Don’t Expect Them to be Thrilled About Boundaries

We talk a great deal about setting limits and boundaries here in the Parenting blog, as well as how to go about setting and adjusting rules. We also talk about those common parenting problems of power struggles and battles of will that can be ordinary life events—not very pleasant, but ordinary. It probably doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves that even when we set the most reasonable of boundaries or limits, we can expect that our children might not be too happy about it! I think the fact that kids balk and complain about parental rule setting is what makes many … Continue reading

Boundaries 101 For Older Kids (and Their Parents)

I tend to write about my personal “boundary” philosophies when it comes to parenting now and again. The reality is that I find this subject comes up again and again when I am talking with friends. They may not realize that their “problem” with their kids is really about setting boundaries—but it often is. And, it doesn’t stop when kids grow up and move out—in fact I have found with my friends with older kids (in their 20’s and 30’s)—the boundary issues can be even stronger and more of a struggle! As usual, I want to clarify that I am … Continue reading

Setting Boundaries in the Face of Opposition

It would be fantastic if parenting came with absolute support and encouragement, wouldn’t it? And wouldn’t it be wonderful if our children took direction and guidance with a big, hearty “thank you” instead of the inevitable balking, resentment, and resistance that seems to be more the norm? Many of us feel rather secure with our limit-setting and establishing of boundaries “on paper”–but it can be harder to stick to our guns in the line of fire… Setting limits and boundaries with our children is important–we know this–but it becomes tough when our kids are pushing back, family members and friends … Continue reading

Are You Being too Vague?

You may think that you are so bonded with your kids that the should be able to gather you meaning from just a look or a word; or maybe you are feeling too harried to explain what you want them to do. Our children, however, need us to be as clear, concise and direct as possible. Being too vague can cause problems in terms of limit-setting, discipline and expectations. You might be surprised what can come across as vague to your children. For example, when you say something like “Behave” or “Were you good?” you might think you are being … Continue reading

Finding a Mix between Warmth and Firmness

We talk a lot about limits and boundaries here in the Parents blog, as well as maintaining consistency, but I do believe that the best of parents have a great mix of warmth and tenderness AND firmness. And, I do think it is possible to be both with our children. Believe it or not, I do think we can be warm and loving at the very moments we are setting very firm boundaries and clear expectations. We do not have to be mean or overly stern in order to get our children to understand that we mean business. Of course, … Continue reading

Ask Yourself: “Is it Worth the Trouble?”

We’ve talked about picking one’s battles with children here in the Parents blog and we’ve talked about power struggles and all sorts of other “struggles”–not to mention all the different times that family life calls for letting go. But, what about those times when giving in and letting go ARE NOT the orders of the day? What about those times when digging in and holding one’s own as a parent is really the best thing to do? Sometimes, fighting those battles really is worth all the stress and trouble… While I can think of plenty of times when I have … Continue reading

Being a Responsible Dog Owner

Today is Responsible Dog Ownership Day, which I believe was started by the American Kennel Club. If you live in or near New York City or Raleigh, North Carolina you might already be aware of the AKC events schedule there today. But those won’t be the only ones. According to the AKC website, last year over 350 clubs and organizations held Responsible Dog Ownership Day events. The AKC has a link on their website where you can select your state to find events near you. The purpose is to educate pet parents on all manner of thing with events like: … Continue reading

What Influences Your Parenting Style?

I’ve had people try to assess me before and tell me what my parenting “style” seemed to be. I tend to not think in terms of labels and can definitely see some paradoxes—ways in which I am conservative and other ways that I am pretty liberal and loose. What is really interesting to me is HOW we get to be the parents we are and where our influences come from that help us evolve into the style and type of parent we are… Some of my parenting certainly came from the way I was parented. HOWEVER, I think some of … Continue reading

Are You Falling Into the Martyr Trap?

You may have been led to believe that parenthood and martyrdom are synonymous. Perhaps, you often find yourself giving up and giving in the course of family life. It’s one thing to be willing to make the necessary commitments and sacrifices that parenting requires, it’s quite another if you use those sacrifices as a means to control or manipulate family members. How do you know if you are one, and what can you do if you find yourself often playing the martyr? However you slice it, martyrdom in the family is not a good thing. By assuming the role of … Continue reading