The Five Pillars to Positive Parenting / 2
Create a happy family environment by setting your kids up with some healthy boundaries
By Mona Andrei
July 18, 2023
Welcome back to our series on positive parenting. In our previous article, we explored the first pillar of positive parenting, bonding through laughter, and its benefits, including how humour strengthens our relationships with our children, can be used to diffuse tension, and how humour creates a positive and nurturing environment.
Now, get ready to unleash your superhero parenting skills as we dive into the second pillar: setting boundaries with a twist.
The goal – and what every parent wants – is to create a happy family environment. One that would even make Superwoman proud. So put on your cape and get ready to promote growth, self-discipline, and mutual respect by setting your kids up with some healthy boundaries!
Everything I’m sharing through this series on positive parenting comes from my real-life experiences and journey as a parent. That said, I’ve made my share of rookie mistakes. Let me tell you about the time my father told me that I needed to “put my foot down.” At the time, I was a young mom, and my father was referring to one of my children whom we’ll call my wild child.
There’s a thick, black Sharpie line between setting boundaries and breaking someone’s spirit.
As we all know, our children do not come with a set of instructions. But the truth is that even if they did, no human is born with a cookie-cutter temperament. And out of my four children, my wild child was quite the handful. From mealtime to bedtime, I admittedly struggled with her strong personality. But how did I respond all those years ago when my father suggested that I put my foot down?
“I don’t want to break her spirit.” *forehead slap*
Today, I know better. There’s a thick, black Sharpie line between setting boundaries and breaking someone’s spirit. And while there’s a lot of truth behind the concept of “picking your battles,” children do need restrictions and rules. I’ve since learned that it is within the confines of our parental boundaries and family routines that children feel safe and loved.
‘Boundaries provide structure and guidance for our children, teaching them about acceptable behavior, personal responsibility, and consequences.’
In case you’re wondering how my wild child ended up, she has since grown up to be a caring, conscientious adult. But as you may have guessed, her teenage years were difficult.
- Sleepless nights, staring up at my ceiling, wondering where she is. Check.
- Attitude. Oh yeah.
- Calls from her school principal. Yup.
Here’s what I’ve learned about the importance of setting boundaries for our kids as early in their young lives as possible:
Boundaries provide structure and guidance for our children, teaching them about acceptable behavior, personal responsibility, and consequences. That said, traditional approaches to setting boundaries often involve strict rules and punishment. Positive parenting takes a different approach, combining clear expectations with empathy, understanding, and flexibility.
Following are a few tips on how you can implement boundaries in your parenting style while incorporating the concept of positive parenting.
COMMUNICATE EXPECTATIONS WITH CLARITY
When setting boundaries, it is essential to communicate your expectations clearly to your child. Use age-appropriate language and explain why certain boundaries are in place. By helping children understand the reasons behind the rules, they are more likely to accept and internalize them. Encourage open dialogue, allowing your child to express their thoughts and concerns, and be open to revisiting and adjusting boundaries as needed.
Positive parenting emphasizes collaboration and cooperation between parents and children. Rather than imposing rules military-style, involve your child in the decision-making process when appropriate. For example, let them have a say in determining their bedtime routine or allocating responsibilities within the household. By involving them in decision-making, you empower your child and foster a sense of ownership and accountability.
USE NATURAL AND LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES
Positive parenting focuses on natural and logical consequences rather than punishment. Natural consequences are the direct outcomes that naturally occur as a result of a child’s actions. For instance, if a child refuses to eat their dinner, they may feel hungry later. This is a perfect opportunity to say, “Well, you should have finished your mashed potatoes.”
TEACH PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS
Positive parenting involves teaching children problem-solving skills to help them navigate challenges and make responsible decisions. Encourage your child to brainstorm and explore different solutions when they encounter problems. Guide them through the process of evaluating the pros and cons of each option and making informed choices. By involving children in problem-solving, you promote their autonomy and confidence in decision-making.
MODEL BOUNDARIES AND SELF-CONTROL
Children learn by observing their parents’ behavior. To effectively teach boundaries, parents must model the behaviors they expect from their children. Demonstrate self-control, empathy, and respect in your interactions. Show your child how to handle challenging situations calmly and assertively. When you make a mistake, own it and apologize, demonstrating the importance of taking responsibility and learning from errors.
‘Children learn by observing their parents’ behavior. To effectively teach boundaries, parents must model the behaviors they expect from their children.’
Setting boundaries with a twist is an integral part of positive parenting. By combining clear expectations with empathy and collaboration, parents can create a harmonious family environment where children learn to navigate boundaries responsibly.
Remember to communicate expectations clearly, involve children in decision-making, use natural and logical consequences, teach problem-solving skills, and model boundaries and self-control. By incorporating these strategies, you will foster a sense of security, understanding, and mutual respect within your family.
In the next article of this series, we’ll tackle Pillar #3: Decode, Connect, Communicate. Get ready to unlock the power of effective communication skills with your child. Until then, embrace the power of setting boundaries with a twist and watch as your family flourishes with love, understanding, and growth.
Image: Monstera Pexels.com
Mona Andrei is an award-winning humour blogger, columnist, and author. In her most recent book, SUPERWOMAN: A Funny and Reflective Look at Single Motherhood, she shares her challenges and triumphs as a single mother as well as those of other single mothers. You can connect with Mona on Twitter.