Progressive Parenting Secret #3: Boundaries

Progressive parenting isn’t permissive parenting.  “Anything goes”  tends to leave children feeling unsafe, without being able to predict how the one they trust most will behave. It isn’t extreme, overbearing or permissive. Progressive parenting simply blends what we know of a child’s cognition and personality with an ethic of compassion and respect for our children, ourselves, and the planet. Boundaries are an integral part of learning respect.

Boundaries. A better word for rules because nobody likes to follow rules (least of all me!!) Though some of us may even come to parenting after a history of punk or anarchist leanings (or just artistic independent tendencies), most of us will have learned that even we function better with some parameters for our work and relationships.

Most of us have learned that healthy boundaries serve us, even if we are not perfect yet at establishing our own or respecting other’s boundaries. Our children are watching us try.  Those of us who have been parenting for a while or work with children have seen the peaceful difference some boundaries make.

gluehands

The First Step is Looking at Yourself. The example you want for your children to follow is of course (in the vain of Progressive Parenting Secret #1: Modeling), is to practice making and setting good boundaries in your own life. Protecting your sanity, time and body from encroaching co-workers, partners, family members  and even some of your children’s behaviors is one if the finest lessons you may ever teach by example. This includes not letting our children harm us (knowing how to compassionately curb hair pulling, biting etc), and making sure our relationship with our partner is respectful.

Does housework happen all day tirelessly or is there a time it ends and you focus on the children? What about turning off the cell phone? What about stopping what you are doing to show love to your partner who has just come home? (this is the one I’ve been working on!)

The Second Step is Listening and Watching when your child sets his or her own boundaries with you. This starts with reflecting back with “I hear you” language and narrating the scenario when your child says “No” to you and learning to keep our hands off of a child who does not want to be coerced or who has said NO (unless they or another is in danger and you must stop or move them). We must listen, slow down and spend less time belaboring our point and give more space in the challenging times.

The Third Step  is Creating and Communicating family and personal boundaries to your children (and to the other caregivers in your life.) It’s funny that I have the actual discipline of boundaries all the way down at step 3, I know. I just feel that we must set the stage for respect before we begin to suddenly introduce new rules or suddenly start enforcing old ones. Once we are a good role model and a good listener, we can sit down and think about what bothers us, what sets us off and how to clearly and compassionately communicate what we will and will not allow our children to do to us, around us, to others and in our shared home.

Write it down. Write down what you want, what you would like to change. Parenting partners and caregivers should have a meeting to get on the same page including using same process and the same language to stop dangerous or harm behaviors. “Stop. I cannot let you hit me. Hitting hurts and is not okay in our family. You may touch me gently like this…” (I teach gentle, effective discipline techniques! Please contact me if you need help.)

The Fourth Step is Consistency. Consistency is Progressive Parenting Secret #4 and is coming to you soon! Hint: It’s the clear, communicative and near-constant implementation of your boundaries with your children, even when it feels inconvenient in the moment. It’s also the absolute most difficult challenge of the early years and the most quickly rewarding. See you back here soon!

Secret Number 1: http://mamalady.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/progressive-parenting-secret-1-extreme-modeling/

Secret Number 2: http://mamalady.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/progressive-parenting-secret-2-extreme-listening/

Love, Moorea  www.savvyparentingsupport.com

About these ads

About mooreamalatt

Moorea Malatt is the founder of SavvyParentingSupport.com, an online resource for gentle and naturally-minded early parenting challenges. Moorea is an expert in gentle (and early) potty learning, gentle sleep learning and gentle discipline. Moorea is the author of online learning programs, books and blogs. She leads sold-out workshops and provides private phone consults. Moorea is an event speaker in the specific areas of potty, gentle discipline and sleep learning without Cry-It-Out. As a parent, she overcame severe sleep deprivation due to her daughter’s sleep disorder, enjoyed gentle early potty learning tremendously and revels in parenting gently with clear boundaries and respect and consistency. Moorea has 20 years of experience with parents and young children as a preschool teacher, certified postpartum doula, infant and overnight nanny, creative life coach, and religious educator in Jewish, Buddhist and Christian settings. She enjoys horticulture and greening, birding, snorkeling and marine biology, and crafting imperfectly. She cannot cook worth beans, but enjoys a good sugar-free baking science experiment. Moorea also wrote, sang and played guitar on an album of songs called, “Whip It Out: Songs for Breastfeeding“. She was the owner, director and curriculum designer of Genius: A Baby Academy in Seattle before moving to Berkeley, CA where she coaches parents from all over the globe, teaches local classes and is one of three fabulous 3 mompreneurs creating Grow, a new and exciting pregnancy and parenting resource in the San Francisco Bay Area.
This entry was posted in Gentle Discipline. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Progressive Parenting Secret #3: Boundaries

  1. Pingback: Progressive Parenting Secret #2: Extreme Listening | MamaLady

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s