Thursday, May 26, 2016

Guru Jane: Setting Boundaries Around Disrespect





Dear Guru Jane,


The entire world walks all over me. At home, at work, even other drivers on the road. I feel like I always come in last and I am the world's doormat. My kids don't listen to me and do whatever they want.  I yell sometimes and try to make some rules and they do nothing. I just want a little respect. Maybe if I was able to take control in one or two areas of my life, I would feel strong enough to do it in other areas. I just need some help and don't even know where to start. 


Please help,


Just Worn Out

Dear Just Worn Out,

I think most of us ladies know exactly how you feel - sick and tired of carrying the world on our shoulders, especially when we realize it shouldn't be there. I'm really going to hammer on my favorite subject. One I have to talk to myself about quite often. Boundaries.

Boundaries don't have to be big. You don't have to change the world by laying down the law in giant steps. You have to start with something small, baby steps. Start with something like this for your family:

If your dirty clothes are in the hamper, I will wash them when I do laundry. I will not ask for them. I will not search for them. If they are not in the hamper, I won't wash them. And I will not be doing extra loads of laundry. You will go to your soccer game in a dirty uniform, and I'm okay with that.

Or

If your toys are left in the living room, I will take them. I will not yell or remind you to to pick them up. I will take them and put them somewhere you can't get them. I will give them back to you when you have earned them by doing a certain chore or task. And if you choose (make it their choice) not to do anything after 1/2/3 days/weeks, I will give them to charity. 

The key here is you have to follow through.

Or 

If you leave your towel on the floor, I will take away TV time/phone time for the whole night. No argument. No discussion. This is the rule. This is the consequence.

Stop making it an argument or a negotiation. Make it a factual, natural consequence.

The key to many boundaries is not making them life changing events or wars. Stop wasting your time (and theirs) screaming and yelling. Make a statement of fact and follow through. It is your home, body, mind, heart, and you are in charge of it. If the people around you will not (notice I did not say cannot) respect your decisions and boundaries, there will be consequences. You might not walk out and leave them all to roll around in their mess, but you will no longer contribute to it. This means no more buying toys just because you're at the store. This means no more cleaning up after people. This means no more stopping what you are doing because someone else wants something and is too lazy to get up and get it themselves. It means making you a priority, one baby step at a time.

Please know you are worth it. If that doesn't make you take that first step, remember this: Everything you do or don't do is absorbed by your children. They will see your behaviors and see your respect (or lack of respect) for yourself, and this is what they will believe is right way to approach their own lives. If they see you behaving as a doormat, they will believe they should be a doormat, or they will believe they should be the person stomping on the doormat. We create patterns in life and, if we hate those patterns, we have to stop them - one small step at a time. Set your expectations, clearly communicate them, and then follow through. I'd bet you money that after taking their toys for the second time, things start to change. Just try it. You'll be amazed at how quiet strength very often wins out over the yelling wars.

Good luck and stay strong!

Guru Jane

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