Tuesday, October 12, 2010

day 269: boundaries released too early—bringing them back in part i of ii

“Discipline is a symbol of caring to a child. Discipline is guidance. If there is love, there is no such thing as being too tough with a child.” Great Quotes to Inspire Teachers

One way that we have found to take back control of our children’s behavior during times that we have felt that we lost it was to bring in the boundaries. When a son or daughter is not obeying, is disrespectful, or is discontent, he or she has often been given too many choices and too much freedom.

At that time, we have brought in the boundaries in different areas of that child’s life--and regained control. For example, when a child is consistently unhappy with his meals, he should have fewer choices (not more to try to "make him happy"--regardless of the ever popular "Happy Meal"). We need to bring in the boundaries of his choices---just offer meat and vegetables or soup or other nutritious foods that you determine until he is content and thankful for what he does have (not go through the entire cabinet and fridge until you find something that makes little Susie happy!).

When a teenager begins displaying negative behavior like her peers, we need to bring in the boundaries that were broadened too much for her maturity. Lessen the time she spends with peers and discriminate more carefully which peers she should and should not be permitted to spend time with. This boundary-narrowing is especially helpful with very small children. When we had an eighteen month old who threw his food, would not eat what was put before him, and screamed in his high chair, we knew we had broadened his boundaries--his areas of control--too early. Those boundaries needed brought in. He was not obedient or mature enough to have his entire meal on his tray; he was not content enough to choose what he wanted from the dinner menu. He was not compliant enough to remain in his high chair for family worship; he needed removed from the family and placed in his crib until worship was over. His boundaries had been too wide too soon—for him.

Another example of this is when our older children were little and would not keep the toy room picked up. We repeatedly told them to pick up when they were done with something, stop playing in plenty of time to clean up their messes, and not leave things lying around. However, they continued to leave toys strewn about in the toy room almost daily. The boundaries were too wide for our children at that time. They were unable to control themselves in the situation we had them in (i.e. an entire room of toys at their disposal). Thus, we cleaned the room with them completely, then put huge sheets over ninety percent of the toys in the room. They were not to touch those toys, but could just play with the remaining ten percent of uncovered ones. Once they learned to clean up with that small amount, we uncovered another ten percent, then another, until they were mature enough for the boundaries to be widened to include playing with all of the toys in the room.

Tomorrow: bringing them back in part ii of ii

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