The boys and I have entered a new phase of their childhood, one that I expect to last for some time. The phase where responsibility is optional, loopholes in the rules are expertly sought, and they are getting smart and smarter.

I do love their growing wit and sarcasm. Love it. Just not so much in the face of,

“Where is your homework?”
“You said I ‘may’ get my homework. ‘May’ means if I want to. And I don’t want to.”
“Punk. Get your freaking homework.”

I’m reading a new book about this, because it’s time to up the ante and stock up my arsenal. Thank you, Cloud and Townsend for all your brilliance with boundaries. I shall write them on a scroll and place it over the door frames of my home.Boundaries

I’m not kidding you: my name could be at the top of their list of “Things Not To Do” to create boundaries with your kids.

Yep. Check. Check. Check.

Me. To a T.

Exhibit A:

  • Nagging through the morning so the child doesn’t have to watch the time. [x]
  • Screaming and displays of anger that get the attention off the realproblem – the lateness – and turns the parent into the problem for the child. [x]
  • Instead of “I am late and in danger of missing something,” the problem becomes, “I have a crazy mother.” [xxxxxxx]
  • Taking the victim stance to the child’s behavior. “We are going to be late. Look what you’ve done.” Thus teaching the child that he is in control of the whole family’s day and mood. [x]
  • Stirring up all the wrong emotions – guilt, resentment anger – in the child, instead of the only one that helps him change: sadness. [x]
  • Worst of all, the behavior did not cost the child anything but grief toward Mom, toward which he has long since become deaf. [x]

Good grief. I appreciate them not putting my picture at the top of the page.

So, you know, what a great opportunity for me to learn and grow. (Hear my radio voice and positive spin on that one.)

Here’s the challenge right now, in this very moment: I’m aware that I haven’t been firm in boundaries, and I need to change this.

But I haven’t yet gotten to the chapter on setting said boundaries.

Gentlemen, there’s a boundary here, and on other side of that boundary lies that which I’m not taking responsibility for. Stay tuned for what on earth that means and how on earth I plan to implement it.

But it’s coming. And it will be fierce, I tell you.

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