Setting limits with children

53523_hotel.jpgAn important part of childrearing is setting limits, especially when children are very young. The hard part is making sure that setting limits is done through education – letting the child know why we are saying “no” to something, not just refusing. Another vital part of this education process is that we keep our voices factual rather than critical or shaming, otherwise the lesson is lost and the child just feels oppressed. It is hard for us to remember this when children are young, because usually the pace of living is stressful for everybody and being relaxed and calm seems impossible. Also we are in denial at that time about our behaviour and how uptight we are. Children feel the full brunt of harsh, unexplained limit-setting and it affects their self esteem badly. This can result in serious rebellious behaviour in childhood and all the way through to adult relationships.

at four years of age she is the cutest
and she is very aware of ‘living the good life’
as I babysat my granddaughter in the hotel suite
she declared that she wanted stuff from the mini bar
I had to be very careful how I refused her
tonight we were going to eat
in the restaurant downstairs which
my nine year old grandson had been
given the honour to escort us to
I began with “no, darling”
the disappointment in her eyes showed
that there was anger bubbling deep inside
so I sat down near her and pointed out that
using the mini bar costs too much
her eyes mellowed and this showed that
the information made sense, so she seemed at peace
after the delicious meal downstairs
we enjoyed watching the movie Happy Feet, in the suite

Love and trust

Holding hands, photo by Herman Hooyschuur, Amsterdam, Netherlands,  loving relationshipThis comment was made by Vickie Turley and it supported my post on ‘Trust is vital’

Without trust we cannot be authentic with one another. And trust is built over time – which is why relationships take time to grow. Too many times we want to rush the relationship but the trust isnít there yet. We must be patient and let it come.

What Vickie says is believed by many and it works for them.

I believe in another school of thought which is that trust is not earned, it already exists to begin with, just as love does. The ability to trust is abundant and in setting such an expectation the people we love live up to that expectation. However, if we slip and make a mistake then we need to make amends and build that trust up as we would a plant that has been damaged, gently. This notion feels easier to achieve than one that takes time and we need to work hard at to achieve. When the trust is not there in the beginning of a relationship I would ask “what is going on?” – does one or both of the partners have intimacy issues or have experienced damaged trust in the past and are bringing it into the relationship as baggage? In which case they would do well to process that baggage or see a therapist to assist in that process.

Flirting and seduction

Flirting Swans, photo by Jenny W., Honolulu, Hawaii, nature's loveWhen people first meet, they spend all their time involved with flirting and seduction. That’s what keeps their passion alive. It’s understandable that in time the passion will cool and usually a truer love will grow because nothing stays the same. Nevertheless, it’s so important for the relationship when the flirting is maintained as a ritual, because it keeps love alive, stopping people from becoming too serious.

they noticed that it had been awhile since they
had chuckled, teased, flirted and joked a little
then it became apparent that they hadn’t had
such a great time in a long time, so
they made an agreement to include flirting in
a part of each day to develop the art
rightfully so, not only did they get better at it
but it was such a boost for their relationship
something so simple yet so effective.

Music, flowers and incense

Romantic, photo by Meliha Gojak, Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina,  romantic symbolsWhen you want to lift your spirits then put on music and use some flowers to decorate the room. Then light some incense, there are different ones that please different people. These items will please three of your senses and whether you have a massage and a special something to eat of drink for the other senses depends on how much cheering you need. These are guaranteed to lift your spirits and make you feel special. Mind you, getting someone to share this with you is excellent but not essential, because on your own you prove that this experience has its merits.

It was Melbourne Cup Day and I had to
go to hydrotherapy instead of the usual
Fancy Hat Luncheon and Cup Sweep
my children phoned to say they had got me
Cup Sweep tickets at their workplaces
so I turned on the TV and for ambiance I
prepared the incense and some music
put on my huge black beach hat
and with half a glass of wine I sat
to enjoy my horses coming first
at that point my black cat Midnight flew out
obviously scared of my black hat but
returned immediately and spent the afternoon
poised opposite me on the lounge, staring
I thoroughly enjoyed myself and
one of my horses came third
that was a first for me
in more ways than one
and my spirits were lifted

Timing is vital

Clock, photo by Henning Buchholz, Bremen, Germany, high priorityWhen good intentions become failures, then our timing could be out of sinc. Timing is vital in any plan of action, even for simple discussions. How often do we begin to say something, feeling confident and enthusiastic, and then the whole situation deteriorates into struggling in emotional quicksand? The more we struggle the worst it becomes and we wonder how it happened? Perhaps we didn’t consider whether it was appropriate to bring the matter up, no matter how simple it seemed. Perhaps we didn’t consider whether the other person was in the mood to deal with the matter. Perhaps we didn’t consider how capable we were at that point to express the matter appropriately. Or a combination of all of these things. When we pause and plan how to express ourselves, especially taking into consideration how right the timing is, then the interaction has more of a chance of being successful.

Stephanie had learnt from a young age
not to jump into the emotional deep end!
her father had a volatile personality
whether he was drunk or not, and so
before she spoke about anything delicate to anyone
she’d ask “are you free to speak for a moment?”
this usually prepared the other person
and it spared her unnecessary hurt!
how easy would it be if it were protocol for us
to first ask this question, just as we
automatically say “please” and “thank you”,
checking that the timing is right, could
protect us from abusive personalities
whilst respecting each others availability to
be fully present in a discussion

Act as if

I love you, photo by Hannah Boettcher, United States, universal messageWe are often faced with someone else’s negativity. When this happens it is far better to acknowledge their message so that they don’t keep repeating it, and then let it wash off us like water off a duck’s back. We don’t have to wear someone else’s negativity. Instead we need to remember that they are entitled to their opinion and we don’t have to agree with it. So if we keep a positive attitude then life is more fulfilling. If we ‘act as if ‘ then it becomes a healthy habit. Free of sulking, free of resentments and in time a more pleasant way of living life.

when I was younger I got easily upset or annoyed
and my serenity depended on another person’s behaviour
so if someone upset me then I would hold a grudge
in other words sulk until they saw my point of view
on my journey of personal enlightenment
I learnt to let go of resentment when someone upset me
now I express myself as calmly as possible
and then ‘act as if ‘ a new page has been turned
after a few minutes I am at peace and have
no need to labour over the issue or
feel resentful until an apology is forthcoming
love is ever-present and ever-healing
an invaluable asset, tried and true

Generation gap

Mummy and me, photo by sanja gjenero, zagreb, Croatia,  parent  childTake back your authority as a parent, regardless of the age of your children. Even adult children need to feel that there is a healthy generation gap. You are the parent they are the children. You can be a friend but that role is governed by your role as the parent. They have friends who are there to share in their fun and foibles but do not confuse that role with the role of being a parent. In this way you keep good boundaries for yourself and also role model healthy boundaries for your children. Otherwise, children take on parenting roles towards their siblings or even towards their own parents – they become the parentified child. So, before long the roles are reversed, with children becoming critical towards their parents or feeling overly responsible for them and this is all due to the ambiguity. It is the parents’ responsibility to ensuring this does not happen by not relinquishing their role as the parent.

she wondered why she felt fear around her adult children
unable to express her needs to see them more often
she became depressed and confused
their claims that she was being needy felt accurate
until we discussed it and she became aware that
her expectations were quite normal for a mother who
had spent her life dedicated to the wellbeing of her children
now that they were adults it was not unreasonable
to expect her love to be reciprocated accordingly
expecting her busy offspring to reach out was unrealistic
yet trying to arrange visits was being met with
resistance and sometimes intolerance
until she realised that she had to take back
her role of mother and correct the imbalance
before more harm was caused to her and
to her adult children by being role modelled
ineffective parenting skills
in taking back her role of parent she became
confident, nurturing and specific about
what her needs as a mother were
resulting in renewed respect from her children

Fathers

father and kids, photo by mario gonzaga, Bage, Brazil, smiling eyes Nowadays it seems that fathers are not credited for how important they are. Quite often people minimise how caring fathers are and it’s maintained that males are only interested in their work, mates, sport and sex and that they leave the family things to the women. Yet so many men make wonderful fathers and this is so important for their children.

my father was so reliable
not demonstrative with his affection but
I sensed he loved me by his caring ways
he worked hard to provide for us and
when my mother left he took on
both parenting roles
when he didn’t approve of something I did
he firmly but gently expressed it
when he was pleased his smiling eyes
were my reward
he died forty years ago and still I miss him

father and kids, photo by mario gonzaga, Bage, Brazil, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/473343