Who told you kids don’t have boundaries?
Was it taught to you or was it caught by you?
Apparently I caught it.
I thought I was giving my children the space and opportunity to create their own boundaries. I thought I was teaching them how to stand up for themselves. Let me rephrase that…I thought I was teaching them to have boundaries with everyone. Turns out I was teaching them how to have boundaries with everyone except me and family members.
Three of my children are not physically affectionate but one of them is. If you read Smiths, party of 6 please then I’m sure you know which one is the most affectionate.
It used to be really hard for me as a affectionate parent to accept the fact that my children didn’t want a hug from their mom. I guess after being emotionally absent, I was ready to dive in head first while they were just trying to test the water. So instead of allowing them to do just that, I would force one, to fulfill my own satisfaction.
They would either awkwardly laugh it off or half hug me back. But I didn’t care, as long as they gave me one. I even went as far as to say, “I need one hug a day” like they were my property and had to meet the needs that I couldn’t even meet for myself.
It didn’t hit me about what I was doing until one of my childcare babies made me step back and self reflect. It was a typical drop off. Dad brought her in, took her out of her car seat and we played the flying game where dad would “airplane” her to me on the count of three. Once she was in my arms, I said my usual great morning and asked her if she wanted a hug or a high five as I proceeded to put her down. That particular day she walked away smiling (other days she usually gives me a high five).
That’s when it hit me. While the small sting of a 1 year olds rejection started to wear off, I realized I was respecting the boundaries of a 1 year old but couldn’t do the same for my kids who can actually verbally express their boundaries.
The thought stayed with me all day leaving me in self reflecting mode. The answer hit me as I took a shower later that evening (it’s something about water and silence for me).
I came to the conclusion that I wanted so bad to make sure that my kids didn’t grow up questioning my love towards them (the way I questioned my mothers) that I would force it onto them. Afraid that they would measure how much I loved them by the number of times I hugged them or grow up craving love because they didn’t get it at home.
I’ve seen this type of parenting expressed in a multitude of ways for so long, that I caught the unspoken false narrative that it was ok to parent this way.
That it was ok to project our fears, lack and desires onto our children, forgetting that they’re capable of making their own decisions (developmentally appropriate decisions of course). Crushing their imaginations with “realistic truths” and making them put more effort into plan B just in cause plan A doesn’t work out.
Telling them to speak up and stand up for themselves but then force them to do what we say with no regard to how they feel or what they want.
But if we don’t have them to give to ourselves first, then how can we effectively pass them down to the children that are attached to us?
Listen, this isn’t a “be perfect, take my advice blog post” because I don’t give advice. I just speak from my real, honest and raw journey and I pray that it helps someone be more intentional in theirs.
Because none of us are perfect, but we can all strive towards intention.
What have you caught that no longer serves you or where you want to be?
If you’re having a hard time instilling boundaries in your own life, send me your email so I can put you on the priority list for The Boundary Blueprint releasing this month. This amazing guide is filled with the 3 major lessons that my journey has taught me and that I continue to use everyday as I crush my goals and strive towards my dream life.
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