“I do so much for my children and they just don’t appreciate it. They only think about themselves. Sometimes I feel like I’m just here to give them what they want. Why don’t they think about me?”
When you think this way, there is a good chance that you have not set clear personal boundaries.
A personal boundary differs from a rule or limit. You set a boundary on what you will or will not do and a rule or limit on what you want your children to do or not to do. You are controlling your own behavior in response to what your child does rather than directly trying to control your child’s behavior.
Here are examples of boundaries:
“I’m not able to drive you to the store now.”
“I will make dinner after the kitchen is cleaned.”
“I’ll give you an answer after you ask nicely.”
“It’s too late for me to play a game with you.”
“I won’t pay $70 for shoes. I’ll give you $35 towards the shoes.”
Each boundary statement focuses on your needs and actions.
Rather than trying to get power over your child, you are taking control over yourself. The final goal is the same. However, the boundary setting approach is more respectful to both of you and avoids power struggles as long as you stay the course.
Do you find boundary setting challenging?
If you do, you are not alone.
If you start out with a boundary statement and give in to negative reactions from your kids, then you’ll end up in an argument. Setting boundaries starts with courage and develops confidence once you see the positive results.
What boundary are you good at setting?
Copyright 2015 Cynthia Klein, bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com 650.679.8138. Cynthia changes family interactions from conflict to cooperation. If you are feeling stuck, give her a call to learn what you are doing that isn’t working and how to fix it.