinion
- Choose battles wisely
- Explain to them what the boundaries are and why we should respect them
- Encourage them when they do listen and encourage positive behaviour
When they push your buttons, try not react out of an emotional space or take any of it personally. Always try to remain calm – even if that means stepping into another room and taking a few breaths before returning!
The importance and benefits of healthy boundaries
- It prepares them for the real world.
- It teaches them about respecting others.
- It gives them a sense of order.
- It teaches them to feel confident when handling responsibilities.
- Rules and boundaries allows our children to feel safe.
What we do today with our children sets them up for a better tomorrow and future. Parenting is fun and all kinds of magical. It is also challenging, as we are raising little people with their own unique personalities, whilst teaching them to be well-balanced individuals. So take heart and know that all of us parents are in the same boat feeling very similar things. All we can do is our best, and know that tomorrow is another opportunity to press refresh and do the best that we can for our little ones.