November 29, 2011


I have often been intrigued by the many different scenarios in which parents have a hard time setting boundaries with their children.  Parenting is a challenging and rewarding experience and in order to make parenting easier it requires two specific things.  Number one is boundaries and number two is consistency with those boundaries. 
I have watched through the years as parents have struggled with one or both of these things.  Struggling to set boundaries can be due to the guilt of not being a perfect parent. It can also be associated with the desire to be loved or liked by their children thus creating a lose - lose situation. I have also noticed parents who personalize their children’s behaviors and emotions which takes away the clarity as to where boundaries need to be set. 
When it comes to consistency, one of the biggest challenges parents have is slowing down enough to give themselves time to follow through and enforce the boundaries that have been established. We are all extremely busy in this world today.  At times the last thing we want to do at the end of a busy day is to deal with the contention that comes from enforcing and confronting boundaries that have been set.  I have often thought of consistency like a garden of vines.  If we are continually pruning and attending to the new challenging growth, it becomes manageable and less stressful.  When attended to once a week, twice a month or even monthly, it tends to become overwhelming.  The thought of getting caught up becomes immobilizing and overwhelming.  It is never too late to call in a gardener and get the help we need to get the vines under control again.  Often times when it becomes unbearable and unmanageable, help is the only answer.  Oddly enough I have noticed that people are afraid to get help.  Embarrassed by the overgrowth and unmanageable vines, they hide their yards from others lamenting and thinking they are the only ones.  They begin to bring in the guilt and shame that acts as fertilizer for the vines and enhances their growth even more.
In order for parents to increase their consistency to set and enforce healthy boundaries with their children, it first requires the ability to let go of yesterday and to focus on how we want tomorrow while embracing today as it comes.   Second, without guilt and shame, seek help and engage those who have the skillset to help the overwhelmed feelings.  Third, SLOW DOWN!  Slowing down requires us to prioritize our values and to focus on the things that are important and the things that are real, letting go of the fears of what other people think or might think of the situations that we find ourselves in.

Dean N Nixon
Seminar Director, Life Coach

TurningLeaf Wellness Center

November 4, 2011

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