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BOUNDARIES (Bs) are an essential component of physical, mental, emotional & spiritual health (PMES). They are the beneficial “rules of relationships”, representing the opposite of being manipulative.
The difference between asserting boundaries & manipulation? When we set a boundary, we let go of the result!
• Children are not born with a built-in concept of Bs, being more likely to resist any sort of limits – so it’s natural for them to test how much they can get away with.
However, because the world is a big, overwhelming, unpredictable, & therefore a scary place – they have a great need together given appropriate Bs, & will actually feel safer when those are provided. No matter how much children may struggle against Bs at first, when parents gently insist & persist, most of them learn & adapt to legitimate rules quite easily.
• Nourishing parents are both good role models & good teachers of Bs. They set limits that are — age appropriate, reasonable & consistent, in ways the child can understand. When taught to respond to healthy Bs & then incorporate them, children become well-mannered & confident adults.
Boundaries are about:
• protecting our body, our identity, our rights, our values
• expressing specific needs, wants & preferences
• making it clear what is acceptable, or not, from others
• choosing who & what we want to allow into our lives
Joy2MeU: “Learning how to set boundaries is a necessary step in learning to be a friend to ourselves. It’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves – to protect ourselves when necessary.
– It’s impossible to learn to be Loving to ourselves (owning our rights & responsibilities) without having a Self
– It is impossible to have a healthy relationship with someone else with no boundaries, who can’t communicate directly, honestly”
a. Too MUCH – Limits that are too narrow & rigid for a child, creating a great deal of confusion them so they don’t want to venture out into the world, for fear of being constantly overwhelmed or making a fool of themselves.
Children raised with stifling Bs become afraid TO:
• think for themselves or take independent actions without being told what to do, think or feel
• take any kind of risk, even normal ones
• express their creativity, imagination, sense of possibilities
• reach their highest potential, prevent them from expressing their True Self, keep their ‘light under a bushel’
AND of course, some kids will eventually rebel by not wanting any limits! They go haywire & end up harming themselves & others
b. Too LITTLE – Too loose or non-existent Bs allow for too many options, don’t give guidelines about where to draw the line in dealing with self or others. It tells children they’re not actually cared for, not important enough to guide.
They’re ALSO afraid, but it’s hidden under blatantly angry attitude & behavior. They become adults who:
• are convinced they’re entitled to anything & everything
• are rude, disruptive & disrespectful, any time or any place limits are set for them
• don’t have empathy for other people’s needs & feelings
• don’t know how to get along with others, often getting into trouble, & are disliked by most people
• don’t consider or care about the consequences of their action
• ignore or fight against all forms of authority
💦 Both styles damage children’s self-esteem because unconditional love is missing.
Both styles indicate parental dysfunction & concern for their own needs at their children’s expense.
(POST: Good vs bad parenting . Compare w/ Healthy Parenting
🎯 PREREQUISITE for having Bs
We cannot develop Bs if we don’t know what our NEEDS are – where the line in the sand is. This means believe we have rights, since activating Bs requires expressing them.
We have to:
• know all 3 types of needs, specific to our True Self (not the ones the disease tells us to want !)
• have internal permission to acknowledge & honor those needs, in opposition to the PP voice
• actively provide those needs, both for ourselves & with the help of others, when appropriate (Fundamentals)
NEXT: Boundaries Defined (Part 2)