As parents we spend much of our time setting boundaries with our children. Sometimes we worry about how our children feel about us as we are the disciplinarians, asking them to come home on time, clean their rooms, etc. Well they may not always be happy with us, but in the long run they will be so happy that we set boundaries and encouraged them to be self disciplined, responsible adults. Our role is not one of being a friend or companion, but one of being a parent. Not always an easy task, but one of the most important things we can do.
One thing we do want to do is remind our children that we love them and that is why we set boundaries and keep them safe. So one strategy is to combine our boundary setting with words of love.
“Your return time for tonight is 9:00 pm. I know that seems early. But as it is a school night, I want you to be fresh and alert for tomorrow. I love you and want the best for you.”
“Only two cookies please. I know you want more, but I want you to stay healthy and strong. You are important to me and I care about your body.”
“I cannot let you hit your sister. You will need to use your words. I want you to know how to solve problems peacefully. You are so special to me, I want the best for you.”
“I don’t like how you are talking to me. It feels disrespectful. I want you to find another way to tell me what you are upset about. I respect you and want you to respect me also.”
Yes this takes more time and thought. But it is so worth it. Not only will your children be more inclined to be cooperative, but they will also know you love them. And don’t all children need and want this. It is a win win – communicating boundaries with words of love.