12 Nov

Not everything happens smoothly.
Winnie the Pooh
Every child tests boundaries. Boundaries are safe, they do not impede creativity and growth – instead they provide guidance and the knowledge that someone is looking out for you.

I get caught in the trap of painting the perfect picture of Stephen, alas he is not perfect – but then who wants a perfect child – boring.
Well boring can be peaceful hey?

One of the ways that he tests the boundaries is when we tell him not to do something. Either he did something by accident like banging the wall with an object or it was intentional like a head but or slap.
Stephen be careful/don’t do that.
The there is the inevitable evaluation and investigative look as he watching out reaction and does it again.
He is testing.
Not all the time.
And when it involves something particularly harmful then he wont get a second chance to try like reaching for a knife or the hot stove.

Personally I find it hard to separate the emotion from the action of disciplining; they seem tightly woven together but I know that in the end it will be good for him – otherwise when Stephen pushes and there is nothing to stop him then who will catching him when the consequences are too much?

But what do you think about boundaries, how to establish them with toddlers and how to deal with inevitable testing of them?


12 Responses to “Boundaries”

  1. BellaDaddy November 20, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    It may be different with girls, but, with ours, boundaries are limited to: No Running in the house (she fell, had stitches, etc…)…no talking back to Daddy…(rarely works)…etc…stubborn yes…beating Daddy down…absolutely!


    • Phillip Gibb November 23, 2009 at 7:42 am #

      I’m gonna have to be a bit stricter with running in the house and jumping on the bed. Stephen had a gash over his eye for slipping in the bath – too much epizon-e applied for his excema – very slippery. That was a traumatic time but at least no stitches.

  2. Mocha Dad November 21, 2009 at 3:38 am #

    It is important to set boundaries with toddlers or else they will be uncontrollable. My toddler loves to push the boundaries, but when I speak to him in a stern voice, he knows he’s gone too far and backs off.

    • Phillip Gibb November 21, 2009 at 6:49 am #

      I have certainly leaned how to develop that stern voice

  3. PJ Mullen November 21, 2009 at 3:45 am #

    I run into these same problems with my 19 month old. I keep him corralled in our living room for the most part, but a few times a day I give him the ability to roam the rest of the house. As soon as he doesn’t listen to me we go right back to the living room where he is fenced in, much to his dismay.

    • Phillip Gibb November 23, 2009 at 8:01 am #

      ooh I couln’t do that – my son would love being in the living room; that were the TV and DVDs are and he love pulling them out :O – otherwise it is to his bedroom for a short while but most of the time a stern voice does it for me. but it breaks my heart when he cries.

  4. weaselmomma November 21, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    Ah, if only anybody actually had these answers. I think you are doing fine. There are some things that are only worth a correction and a redirect, but there are others that involve his safety and you have to act in a more forceful response.
    When they continue to push the boundaries on a particular obsession, the consequence has to increase for each offense.
    You fight these small battles all day long and then when he is tucked in his bed, you sit down and have a drink to go with your head shaking and twitches.

  5. Joe November 22, 2009 at 10:46 pm #

    Toddlers are tough. I think the best thing to do is put yourself in their position, think like a toddler. Be ready for them. If we think like adults around toddlers we are only seeing half the story. Toddlers have small bladders, they are constantly getting sleeping/crabby. They get sudden and harsh hunger pangs. Life for them isn’t super pleasant just because they are toddlers. That being said, I think much can be said for talking to them rationally and explaining things to them. Tell them why you don’t like what they are doing, why you don’t want them to hurt themselves or break your stuff. If you include them in the nuts and bolts behind discipline I find it helps. Just some thoughts to throw out at you, but also–time–time is on your side, because before you know it that toddler will be a preschooler. 😀

    • Phillip Gibb November 23, 2009 at 8:24 am #

      My Wife and I have tried to explain the ‘why’ to every reprimand – well; the ‘why’ to pretty must anything – that is practical. That is so important; some may say that parents rule like a feudal system but that does not mean we have to be horrible dictators.

  6. Scott November 23, 2009 at 3:09 am #

    With boundaries, consistency is key. At least with our oldest the one time you relax the boundaries, she starts testing her limits and we have to start as square1.

    • Phillip Gibb November 23, 2009 at 8:41 am #

      Yes Consistency is important, with it comes safety.

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