There are 5 obstacles to effective Boundaries:
Depending on the child. As parents, we have to be careful of “needing” our children to fulfill our unmet needs. This can cause a lot of problems for the child as they grow. It can also lead to manipulation by the child, as they learn to get what they want by withholding their ability to meet the parents needs. Parents need to find ways to have their needs met that don’t include their children if they want to grow healthy children.
Over-identifying with the child. A parent’s painful feelings are not always the child’s painful feelings. When a child falls, it might be more traumatizing to the parent than to the child. A child who doesn’t make the basketball team might not need a parent to talk with the coach. Failing a test doesn’t mean the parent should intervene and get the teacher to ease up on the child. Allow the child to determine the level of their need. If we over-identify with the child, we may not be allowing a child to pick him or herself up after a defeat to move forward. We may end up creating an adult who can’t handle their own problems.
Thinking love & separateness are enemies. As parents, we are going to disagree with our children. It’s a given. We are not going to like everything they like. And we are going to have to confront them from time to time about their actions. Doing this does not mean we don’t love them. Love is always there no matter the circumstances. We want to help create children who grow up to be adults who can stand their ground regardless of whether or not the world around them thinks they are wrong. We want children who can think for themselves not because the parent is right beside them.
Ignoring & zapping. You know how when we bottle up our feelings inside and then after a time we just can’t hold them in and we blow? This is not a good way to deal with a child. It ends up being worse than the situation demanded. Dealing with the issue with your child right then is much better than pushing it back and back and then blowing up. If we can get a handle on this, we will be raising children who can problem solve.
Being worn down. This is a tough one. How do we keep ourselves from being worn down, tired, stressed, beaten. Well, if you figure this out, please let me know. But somehow we have to find out what works for us because having kids and being worn down don’t go so well together. Are there certain routines you can put in place that can give you some downtime so that you can be refreshed before dealing with the kids. Even 15 minutes of resting your eyelids could help you deal with a tantrum. Or giving the kids a 30 minute playground time before heading home from school might just give you and them the added de-stressor they need before dinner and homework. Learning to do this and teaching your children to do this will help them as they become adults as they put these practices into their lives.