Loving Limits is one of the hardest things to do for me in parenting (and in life, for that matter). I always lack on the loving side, my limits tend to be too harsh. After finding Aware Parenting, I also sensed I was setting too many boundaries, so I created a bit of a guideline which helps me question my reasons: is this rule really necessary?
The guideline suggests only to set limits when:
a) children are hurting or can potentially hurt themselves, their health or another person, or when they are damaging things.
b) I have a basic need (food, rest…), and if it’s not met, I am not honouring myself. As an abused child, this is a very familiar occurrence, and I am struggling to ascertain where the healthy boundaries are, the place where we all win.
Under the first set of circumstances is easier to see if the rule or boundary is necessary or not, although even there, there is a lot of room for manoeuvre and setting limits that can be spared. Yet the second set of circumstances offers even a blurrier guideline, and this is where my greatest challenge lies.
So I often wade, neck-high, in questions: Is this a reasonable limit? Am I imposing myself? How can I set a boundary without violence? Can I just drop this? Where is the healthy balance between their no and mine? How can I do this so they feel I am actually on their side? Am I feeling overflowing with compassion and love as I say no? Why is this particular limit important?
At times, I even drown in these questions. Yet, I am also finding great, inspiring and revolutionary answers. Not formulas of the type of “do this and you’ll be all right every time”, but of the sort of “this is how to sense into the situation and find your perfect answer”. This is my greatest passion: finding a way of honouring my truth without perpetuating the cycles of violence in the world; finding the win-win. If you are interested in this, too, come and join me on Thursdays for a discussion in which I share some of my learnings and we can practice together!
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