I have four babes now and I can tell you that I too struggled with this when I first became a mama to my oldest daughter (who is now five.) Whenever she would get upset (which was often as a toddler), I’d feel like I was failing. Messing her up. I didn’t want to crush her spirit or turn her against me. I’d fear her outbursts + push back, which made me act out in ways that were not beneficial to our relationship. I became very passive in my parenting, letting her take the reigns.
I’ve since learned my children crave limitations. To put them in charge of everything is a lot of pressure, and that pressure reveals itself in a ton of behavioral challenges. It says “I’m confused, who is the boss? This makes me feel scared.”
I now know how to be a confident leader, but I had to work through a lot of my own stuff. I have clear boundaries and am not afraid to have needs that are different than my child’s. I don’t fear conflict with my children, and as a former peace keeper, this was a big one. I’ve shown them that connection and love isn’t just happy feelings all the time. It’s working through disagreements without fearing abandonment or being disliked. It shows them that I can handle all their emotions, even the loud, snotty, messy ones. We are resilient.
It started with my own healing, and learning to trust myself so that our relationship could flourish. It took practice, honoring my feelings AND theirs. I no longer take how they react personally. I set boundaries and within those limits there is some wiggle room for them to have independence, creativity + a sense of control. I’m empowered, so they can feel empowered. We all feel safe, seen and accepted.
What are your questions/challenges/concerns when it comes to boundaries with children? How confident/practiced are you setting limits with your kiddos?
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