Lots of parents ask me, how do I set boundaries with my child?

It is a HUGE topic and one I’ve chosen to explore from my internal experience. Early on I saw how much easier it was to bind my daughter and her behavior than to take responsibility for setting my healthy boundaries.

The question entered my mind: What if I don’t need to bind and limit her?

Knowing as a child I didn’t like being bound I turned inward inquiring into why I was choosing to bind her instead of expressing what I was or was not willing to offer.

What I found was a refusal to set my healthy personal boundary because I’d been taught it was selfish to do so.

I was choosing to limit and bind my daughter instead of tolerating my discomfort when setting my personal boundary.

I was refusing to FEEL selfish and unsupportive so instead, I chose to make her the demanding entitled one who I needed to bind.

It was both enlightening to see this truth and also a bit daunting to explore another way of being.

My definition of a healthy boundary became “What is OK with me or not OK with me about how I treat myself” instead of “What is OK with me or not OK with me about how others treat me.” This alone turned my world upside down.

Discovering how self-aggressive I was to my needs especially when my daughter exhibited behavior that triggers discomfort inside, was painful to witness.

I told myself “I am a bad mom,” “I’ve failed my daughter”, “Something is wrong with me that I can’t get her to behave”….on and on I heard the voices that convinced me I needed to bind her.

Instead, I chose to turn inside and take ownership of how I was treating myself.

When my daughter was doing something that I perceived as unhealthy or triggered discomfort inside (such a watching too much computer) my first reaction was to limit and bind her. If I could get her to STOP the behavior then I was a “good mom”, a “successful mom”, “I was right”. I needed to bind her so I could be kind to myself. Now, that was a HUGE insight.

Slowing everything down noticing when I perceived behavior that triggered discomfort inside I deeply listened to the stories I believed to be true about ME. Questioning those stories of self-aggression I saw they were not true. Once this was clear I released my daughter from being the cause of my discomfort and realized it was an inside job.

I was terrified to claim that my needs were as important as hers welcoming her desires and truly only giving what I freely felt to offer. As I did though, clarity arose and I stepped out of the role of giving my daughter permission to be herself. I came alongside her supporting her exploration into knowing herself.

 

 

Listen to Podcast Episode 76: “Setting Healthy Personal Boundaries”