As you know, we are a family of three. We did not have a good idea about parenting. I (Dear Mom) thought I will grow an ‘instinct’, a ‘motherly instinct’ to be precise, with the birth of Dear Son. That did happen; Dear Son’s cry would trigger a primitive sense of panic unlike anything else I have ever experienced. Other than that, there was an astounding level of non-instincts.
I gave up
So, I thought I should work on ‘developing’ instinct. I started reading parenting books. I discovered there were different types of parenting. By different I mean many different types, not just 2 or 3 types. I tend to trust everything I read in printed form – a bad idea. Initially I felt lost reading so many different ideas. Each idea was like a voice; it was a cacophony. I gave up. Parenting was not my cup of tea. Dear Son was going to grow up as a modern-day Tarzan. By the way, where is Tarzan? He used to be popular.
Nope, I do not give up that easily
Except that, I don’t easily give up on others. And this is our child. I needed to have some kind of parenting in place. In all the books, there was a common theme – set up clear boundaries. I thought, huh, it’s about time Dear Son gets to know what boundaries mean.
The story of setting boundaries 🙂
Here is the story about setting up boundaries and the lesson I got from this experience. TL;DR: Dear Son taught me a lesson instead of me teaching him a lesson on boundaries. 🙂
Dear Son started scribbling around a year and a half mark. He started scribbling on papers, quickly moving on to furniture and walls. I thought, there needs to be some limit on boundaries, ahem, walls. So, walls were off-limit. Explained real well to Dear Son, that walls were off-limit, no writing on walls. He got the message very well, much too well I am afraid. Never drew a line on walls or anything else for that matter!
More than a year goes by. Our walls are sparkly clean. I am happy, seems like Dear Son is happy; I deem the walls were happy too. Then I notice, yes – it takes me a long time to notice the obvious things, he is not scribbling! Genius that I am, I start thinking, why is he not scribbling like a usual 3 year old?
After enough soul-searching (!), I had the light-bulb moment! He loved to scribble, I set the boundary, and he followed. So, after a lot of coaxing, hand-holding, different types of crayons, papers, coloring books, pencils, pens, markers, slats and chalks, and hands on demonstrations of writing, wait for it, on walls, he started scribbling again! Thank god, disaster averted. Well, at least for now!
So, my lesson is setting boundaries need to be done carefully. We set strict boundaries on things that can cause physical harm (fire, electricity). We are also strict about respecting people and environment. Other than these, our boundaries are pretty flexible now-a-days. We model the behavior we would like to see and that’s about it.
Now, do we do a good job modeling ideal behavior? That’s another story. I can talk more about that probably after finishing up another episode of The Gilmore Girls on Netflix at 1 AM on a weekday!