Saturday, July 7, 2012

Boundaries With Kids

Years ago I read the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  Recently I read another book by them called Boundaries With Kids.  There were lots of nuggets of information.

-  Every person must realize that one's actions have real consequences in the real world.  Parents must teach their children that reality exists.
-  A hallmark of maturity is taking responsibility for one's actions, desires, and problems.
-  We cannot just look at the fruit of some one's work, ignoring the years of work, study and effort that preceded a person's accomplishments and achievements.
-  "Ignore and zap" is a bad way to discipline children.  Many parents ignore children's bad actions nine times out of ten and then, when frustration levels are high, zaps the child with often inappropriate discipline.  Instead, we should be "early confronters" and address children's undesirable actions immediately. 
-  Children by nature have "impulse disorders," which means that they link their emotions to their actions without any intervening agents such as thoughts, values or empathy for others.  We must teach them those intervening agents.
-  We have to help our children develop time and energy boundaries so they do not over commit themselves.
-  Limits will not be loved by children.  They will be hated.
-  When children react negatively to the limits we set, we should stay firm and show calm empathy.  We want them to feel sadness and acceptance with the limits, not anger or defiance.  We should say things like "I know you are sad.  I understand you do not like time out.  It is unfortunate that you cannot go with your friends." 
-  Young children have immature motives: the fear of pain and consequences.  Parents must teach children more mature motives as they grow, such as serving God and doing the right thing.
-  When parents cave to children protesting the limits the parents have imposed, the parent is letting the immature reaction of a child (the temper tantrum) dictate their decisions.
-  When your child does something really bad and you are not sure how to react appropriately, say "This behavior is very serious.  I need some time to consider what my response will be.  I will think about it for awhile and get back to you with my response to your behavior."
-  Parenting is a temporary job.  We are entrusted with raising our children for 18 years, not forever.

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