Children can be very cute, adorable, loveable and gorgeous, all knowing, extremely observant, and often one step ahead of us. So when it comes to raising children there is a lot to get your head around so to speak, as they are a complete package – each one an individual with different needs and expressions.
I know that for us, having our first child – as with many parents – was amazing, special and totally unlike anything we had ever experienced before, on many levels. Our daughter was what you would call an easy child – she slept well, ate well and was always content and happy.
So here we had a little person ready to take on the world, needing support, love and guidance, looking to us as her role models, a reflection of how to be in the world.
We knew instantly we had to parent in a way that allowed her to be who she was, for us to not impose on her in any way, but at the same time to educate her and show her that the choices she made and how she chose to live impacted on everyone and everything… that in life there were consequences for the choices she made and that no matter what those choices were, there was always a flow on effect of some kind.
Introducing boundaries and consequences felt like a way to support her in feeling the consequences of her choices. It was important that we allowed her to express, but with that expression came a responsibility. As parents, we felt that without having boundaries and consequences for her behaviour and choices she would quite quickly become a big person without the understanding of what it is to truly support herself and others.
It began with the little things, such as if she was being disruptive at the dinner table she was removed until she could re-join in a way that allowed everyone to eat without the disruption. If she spoke in a way that was harmful, then she was asked “How would you feel if someone spoke to you, or about you, in this way?” Things were bought back to her, bringing her to accountability and to be responsible for what she said and how she behaved. She was given a choice to take responsibility for her way of being, or not, and we found that the consequences and boundaries allowed her to feel the end result of her actions.
We lived in a home where we all supported each other, letting each other know how things felt, constantly allowing ourselves to feel what was needed, being responsible for our choices and how they impacted on everyone, and as parents we felt she was no exception to this level of responsibility.
It was a constant unfolding in our own lives, something we were constantly refining and adjusting as needed; our routines, rhythms, sleep patterns, diet, everything was always shifting, our choices were always being looked at and our level of responsibility was forever expanding and deepening.
We had our own boundaries and consequences, so when we introduced these to her it was nothing new; it was not only her – she could see and feel the level of responsibility we lived ourselves and she was part of that.
As I made adjustments in my life with things such as my bedtime, use of electronic devices, diet and quality of being, so too did she. It was not from being told but from a place that was observed and felt.
It was a natural progression for her to feel what was needed next, and now at times she is often making adjustments for what is needed before I have.
Because our choices and way of life have come from what is first felt, then actioned, there has been no resistance from her. She can feel the consistency, love and absoluteness and because of these qualities she has no resistance, only an allowing choice to let herself feel and to go there.
The boundaries and consequences go both ways, as she is just as responsible for calling us to accountability if we step out, as we are to her. It is with this loving support from all of us equally that we have been able to see that for us, boundaries and consequences have supported, and continue to support us immensely. We had to start with ourselves, living and being responsible for the way we lived and for our choices.
You could say that parenting our daughter began with parenting ourselves first.
Published with permission from Michael Serafin.
By Nicole Serafin, 45, Woman, Self-employed Salon owner, wife and mother, Tintenbar NSW
Parenting our Children
Building true relationships and positive parenting
The real boundaries in life are what is true and what is not. God knows like a petulant spoilt child we’ve pushed the limit on indulging in the lies. Set this boundary for ourselves and we might find we and love are boundless.
A living, ‘walking the walk’ rather than ‘talking the talk’ example will always be the most inspiring reflection.
Another version of boundaries is ‘standards’. A level of living below which we do not drop and, if we do we need pulling up – no matter what our age or ‘position’ in the family may be.
Boundaries and consequences truly teach us about responsibility. Getting this as a child is a wonderful gift we can give our children.
This is a beautiful way of raising a child as well as living together. It’s a responsibility for the whole family, a way of life that is lived by the parent and then naturally shared with the child.
Each person´s actions has consequences for others. This is not necessarily easy to accept, but once you are aware of this and can see how it plays out practically, you are faced with the question of what to do with this fact of life regarding both yourself and others. The difficult situation comes when the other either cannot see it or can but ´does not care´ about this fact. This brings to the fore a very different situation to deal with.
Most wish for the day when they can do anything they want, with no consequences, no one to be answerable to and no feedback. Yet life on our planet is designed to always bring boundaries and consequences. These could be severe like having an accident or falling out with someone, and it could be much more subtle like not quite feeling yourself or sensing more separation with a loved one. The problem is that we have learned ways to numb ourself to life lessons and only acknowledge something is wrong when we are hit with something extreme. Teaching children about boundaries and consequences and allowing them to gain an intimate understanding of this aspect of life is an invaluable support.
More than anything we all adore and need a consistency of love and holding. When this exists, and people sense they are being connected to, there’s not so much craziness that they are inclined to get up to.
When we know what the quality of truth and love is and feels like in our bodies, we then are able to not only offer this reflection but also offer loving pull-ups for each other when this quality of truth and love is not lived. This is vitally important guidance when we are children learning how to live who we are in a world that continually ask us not to be who we are. The more we ourselves are living guided by our connection to truth from within, we then are able to offer the support and reflection to our children, which may play out in different ways for each child, but all is founded from the same quality of truth that represents the quality of the love we all are in essence.
I love this, it has infused me with an inspiration that I feel pulled to in my own life, and honestly this feels to be the parenting method that works, live the example that words alone cannot inspire.
It make so much sense that when a child is shown by example that her choices and way of life come from what is first felt, there can be no resistance as experience is undeniable.
The more I see my 2yr old for what she is – completely capable and independent – the more important it becomes that boundaries are set. She loves doing things ‘her way’ so we now give her a choice – is it A or B – and then she feels empowered to choose and then understand the consequences of each choice.
I see the role modelling that can be done in how we live, through this article, without telling our children to do anything. This influence is great and we discount how we live effects those around us.
I feel it is the most important thing to live with immense love and care for ourselves the power of this felt well beyond a behaviour management technique.
I have found that boundaries and consequences work well with my son and that these allow him to be respectful and considerate and not take things for granted.
We are not preparing our kids for life if we do not put boundaries in place and allow consequences to play out. Looking back on my parenting there were rules rather than standards set in our house. Standards come from the lines in the sand that we do not cross, in how we behave and treat each other. This carries a message of love, that confirms that we naturally have integrity and if we cross a line, we are no longer being true to ourselves.
” So when it comes to raising children there is a lot to get your head around so to speak, as they are a complete package – each one an individual with different needs and expressions.” – agree Nicole, and also this is why it makes sense to me that a couple just don’t raise their (own) child, but those close around them do too since a child given their unique expression, benefits and needs different expressions other than those of their biological parents. As adults we are all responsible for the raising of a child in their truth.
If children don’t feel it is coming from someone living what they are expressing is the boundary, not only do they react to the boundary but they are being set up to believe that living the same double standard is okay to take into their own adult lives.
Yes a life of hypocrisy is founded on watching others say something but not live it and children constantly sense this and see it in their role models. I know I did and I play out this hypocrisy to some degree, where I want my cake and I want to eat it too…no perfection here, I am learning to parent and be the role model I need to be. It is like layers of ‘that will do’ and personal agendas need to be shed (healed) to get back ti the beauty and love and truth that is within, which is there to be expressed for all.
When love is the boundary, we find there are no limits to consequences since every consequence rooted in love is destined only for our evolving and evolution.
It is really key that it starts with ourselves first. But I would not claim that this always results in cooperation rather it could produce a lot of resistance very dependant on the individuals relationship with love.
I wish I had to feel more consequences in my childhood. I would have saved many years of returning back to a state of being that fully takes responsibility for their actions and who chooses things to do with respect to others, instead of thinking that I can get away with it anyway. In fact I got truly mature through these different choices- as I respected other peoples boundaries and met them at eye level .
Only reading the title my answer is YES! It is pure love to set boundaries instead of letting your child do whatever it wants. It communicates that you actually truly care- you truly care about their potential and whenever they come below that, you pull them up to not continue with needs or behaviours, that let their potential delay instead of blossom.
This blog is beautiful Nicole and highlights how the quality of our movements and choices (or not) is what children learn from by observation backed up with the consistent way of living from the one they are observing.
. “As I made adjustments in my life with things such as my bedtime, use of electronic devices, diet and quality of being, so too did she. It was not from being told but from a place that was observed and felt”.
It is so refreshing hearing about parents who do their best to bring us a child knowing who she is and not compromising herself in any way
Indeed, we can support children by connecting with them and honouring their equal ability to feel life and understand what is happening in life.
No matter how parents parented, having a child is taking on a forever evolving responsibility. There is never a right or wrong just a deeper responsibility we take with ourselves and our children.
The setting of boundaries based on understanding the consequences of our actions is based on a loving way of life which will serve humanity well.
There are no single set of rules that work with every or even a single child however our loving boundaries provide space in which they can learn from themselves.
Of Course it’s not just children who need loving boundaries we all need to have clear roles and responsibilities and aware of the consequences when we go out of these.
It offers so much more wisdom to read your kids rather than parenting books. The more I am open to responding to what is needed, the more I understand what our toddler needs to grow and develop
It is through consequences that we truly understand the affect/effect of our choices for ourselves and for everyone around us, and allows us to develop an awareness of true responsibility in our life.
Great point Nicole, ‘You could say that parenting our daughter began with parenting ourselves first.’ I started parenting with what I learned from observing other parents around me. It didn’t take me long to realise what I have picked up didn’t work. I was at times a bit lost with parenting, as I knew the way I was brought up wouldn’t be how I’d like to parent my own children but I didn’t witness any true parenting in my community until I came to Universal Medicine. I went by what felt true and through observing my relationship with my children I was able to develop my parenting skills through learning from my children and trusting my own inner wisdom.
If there were no consequences, for anything, ever, we’d be even more reckless as a human race. We do what we like to our bodies because often the effects aren’t immediately felt, but it’s the little everyday choices that build up over time, that all affect our health, wellbeing and relationships. Starting to build a loving relationship with our bodies where we tune into what we’re feeling more often, helps to narrow the gap between the action and the consequences- so we get to feel the consequences of our choices much more clearly, and with that, the opportunity to make more supportive choices is much more obvious too.
Teaching our children that every choice has a consequence, not only for them but for all around them, is the greatest lesson they can learn as it will raise them to stay aware, be responsible and all encompassing in the way they live.
This is so important Carolien, what you’ve shared is very much needed in our parenting. To raise our children to be super aware is one of the best ways we can support them through life.
Nicole, thank you for sharing your experiences of raising your daughter, as a parent I find this really helpful and supportive.
I totally get the bit about needing to parent ourselves before we parent others. Too often I find myself tripping into parent mode without the foundation of living the example I am calling someone else to step up to.
As souls we belong to a measureless space that is known as esoterically as the Universe or God’s body. Therefore there is a part of us that knows there is no end to the depth we can go. However, as humans we live in a physical body and in this sense have put a boundary or delineation on space by virtue of our existence in this physicality. All that said, as children we come into the world very connected to our soul but also with an age-old spirit that knows all the tricks and manoeuvres to delay our inevitable return to the immeasurable space (formlessness) we belong to. As parents we have a very specific responsibility to support our children to a) feel safe in this realm b) not let their spirit run rampant, and this is done by setting clear boundaries and consequences so that the child, a spirit + soul in his/her own right, develops a healthy relationship with responsibility and their own evolution back to Soul.
The reflection of being consistent and responsible within our own lifes as a parent provides a child with the space to make the same kind of choices instead of rebelling because what they see and what they feel is not matching up.
There are always consequences to our actions. This is the law of cause and effect. Such an important thing for us as a race to know more deeply so why would we not introduce this to children as early as possible?
What I have noticed is when we are ending we want to give boundaries and then follow that with consequences is either where to bury with other things be it work, social media, socialising or the other is when we are trying to be nice and wanting the child to like us. It doesn’t work out so well when that’s behind a relationship.
Thank you for sharing the way your daughter was raised – it shows that from day dot we can bring accountability and responsibility into the relationship so they understand it is an everyday part of life. I find with my toddler she is absolute in her decisions, and so boundaries and consequences reflect to her the outcome of her choices.