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Setting Boundaries with Kids – Who Are You Really Setting Them For?

Welcome to the Fabulous Hybrid Blog Carnival. Our topic this summer is BOUNDARIES! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Blog Carnival hosted by The Fabulous Mama Chronicles and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on boundaries in all of its many forms. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I wrote this shortly before our fifth child was born last week. 🙂 Since I was totally enjoying the fam and last days of pregnancy, I decided to write on the topic of boundaries in parenting for just 10 minutes. To do so (because I really have much to say on the topic) this article is focused very specifically on an idea my friend, Christine, shared with me years ago when she read some of Jesper Juul’s book, Your Competent Child.

From what I gather, the idea is something like…

We can only set boundaries for ourselves.

Now, this may or may not strike you as profound. To me, this is life changing. As a parent, it can be really easy to think we need to control our kids, keep them safe, and establish boundaries for them.

In truth, we do not need to control our kids because we are influencing them with our every thought, word, and action. When we model what we want to see from them and approach parenting from a space of choosing to take full responsibility for our influence, control is not necessary.

In truth, it is our responsibility to keep them safe. We can do this in many ways, including through modeling and teaching them how to be safe, how to be aware, how to make choices, how to ask for help, how to experience the world as a safe space.

In truth, we do not need to establish boundaries for our kids, we only need to establish and affirm them for ourselves… in relationship to them, to our values, to our choices, to our desires, to the needs of our children.

Boundaries are never for anyone but ourselves.

We decide what we are comfortable with. We decide what we value. We decide what we teach our children. We decide what we say no to. We decide what we say yes to. We decide when we need to choose again, seek assistance, explore new boundaries, lines of safety, and societal norms.

We decide what boundaries do and do not work for us. Yes, we absolutely care for our children through boundaries, starting with ourselves.

Claiming, exploring, adjusting, and communicating boundaries is not always an easy process.

Once we recognize, though, that this is our process to behold — instead of thinking we need to do it for another — we are freed from the chains of controlling others and we can learn to live in harmony with them, including our children.

What questions does the application of this idea bring up for you in your parenting experience? I’d love to discuss it further. 🙂


Visit Hybrid Rasta Mama and the Fabulous Mama Chronicles to find out how you can participate in the next Fabulous Hybrid Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants.

Are you struggling as a parent? If so, I’d like to share something with you: a story and some hope.