The Son-Rise Program Approach to Setting Boundaries with Our Children
“Setting limits and boundaries is an essential part of parenting and is a very important piece of helping our children grow to be healthy, well-rounded adults. Setting boundaries is an act of love, especially when done with clarity and ease! In The Son-Rise Program®, we set boundaries in three main areas:
– “Around our children’s (and those around them) safety and wellbeing.
– “Around the safekeeping of our property and environment.
– “To maintain a reasonable lifestyle for ourselves and our families.
“Here are the steps we follow when setting clear, loving boundaries. We hope you find them useful!
1. When our children are doing something that is unsafe or could hurt someone else (or damage their environment), we calmly and lovingly ask for what we want. For example if a child is climbing on a high shelf, instead of shouting ‘Don’t do that!’ we calmly and lovingly say ‘I’m going to ask that you come down now, so that you are safe!’
2. Then we add an explanation as to the reason why this boundary is important. For example, ‘This is a high surface, you can fall down and hurt yourself and I love you and want to keep you safe!’ Our children are very smart, and understand what we tell them. By explaining to our children why we are setting a boundary, we are giving them the chance to know that we are doing that out of love and caring for them.
3. When safe, give your child the chance to respond to what you ask, before you attempt to move them out of a particular situation. We find that when we ask calmly for what we want, often times our children actually follow what we ask of them without us needing to move them.
4. We celebrate our children when they are following boundaries we’ve set! For example, if they stop pulling down on a curtain or when they stop themselves from climbing on a high, unsafe surface. We might say, ‘way to go coming down by yourself, you’re the best listener!’ Focusing on what our children are doing that is, successful helps build confidence and our children’s desire to cooperate.
5. We limit our boundaries to things that really have to do with safety and hygiene. So you can ask yourself, is this really a safety and health concern and a true necessary boundary?
6. We might temporarily remove things from our children’s environment that are too hard for them to ‘resist’ doing and are unsafe. For example, if our children are constantly drawing on themselves with markers and we believe this is unhealthy, then we get rid of those markers until our children have outgrown their need to draw on themselves. Where we can, we offer an alternative – in this case, we would give them crayons or pencils to draw on paper instead.
7. We believe that our children can and will follow through with the boundaries we are setting! Our confidence determines how our children respond to us.
8. We stay calm, relaxed and loving. This is a wonderful opportunity to help our children learn important skills that will help them navigate through life in a successful, balanced way.
Know that as a parent, you are (oftentimes) the one who can teach your child those skills in the most loving and relaxed way!”
Written by Becky Damgaard, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher