We last were talking about boundaries in this post:
Boundaries are an interesting thing; once attached parents realize that they and their children are not the same person and that boundaries are really necessary, it can be hard for some parents to know what to put boundaries around (hint: if it wouldn’t fly out in public with other adults or children, if it hurts the child or others, if it destroys property, it shouldn’t fly in your home!) and then often even still harder to know how to put the boundary in place without yelling or communicating in other ineffective ways. Knowing developmental phases are really important here, and there are many back posts on The Parenting Passageway about gentle discipline and the “how-to’s” of each age.
But there is another interesting consideration about boundaries, and that is how boundaries are a two-way street: boundaries are not only for the benefit of the child, to help the child grow and mature into the kind of adult we and others would like to be around, but they also model for our children how to place boundaries on the negative energy of other people. How do we deal with anger, guilt, blame from other people, whether it be our children, family members or others? Do we accept and carry it around like a purse or do we know how to set boundaries to keep ourselves sane? It is an important consideration to model this for our children.
If I model for my child that I do not accept a child yelling and screaming AT me with blame, accusation… but that I am so happy to listen when we can talk calmly and without that blame and accusation, then I am showing my child how I deserve to be treated and how we should all treat each other. I am showing that I choose not to accept and carry around the negative emotions of others toward me, but that I will work toward the opportunity of calm problem -solving.
I have a dear friend who talks about how people, and even children, can “machine gun” you down with their emotions – whether that be angry accusations and blame or screeching and wailing and crying and complaining. We want to raise a generation of children who will not be machine gunners. We want to raise a generation of children who can let their emotions out, in an appropriate way, without all the verbal spillage, blame, and anger onto others.
In this regard, I think Non-Violent Communication can be a tool, an inner framework for you, the adult, to use as a model in handling emotion. The verbosity of NVC does not, to me at least, fit well into the developmental framework of the child under the teen-aged years according to Waldorf methodology (and this is a place where you will find Waldorf people with differing opinions, so take what resonates with you). Here is a link to some free resources regarding NonViolent Communication:
Take some time to meditate on the boundaries you set around yourself, especially emotional boundaries. Being a parent does not mean you become the dumping ground for your family’s emotional negativity. It is okay to have a boundary around that and to implement constructive ways to deal with negative emotions within your family.