kids do want boundaries!
Parenthood is a learning experience. If I had not learned that fact by yesterday, yesterday alone would have done it. 🙂
People talk about ’em a lot, enforce them not so often. C’mon, you know you’re guilty too. Just think about that last diet you attempted… my boundary line in front of the Twizzler bag dissolved one fateful afternoon when I just NEEDED a little something sweet…
Boundaries & kids tend to draw pretty big reactions. To have them, to not have them… that is the question. My opinion. HAVE THEM. Why? Because, kids want them.
Yesterday my 5-going-on-15 year old daughter reinforced this fact. I went upstairs to discover that her room was a MESS. Like can’t-see-the-floor mess. Now, my daughter takes after me in a lot of ways, but cleanliness is not one of them. I freak out when a mess that large exists; I really can’t take it. She, though, loves to burrow in stuff.
Upon seeing the mess, I took a deep breath and let her know that it was time to clean up. Her brothers, who had contributed to the mess were also helping out with the clean-up process.
The boys started joyfully throwing toys into their correct buckets.
The girl started in with the whining. And then she whined, and whined. Repeatedly told me how she doesn’t LIKE cleaning up. She doesn’t LIKE picking up toys. Ad nauseum.
I finally reached the point that I just let her know she had a choice, either clean-up with a happy heart (since that was part of her job as a member of this family), or continue whining, and get all of her toys taken out of her room.
I then asked her to pick something up for me.
She responded, “uh-uhhh” (as in, NO).
So, I began the toy removal process, and all the while she screamed & cried her little face splotchy.
By the end, I told her that I would talk to her about this, and we did. I explained that she would be able to earn her things back, but she would have to be caught doing something helpful without being asked. Each act = 1 sticker, 5 stickers = a toy.
By the end of the night, she told me (and this is the girl who LOVES going to kindergarten at her school),
“Mommy, I just love you so much. You are the best mommy. I wish you were my teacher”.
Kids like boundaries. Even if they don’t admit it, they do. It let’s them know that you care about what they do, that you are watching out for them.