Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mom Tip #66: Set Boundaries!

**Editorial Note: While I understand that not ALL only children or children of divorced parents have issues with boundaries, the child in question is both. If your child fits one of those molds and does not fit my issue - a million kudos to you for being a rocking parent. If your child is neither and fits my issue - you need a swift kick in the rear.**

For the love of all things holy fellow parents, set some boundaries for your children. Not all behavior is acceptable.

Let's talk about this. If I walked into your home, strolled into one of your bedrooms, opened a dresser drawer and threw the contents all over the room, would it be acceptable? If I grabbed your purse or wallet and proceeded to distribute the contents to the four winds, would it be allowed? What if I pooped in the middle of your living room floor and then bit you on the leg?

The good news for you is that I don't behave like that. Would you like to know why? Because my parents taught me from a very young age that not only is it wrong in my own house, but it is even more rude, devestating and embarassing in someone else's. Can I share a little news flash with you? My children will not be doing it in your house if they come to visit. Would you like to know why? Because I have taught them that it is completely wrong to act that way in our house and incredibly rude, devestating and embarassing in someone else's house.

I have been spending time with a child who apparently has not been taught these things. This child happens to be an only child and the product of a newly divorced home. While I understand that both parents feel like they should allow a little leniency to "make up for their issues" I don't condone it. You want to make it up to her? Teach her to say please and thank you instead of "gimmee" and "I want." Teach her to share - not snatch. Teach her to wait her turn instead of bulldozing everyone out of her way. Teach her that destroying someone else's property is hurtful and rude.

But let me give you one more tip. Back your boundaries up. If you are setting boundaries, reinforce them when they are broken. Should my children ever lose their minds in any of the forementioned ways while we are in another person's home, you can bet your eardrums that I will be tip toeing on the fine line of violating the Geneva Convention. I will knock somebody's butt OFF!

And before you jump on me for that one, let me tell you something else. If you don't want to see me discipline my child (which I try not to do in public), don't give me the stink eye when my child is pouring a strawberry milkshake down the back of your shirt in a restaurant.

Should I have to take care of an issue in public (usually Target or the grocery store), you will see me get about two inches from my child's face. I will put my hands on either side of their face and mine so that they can't look anywhere but into my eyes. I will have a very quiet conversation that you will probably never hear and we will be done. If we aren't done, you will see a very hasty trip either to the restroom or to our vehicle.

I have three children. I do the same thing with all three. They know what is expected and they play by my rules. You know why? Because I'm the big person. I'm the adult and respect is a way of life in our house.

As long as I'm on a roll, let's cover one more base shall we? Chores. It is completely acceptable for you to ask your children to do chores. Quite honestly it is more than acceptable in my book. Someone looked at me cross eyed the other day when I mentioned to the exhibits that it was time to gather their laundry off of my bed and put it away. Yes, my five year old, four year old and even the two year old put their own laundry away. They also feed the dog, clean their rooms, bring me their dirty laundry, clean up their playroom and clear their dishes from the table. Yes, I help them with some of those things but they can do them on their own.

In my humble opionion, part of the problem with society is that people expect to be waited on hand and foot. Also part of that opinion is that the reason they expect it is because their parents never taught them personal responsibility or work ethic.

I have to go now. I just kicked a hole in the side of my soap box and if I plan to spout again anytime soon, I have to get my slaves to work fixing it.



Ragmansdaughter said...

It is because I was brought up on the same "plantation" as you were, that I can say PREACH IT SISTER! You can bet that I am going to use some of the tactics that the Grandkeeper used on us, on my kids. Obviously they weren't fatal.

Wyndi said...

I have to say you said it just right. My hats off to you on these issues. My children learned early on that if they wanted to play at a friends home they were expected to help clean up the mess. and that the friend was expected to help clean up at our house or was not invited back.
Your on the right track. FYI mine have been washing, drying, folding and putting away their own clothes for years. they can also cook the basics.

Toni said...

Amen sister:-) I have a neighbor whse child is like this he has climbed into the middle of my table while we had a tea party and screams if he doesn;t have the same thing everyone else has etc.. and his parents expect you to give him whatever he wants, Hello in the real world your boss isn;t going to think thats very cute.

Everyone can learn manners and respect for others no matter what.

TheXMom said...


Jen said...

Boundaries are so important, as is discipline and respect. Excellent post!

Cat@3KidsandUs said...

A+ to you!

We are exactly the same way in our house, in fact I have the same nose-to-nose discipline discussions in public...they work like a charm.

mom2twoboyz said...

I love it! If there were more parents (like you and me) the world would be a much better place!

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...


I see kids like that (and I know a few!) and am afraid what they'll be like when it comes time to get jobs and enter the real world!

Anonymous said...

As the mother of an only child (right now at least) I have to say that there is no correlation to the way I treat, raise and discipline him to the fact that he is the only child. I would raise 4 the same way I raise 1. However, I am a strict mother to a very spirited child and find myself embarrassed as all hell with some of the things he does at times. There are going to be bad days and times when they test the limit, no matter how strict and how much they know not to mess with you. That's my piece.

Liz (Loving Mom 2 Boys) said...

Well said. Discipline and chores are no longer well used or respected and its a shame. We have started teaching our two year old he has to clean up the messes he makes, he needs to help Mommy and Daddy keep our house clean (well almost :) and be a part of taking care of himself. I think part of it instills pride in a healthy way. Teaching our little ones that they can help run the home and do things for themselves shows them that we trust them as people. My big guy is always so happy when he has completed a chore and proud of himself (even when it wasn't something he was thrilled about doing!!)

Great post!!

MrsAshley said...

What a great site! Thanks for posting your link on Mom Dot....otherwise I may have never seen your site. Have a great day!