(continued from page 4)

At this age my concern is safety. At this age my concern is teaching courtesy (not expecting it, but teaching and modeling it).

And the more relaxed I can remain the better things go.


But, what if they break a rule? How do I handle that?


My answer to this is always, “I have very few rules and I make sure he doesn’t cross the boundaries or get anywhere near breaking the rules.” The thing about “making rules” is you have to enforce them. And, as we all know, rules were made to be broken.

One thing about boundaries is that we often don’t know we have them until they’ve been crossed. When that happens, it becomes our responsibility to make a note of them, at what point we became uncomfortable, and what we will do to prevent this next time.

For example, when Liam was two he used to want to sit in my lap while I was on the computer. Within five minutes, every time, he was trying to climb onto my head. If I let him on my lap, he went for my head. My boundary became, “You may not sit on my lap while I’m at the computer. You may stand next to me and cuddle me, you may pull a chair up and sit by me, but you may not be on my lap while I’m at the computer.” Simple, non-negotiable, and about me. Boundaries are not controlling – they are for keeping me safe/sane/focused: You may not talk to me while I’m writing a check. If you do, I will not listen; If you ask me for something while I’m on the phone, the answer is no. I will
reconsider when I am off the phone; You may not watch certain shows because I do not approve of them. You may not watch other shows because I don’t like how they affect your behavior; You may not eat certain foods because they make you sick.
There is no power play with these boundaries. It’s simply a statement of the way it is. I do not like that tone of voice, I will not respond positively to it; I will not be around someone abusing my body. If you bite me while nursing I will put you down.

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