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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Rethinking Home Boundaries and Parental Leadership

Empowerment, self-esteem and self-confidence come come from freedom to grow and stretch, right? Not completely true! Are you surprised? Powerful ways of being in the world don't just show up in our kids even if we give those qualities the space to develop. 

What can a parent do to encourage qualities that lead to success?

When our first child was born my wise mother said, “Your children will be a strong as the wall they have to push against.” This was not the only advice she shared, but it was one that stuck with me for a long time. Twenty-eight years later I still remember and am so glad she shared this wisdom. A "Strong Wall" attitude worked as a parenting tool in our family.

What is being a “Strong Wall” parent?

A “Strong Wall” is quite different from a “support, nurture and they will find their way” attitude that prevails in many homes today. Don't get me wrong; I’m an advocate for supporting and nurturing. AND parents can amp that up further by consistently holding their kids accountable and responsible.

Why advocate for strong a “Strong Wall” type of parent?  Here are some solid reasons:

            Boundary Setting makes kids feel safe. It is a parent’s job to provide secure boundaries from which kids can explore the world. Parents will be helping their child be bold enough to explore expressly because they an authority that they can count on. There are a lot of authorities that aren’t so reliable.  Parents can teach their kids to make good decisions by being consistently firm, supporting and using boundaries. 

            The Pre-Frontal lobe isn’t fully developed until a person is in their twenties! This is the part of the brain that is active during the decision making process. Helping children to develop good decision-making processes is good for the growing brain. By the time they enter young adulthood, and the brain is near completion of its growth, they will be familiar with what a good decision feels like and what it produces for them. 

            Parental boundaries interrupt the sense a child might have of a right to do or have something. Developing an attitude of entitlement can be short-circuited though use of clear parental boundaries. These boundaries help kids know that the world wasn't built just for them. Imparting a realistic view of the world helps children fit in better socially, emotionally and scholastically. 

            Bumping up against boundaries helps children grow. Struggles are where we experience our biggest growth opportunities. With well thought out boundaries the struggles can be manageable, creating the opportunity for success. This process of struggle and success is what builds self-confidence and self-esteem. What a great reason for setting boundaries!

Even though you might get push back, parents who practice regular boundary setting are not being mean or unfair. Just the opposite! The parent who constantly caves in is creating a situation where the child is more powerful than the parent. Can you imagine anything scarier for a young child that feeling more powerful than his parents who are in charge of protecting him or her?

Being a supportive and nurturing parent while holding your kids accountable to reasonable expectations is a great way for parents to guide their kids to becoming independent, responsible adults.

If you need help setting boundaries in your home, reach out. We will make the process of learning and implementing boundaries manageable and rewarding for you and your family. The Navigators Way is happy to help!

Parents, do you have questions raising your child with learning issues? You can raise confident capable kids despite learning issues. Reach out for answers to your most perplexing questions today!

Becky Scott

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