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 on the autism spectrum 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 from the Autism Treatment Center of America®. We hope you find them useful!

1. When our special children do something 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 essential. For example, ‘This is a high surface, you can fall and hurt yourself, and I love you and want to keep you safe!’ Our children are brilliant and understand what we tell them. Explaining to our children why we are setting a boundary gives them a chance to know that we are doing that out of love and care for them.

3. When safe, give your child a 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, our children often follow what we ask of them without needing to move them.

4. We celebrate our children when they follow our set boundaries! 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 successfully helps build confidence and our children’s desire to cooperate.

5. We limit our boundaries to things that have to do with safety and hygiene. So you can ask yourself, is this a safety and health concern and a necessary boundary?

6. We might temporarily remove things from our children’s environment that are unsafe and too hard for them to ‘resist’ doing. For example, if our children are constantly drawing on themselves with markers and we believe this is unhealthy, we get rid of those markers until they 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 beautiful opportunity to help our children learn essential skills that will help them navigate through life in a successful, balanced way.
Know that as a parent, you are (often) 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

3 Responses

  1. shalini says:

    what is the alternative of fire? my child just loves to burn different things on fire out of inquisitiveness

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