A new way to set boundaries and keep connection.
Welcome to Module 3. In this module you’ll:
- Learn how to balance boundary setting with connection.
- Set boundaries that are aligned with your mama vision and supportive of your child’s uniqueness.
- Learn how to repair mama mistakes you make AND help your child do the same for great relationships.
- Learn how to nourish your child’s brain for positive behaviour and happiness.
Download the Module 3 guidebook or continue below.
In the last module you learnt about your child’s brain states and how to respond to them in a healthy and meaningful way. In this module we’re going to build on that with more complexity. We’ll be moving further into new paradigm practices for behaviour regulation and connection, and away from old-style authoritarian boundary setting that may not be working for you or your child.
The old paradigm way sounded like this, “I’m the authority. I will tell you what to do. You will listen to me”. YOU were the boss, and your child was expected, demanded and sometimes punished to achieve the result of “doing what they were told”.
The new way has you saying to yourself: “Wow, I understand what brain state you are in…(eg. the red, the yellow or the green). I know how to approach you + what you need. I have a flexible roadmap to follow. I experiment with my approach whilst keeping my eye on connection as the vital key.”
This new way is underpinned by understanding and compassion for both yourself and your child. You get to keep your heart open and boundary at the same time.
You understand that your child deeply desires to be connected to you, and will be more likely to behave the way you want if they feel seen and heard by you.
Yes, it’s a skill set many of us need to learn, and that’s ok. We’re not striving for perfection as they’re no such thing. What we’re doing is changing our parenting practices to be more in alignment with the latest neuroscience and attachment wisdom.
In the second part of this module we’ll discuss the key things your child needs to be able to spend more time in the highest functioning brain state. This will result in more positive behaviours and the sort of happiness that is deep, sustaining and peaceful. We call this being ‘in the green’. The helpful strategies are called “green juice”. You’ll get to understand what will provide, ‘green juice for your child’s brain’, that is, the important parenting tools that will make all the difference to wiring your child’s brain in a healthy, positive & happy way. These parenting tools are in addition to the embodiment practices you learnt in Video 2 ‘the missing how-to in motherhood’ video training. These embodiment practices are an absolute MUST to start with.
Together, with these addition tools, you’ll end up having a gorgeous treasure chest of motherhood tips and tricks!
Have you ever wondered where your mama strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to boundaries?
There are typically two mama types which are important to identify with:
The mother who only understands her own experience, and doesn’t connect with her child’s experience … will have difficulty in developing a close and meaningful relationship (the disconnected mama).
The mother who only considers her child’s point of view and neglects her own internal experience. She will likely have difficulty setting boundaries with her child, leaving her feeling angry and exhausted, and her child feeling insecure from lack of boundaries (the out-of-control mama).
Which type of mother below do you tend to lean towards? We usually have one area more strengthened than the other, yet it’s the balance between the two that’s necessary for whole-brained intuitive parenting.
Go to the Boundaries Playsheet and identify where you think you might be on the mama type continuum.
Where do you place yourself on the connection/boundary continuum? I suggest you do the playsheet exercise in an embodied way as well. Start in your living room. If one end was the ‘disconnected mama’ who only identified with her own internal needs, and the other end was the ‘out-of-control’ mama who only identified with her child’s needs where would you stand? The ideal is to be in the middle. Play with this. Start in another part of the continuum and get a sense of what that would be like in your bodyfulnes, heartfulness and thoughtfulness.
You might like to share your findings in the Facebook Village, and learn from each other!
If you’re closer to the disconnected mama end of the spectrum it’s important for you to be doing the Embodiment Practices with your child so you’re tuning in more to their internal world and they feel more seen, felt and heard. You may also need to consider dissolving some unnecessary boundaries that are rigid and don’t have a purpose.
If you’re more towards the out-of-control mama end of the continuum you’ll need to be practicing bringing some boundaries in closer with the three step formula which you’ll learn in this module. You’re also need to be doing the embodiment practices for yourself so that you’re tuning into your internal needs and begin to honour these more.
A new way to set Boundaries
In this section you’re going to explore the new way to set boundaries that are aligned with your mama vision.
Boundaries are important for your child because they keep them safe and help them feel secure. The new- way boundary setting models and teaches children about healthy relationships as well. It shows them how to set their own boundaries and how to make their own good decisions based on what their body, heart and mind is telling them.
Instead of the old paradigm way of sticking to the rules and getting your child to do what you want in the short term, this new way will teach them skills for the long term. You’ll be taking into account your child’s uniqueness, the circumstances on any give day, and also honouring your own individuality as a parent. Your ‘discipline’ or boundary setting is not about having to ‘look good’ or ‘tick any boxes’ with on-lookers, instead it’s about you and your child’s relationship, and what you both need. This can be fluid and changing depending on the brain state you and your child are in.
We’re often told that consistency of rules is important so your child feels secure knowing what’s expected of them. However, it’s equally important that you’re consistent with your mama vision which is about your relationship and connection with your child, and developing the qualities that are important to you.
This means you may change a boundary at times to support your vision. Even though you will have a certain consistency about what you expect from your child, there will also be an element of flexibility.
We all need boundaries to keep us feeling balanced. Everyone is different. In some areas we need to boundary more, whilst in other areas we can dissolve unnecessary boundaries. It’s good to ask yourself why you have certain boundaries. If a boundary is not critical and if there are more important priorities that are more meaningful to your relationship with your child, you might relax or dissolve it.
On the other hand, sometimes you need to bring the boundary in closer. If you’re constantly letting it be all about your child and not about getting your own needs met, you’ll end up more often in the yellow and red brain state yourself. That’s not helpful for your child. It’s better for you to set a boundary and stay in the green brain state (and for your child to be in the red as a result of you setting this boundary), than for you to say ‘yes’ all the time, not honour your own needs and then ‘lose it’.
Let’s look at some examples of both:
Examples of relaxing or dissolving unnecessary boundaries:
An example would be to allow your child to stay up later one night because there is something important to talk about and you desire to have more connecting time. Good for you. Good for your child. This is what we call ‘dissolving an unnecessary boundary’.
Another example of a boundary that might be dissolved is allowing your child to choose the clothes they wish to wear. Even though you might usually choose their clothing because you get embarrassed by their fashion choice, you might decide to relax this boundary to allow for your child’s unique expression and their need for some independence.
You might allow your child to have more play time and less homework time after school as you know it’s been a stressful day for them. You recognise that this would help your child expend a lot of pent up energy physically and emotionally, and so you choose to relax your usual homework rule this time.
Examples of bringing your boundary in closer:
You might reflect back to your child that they look tired and need to go to bed earlier. This is an example of bringing a boundary in closer.
On a given day you might decide that your child isn’t allowed to have as much time at a friend’s place because you need to get home earlier for an important skype call, or you’re feeling especially tired and you need to look after yourself as well.
You expect that your children attend a family meeting to create a roster for household chores. You communicate that you’re beginning to feel resentful with the constant cleaning up after everyone. You explain that you want to have more sharing of the family chores so it feels fair for everyone, including yourself.
You and your partner decide that the family needs to prepare food and clothes for the next day the night before so that the mornings run much smoother and as a way of minimising your stress response.
Now it’s your turn to look at your own parenting boundaries. Go to the Playsheet and do the exercise on ‘Setting Meaningful Boundaries’.
In what areas do I tend to ‘lose it’ and need to bring my boundary in closer?
Where do I need to dissolve a boundary that’s not necessary?
SHARE: any pearls of wisdom you got out of this session in the Village Facebook group.
How do we set boundaries in the new relationship-based way?
The way we approach boundary setting makes a HUGE difference. Think about it. How have you felt with the different boundary-setting approaches people have had with YOU over the years? Some approaches would have felt respectful and considered. Others would have felt more like a jolt to your nervous system, and even could have triggered a negative reaction sending you into a lower brain state. You may have memories of this in the way you were disciplined as a child.
Different reactions can happen from the same boundary. It’s the WAY a boundary is delivered that makes all the difference to both the way you FEEL and the way you RESPOND!
Listen to the Audio, ‘The sound of your boundary’. This will give you an experience of the way words and non-verbal communications such as tone of voice can impact on the way your experience a boundary. Follow the audio prompts and write down your responses on the Boundaries Playsheet.
Share your responses in the Facebook Village Group.
Three steps to connected boundary-setting
We need to set boundaries that make you and your child feel BOTH secure and connected. Even though this is the aim, it may not always happen and that’s ok. Generally speaking it would be healthy to use this three- step formula below as much as possible. It’s the formula for a connected approach.
THE THREE STEP FORMULA TO SETTING CONNECTED BOUNDARIES
STEP ONE – acknowledge the desire “You’re really wanting to run around the house”
STEP TWO – Be honest and Set the boundary “its making me feel really stressed when you make so much noise, and I need some quiet so I can be relaxed and think straight”.
STEP THREE – Give the YES – You can run outside and I’m going to come out with you and see how long it takes you to run around the house 3 times. Ready? This will be fun!
The YES could be a choice – you can’t do that but you can choose to do this or that.
Now it’s your turn to apply it to YOUR situation. Go to your Boundaries playsheet and complete the ‘Three steps to connected boundary-setting’ exercise.
Think about something your child does that evokes frustration and design a boundary around that behaviour. Write about it according to the 3 step formula:
- Acknowledge the desire.
- Set the boundary and acknowledge what you are feeling.
- Give the yes.
What will it look like in action? Use it when the behaviour arises and see what happens and how you feel as a result. Share in the Facebook Village group.
You may ask yourself if there are exceptions to using the 3 step boundary-setting formula?
Yes. In safety situations your red brain state may kick in as a healthy response. For example a snake in the backyard, a car coming too close, a hot surface. In these situations you’ll react impulsively and in a mama protective way. You might pull your child to safety, raise your voice in alarm, and consequently startle and upset your child. This is a normal mama reaction where there’s threat or danger. It’s your instinctual response and that’s important for your child’s health and wellbeing.
You’ll need to follow up with your child in a soothing and calming way, and if there’s need of repair you can follow the process we’re doing later in this module. Its called ‘Rupture & Repair’.
Pre-Reminders & Boundaries
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. What if you always feel like you’re always setting boundaries. Is there anything else you can do to reduce the need to do this? YES! Other than the embodiment practices of whole-body listening + connection you can use pre-reminders.
‘Pre-Reminders’ is THE most important parenting tool when it comes to preventing unnecessary altercations, meltdowns and misunderstandings. When you give your child a clear explanation of what’s going to happen BEFORE it happens things are much more likely to go smoothly. Children thrive when they know what’s expected of them.
For example: “I’m so excited for our adventure. I know we’re going to have an easy time getting in the car. I love it when I open the door, you jump in and get your seatbelt on and off we go!
Then the follow up with an ‘appreciation’: “I really appreciate what an easy time we just had getting in the car. I also appreciate how you are growing so big and using your manners when you ask me for things. Thank you so much. ”Be genuine and full of energy or be animated to show how much you really appreciate it.
Now it’s your turn. Go to the Boundaries Playsheet and do the exercise below:
Think of a situation where you often have difficulty transitioning your child from one activity to the next.
Write down what you could say to your child beforehand as a pre reminder:
Then follow up with an ‘appreciation’:
Embody your boundary
Transmit whole-bodied confidence that your child will meet your expectations of their behaviour. Communicate these expectations verbally and non-verbally. Expect that they’ll be adhered to. Hold the presence of being bigger, stronger, wiser and kind. Use lots of love, play and forgiveness.
In the end it’s your PRESENCE, your kindness and your compassion …. especially starting with yourself.
Be fully human. Keep your eye on love. Be relaxed, have humour. They’re no perfect parent …. Your children need this role –modelling… so they don’t feel the pressure to be perfect.
Download the guidebook or continue below.
You can also watch or listen to this week’s live chat HERE or below ~ the password is: mama