Setting boundaries and consequences


Episode 93 – How to set boundaries and follow through with consequences?

Dear Torie, “I have three girls 15, 13 and 11. I keep going around and around with consequences because I feel like they’re repeating actions that are not appropriate and are infuriating the family and disrupting our family unit.  I’ve always used natural consequences but as they’re getting older those only apply sometimes. My 15-year-old has a boyfriend that comes over and hangs out with our family. My two younger girls find it very funny to bring up her past love interest in front of him and embarrass her. I don’t think they’re doing it to be malicious, they just want to engage in the conversation and they think it’s funny.  They all have chores around the house but on the third time they’re being asked and it’s not getting done, I think we need to have a consequence. Please help! Socializing is really important to them, especially at 11-year-old who is now after five years of friendship struggles forming good friendships. I don’t want to take that away…???? Or do I???? what else do you take away? Do you take away the phone for a week? three days? two days? Do you give extra chores? Do they go take a time out in their room?  I need something that is going to make an impact. Something that I can hold onto and have 100% conviction. Just looking for some ideas and ways to structure this. Thank you for all that you have offered. You are amazing! And practical!” Andria

Parent Education Answer: Setting boundaries and following through with consequences? 

The first step you have already taken which is to identify the areas where you feel uncomfortable. When you see your kids acting in a way that is a violation of your personal values, it’s easier to feel convicted. If you were doing it because “people say I should” or “everyone will think I’m a bad mom if I let my kid play this video game” your consequences won’t stick. You have identified two areas that bother you. One is the sister’s teasing about past relationships, and the other is having to ask three times to get chores done.  The second step is tp come up with a natural consequence for each behavior. If little sisters can’t behave appropriately in front of the new boyfriend, they can stay in the bedroom when he comes around. Socializing with the boyfriend can be the reward for following your rules and behaving appropriately.   No kid likes doing chores so having to ask repeatedly is pretty normal. Most kids need incentive and motivation so “no cell phones or TV until chores are done” works pretty well. Or, “you get two free reminders but if I have to remind you three times you lose a privilege.” The mantra to repeat to your children is…. ”I will remind you every time until you can remind yourself.” or “I will stop you every time until you can stop yourself.” The goal is not blind obedience but for our kids to internalize our values.   

Life Coaching Answer: What gets in the way? Spinning in confusion.

Can you hear the energy Andria is in when she says: “I don’t want to take that away…???? Or do I???? what else do you take away? Do you take away the phone for a week? three days two days? Do you give extra chores? Do they go take a time out in their room?” She is spinning in confusion, trying to find the ONE PERFECT ANSWER that will give her her power back. Nothing will work when she is spinning in confusion and overwhelm. There is no perfect consequence because what works is being in CALM, CONFIDENT ENERGY.  You’ve got to step into your power FIRST, feel confident and convicted, so your kids can feel your leadership energy and know you mean business.  She knows what she needs. Just listen to her next sentence. “I need something that is going to make an impact. Something that I can hold onto and have 100% conviction. Just looking for some ideas and ways to structure this.” Her only obstacle is that she is looking OUTSIDE of herself to get it, instead of finding her confidence on the INSIDE.  We all do this. I was booking a flight and trying to make decisions about bags and seats and insurance and I just got so overwhelmed I wanted someone else to tell me what to do. Whenever I get caught up on small decisions I know I’m feeling afraid. Getting on a plane anywhere these days is unnerving. Making plans that might fall through, spending money on unnecessary travel, not knowing if you are making a huge mistake, it’s scary. When we feel nervous, we just want someone else to tell us what to do so if we make a mistake it isn’t all on us.  Why do we indulge in confusion? Why look to outside experts for their guidance instead of trusting our own? Fear of making a mistake and blaming yourself is one reason.  Another reason is that you have decision fatigue. You are already overwhelmed with making 100 decisions a day, the thought of stepping into your power and being the boss is exhausting! What you crave is the OPPOSITE feeling. You want someone ELSE to be in charge for a little while! You want to pampering! You want to be TAKEN CARE OF, not to make sure everyone does what they are supposed to do!  So BEFORE you can access your calm, confident energy, you must first restore balance by finding ways to RECEIVE instead of give. How can you relax and unwind? What feels like luxury to you? Can you schedule a foot massage? Can you take a nap in the afternoon? Why not take Saturday off and just disappear by yourself for 6 hours. Bring a book and a blanket in your car and stare into space for a while. Don’t try to set boundaries from depleted energy. Fill your tank up first, THEN find your power and give them that authoritative, mommy look so they know you mean business.    Supermom Kryptonite – Guilt One of the biggest energy drains for moms is MOM GUILT. “Feeling bad” for taking care of yourself. “Feeling bad” for having fun when your kids are not. “Feeling bad” for enjoying your COVID year. It is such a tremendous waste of spirit. The only benefit of guilt is if you have done something wrong. Guilt is the negative emotion designed to motivate you to apologize and make amends.  If you haven’t done any harm, there is nothing to apologize for.  Your kids NEED a happy, relaxed Mom. Everyone benefits when mom takes care of herself. Sacrificing well being does not help other people feel better. If your family is grumpy, you withholding pleasure and joy, is not going to help them feel better…. but so many moms think that it does!  It is your job (and no one else’s) to make sure you are in balance, mentally healthy and living the life you are meant to live. Your kids need you to role model what following your dreams looks like. They need to see you taking risks, being brave and prioritizing yourself!   

Supermom Power Boost – A list of thing to be happy about

Back in college, I started a “list of things to be happy about” and I just found it in our attic on Valentine’s Day. It is such a fun walk down memory lane! My list includes things like… -Holding hands in a movie theater -Speaking sign language to strangers -Getting back a great roll of photos -Receiving postcards in the mail -Free refills During this long and dreary year, I thought it would be a great family activity to boost spirits. Put a paper on the fridge or a journal on the kitchen table and ask your family to add to your “list of things to be happy about”. I had about 20 pages filled but decided to continue it this week. What makes you happy? The feel of new socks on your feet? Babies whose hair sticks straight up?  Focus on the positive and we’ll make it through this unprecedented year together.   

Quote of the Day:

“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own to-do list” Michelle Obama

10 Powerful Questions

5 Questions every morning to give you clarity and intention.
5 Questions every evening to give you satisfaction and gratitude.

This is the best way to get you in the driver’s seat of your life.

More to explore

Relief from Money Worries

Episode # 171 – Relief from Money Worries with Liz Carroll Here, we usually talk about whatever is stressing moms out the most. So even thought I focus mostly on parenting issues, money is something that effects all of us and is a big source of stress. Today I am interviewing Liz Carroll from … Read more…

How to become a fun mom instead of a nagging mom

Episode #170 – How to turn off “Task Master mode” and have fun with my 13 year old boy. Question of the Day: I’m pretty sure my kid is going to grow up and remember me as a nagging, grumpy task master. He’s barely 13 and our relationship is already on thin ice. On the … Read more…

Letting Go Challenge

 Letting Go Is there something you need to let go of? Most moms intuitively know when they need to let go of something, but this often is accompanied by a  resistance to doing so. The thought of letting go induces a tight feeling of holding on. When part of us wants to let go, … Read more…