Episode #28:

Setting Better Boundaries


Setting boundaries with our kids is a tricky, tricky dance. We’re always trying to find the balance between overly authoritarian (i.e. setting boundaries just to show we are the ones “in control”) and overly permissive (i.e. not setting limits because we’re afraid of how our kid might respond).

I wish there was a formula I could share that gets it right all the time. But the truth is your boundaries are going shift depending on what you and your kid are experiencing in the moment.

And that’s ok.

Family life gets messy and we need to be flexible.

But here’s the number one thing to remember when you’re wondering if you should set a limit with your kid:

“How will I feel if I say yes?”

If saying yes (yes you can have the cookie, yes you can have 10 more minutes of ipad time, yes you can play for 10 more minutes before bed) means that you will feel frustrated, annoyed or worst case scenario – resentful of your kid – then the answer is clear.

Set the limit.

If you can say yes joyfully and freely, then go for it. But if you’re only saying yes to prevent a meltdown, remember – it’s better for your kid to have a meltdown because you said no, then it is for you to have a meltdown because you said yes.

We set boundaries to protect our relationship with our kid. We set boundaries to prevent ourselves from burning out and screaming later. We set boundaries because if we say yes when we want to say no, we end up an angry and resentful parent, which is much more damaging to a kid than losing 10 minutes on the playground.

On today’s “Good Enough Parenting” podcast, I share a story of saying yes when I should have said no, and how it led to a flipped game board and an out of control mom.

I don’t always get it right but at least I’m learning when I get it wrong. And that’s good enough.