136: How to Set Loving Limits with your Children, Part 1 // Dr. Katie Penry
From the beginning of my children’s lives, I’ve cared deeply about being a loving, empathetic, positive parent. I’ve read lots of books about parenting without shame and focusing on the good within my kids–and I feel like I do that well–but as my kids have gotten older, I am starting to recognize more and more that an area I struggle with is setting limits with my kids.
I like to think that I’m a consistent parent, that I’m not too much of a pushover...but then sometimes I see the ways that my children behave out in the world, and I cringe, realizing that I have definitely been too permissive, and honestly, that’s not fair to my kids. They need a parent who has insisted upon respectful limits.
So is it possible to be both a positive parent who guides my children without shame AND a firm parent who holds them to consistent and important boundaries? Of course it is. But it’s so much easier said than done, and I feel like this is an area that isn’t all that clearly flushed out within the literature on positive parenting.
In this episode, which is Part 1 of a two-part series, Katie and I discuss how to decide on the limits that you want for your children, based on your unique values, limitations, and hopes:
Three Takeaways for Deciding on your Limits
1. Define your Values: What are the non-negotiables for our family to protect our kid's physical and emotional health and teach them to be in relationship with others?
2. Identify your Personal Limitations: How much noise, stress, interaction, time in the car, risk, public scrutiny, etc can I handle if I am going to stay in a mental space that will allow me to parent from the best that’s within me?
3. Write out your Hopes for your Child: What do I believe makes a successful and well-behaved child? Which parts of this do I want to hold firmly through creating a thoughtful boundary for my children, and which parts do I want to let go of after considering their temperaments?
>>> For a worksheet to go through these three categories, click here. <<<
Key Quotes from the Episode
“Limits are an expression of love."
"Just because a behavior is normal does not mean it's acceptable."
"Boundaries that are anchored in values are so much easier to enforce.”
“When your boundaries reflect your own personal limitations, they can actually protect you from undue stress and help you yell less.
"Try to help your kid not trigger you. And you work on your triggers. Let's work on this as a family."
“Imagine a narrative about the prototypical, well-behaved child. Go ahead and write it out, as detailed as you can. And then look at it and wonder, ‘Is this actually reasonable?’ Because you will subconsciously attach yourself to those hopes and those expectations.”