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Stop feeling guilty about setting boundaries with your children!

mental models parenting Aug 31, 2022

 

 Empathy as a Parenting Tool: The Importance of Setting Boundaries

Empathy is a crucial tool in connecting with our children, but it is not synonymous with yielding to their every demand. As adults, it is our responsibility to demonstrate that boundaries must be respected in life, whether these are legal boundaries or simply a person's private space. Although it is natural to feel guilty when a child pushes back against boundaries we set, it is important to avoid caving in, as this is not in anyone's best interest.

Our upbringing can play a significant role in where we draw the line when it comes to rules and boundaries, so it is essential to reflect on our own experiences. Similarly, our children's struggles to come to terms with boundaries are expected and should be anticipated. We need to be prepared for pushback and provide a clear rationale if questioned about certain rules, but we should also not be surprised if our kids whine or complain. Expecting some degree of resistance is normal and a part of the learning process, but it is important to remain level-headed and reflective rather than overly reactive.

In dealing with our children's emotions, it is essential to empathize with their feelings and thoughts, allowing them to emote and express themselves. However, we must also be firm in maintaining boundaries, providing a rationale for our decisions and avoiding shaming or humiliating them. Once we have explained ourselves, it is crucial to move on, rather than dwelling on the issue. This models resilience and demonstrates that challenges can be overcome.

Here are five essential things to keep in mind while setting boundaries:

  1. Empathize with your child's emotions and perceptions.
  2. Allow your child space to express themselves, acknowledging their pain.
  3. Be firm but warm.
  4. Make your case and move on, avoiding repeating or lecturing.
  5. Take time for reflection and discussion, praising your child for their efforts.

If you're struggling to navigate your child's emotional storms while maintaining your relationship, check out our free resource on how to more effectively discipline and raise kids.

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