Parenting: the power and peril of setting boundaries

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!

Dear Son scribbling happily on the wall.

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!

Lesson learnt

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!

Settle in Paso team
Prompts: Wanderlust, Knackered



Comments

11 thoughts on “Parenting: the power and peril of setting boundaries

  1. Boundaries and consequences. When my son was in Sr. Kindergarten he just did not want to get dressed on time to get to school. I would help him choose what to wear and then he was supposed to get himself dressed. But often that would not happen then we would be late and running up the road to the school. So one day I just said “I see you have chosen not to get dressed. OK, I’ll just put your clothes into a bag and we can go to school as you are ( in pajamas).” So that is what we did. When we arrived his teacher asked him ” Do you want to stay in your pj’s today or would you like to get dressed?” He chose to get dressed. He was always dressed on time after that. giving the choice did not always work and once given I had to follow through on it but it sure helped when he was older to set boundaries. Parenting is Very Difficult. You are doing a good job!
    1. Thank you for a lovely comment and the anecdote. Goes to show that sometimes we need to let them go through the consequences of their decision. Dear Son is going to elementary later this year. We will see how he copes with the morning rush 🙂
    2. That was clever! I don’t have children, but know plenty of parents so I’m going to pass this along to them.
    1. Agreed. Thank you for sharing the link. I read your post. It is fantastic. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.
  2. I feel boundaries are very important for all ages. Perhaps it gives a sense of security and freedom – thus far and no further. On a different note, while parenting I think I learned more than I taught my son 😀
    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. Yes, boundaries are important for all ages. I just feel that sometimes I might be overdoing it for Dear Son. You have explained it so nicely — it is a learning experience for parents. Have a wonderful weekend!
    1. I definitely feel that patenting a teenage kid will have another level of challenge. I appreciate your visit and comment. Thank you for the Liebster Award nomination! It is an honor. Have a wonderful week ahead.

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