Loving and boundaries

“Mama, I love you.”     ‘I love you, too.’

“Mama, I like you.”    ::smiles::    ‘I like you, too, sweetheart.’

“Mama, I like Daddy.”    ‘I like Daddy, too. Isn’t this all wonderful?’

“It is.”

This kid and his kind heart. He is at the stage of almost smothering Little Brother with his kisses and hugs, needing daily reminders that though his affection is very sweet, he needs to be respectful when baby (or anyone else) has had enough. I want to teach him to be gentle with his affection as right now he is fairly aggressive about it, which can quickly lead to a grumpy baby. I’m also trying to instill respect of boundaries. I know he’s just at the cusp of being able to understand this concept, but it’s an important one. I’ve been working on it for his whole life, but it was more in his defense than teaching him. Before this, it has been in the form of requesting that people not force hugs and kisses on him or guilt him into giving them hugs and kisses by pretending to be upset. That kind of behavior does not sit well with me, and the message it sends to the child is dangerous for them to absorb: your feelings about this don’t matter. I want my kids to follow their instincts, especially when it comes to how they interact with other people and communicate about personal space. I don’t think it’s too early to teach that no means no.

It’s such an important part of raising kids, teaching respect. And it can be difficult on days when they are whining and pushing your buttons and throwing their toys because all you want is to make them stop so you can have some quiet. Those times make it difficult to calmly and kindly say “please remember your manners” and “please use your quiet voice because we are inside”, especially when you do try those phrases and they throw a fit or throw the toy at you instead of the floor. But it’s vital to do your best with it, because that is teaching them to be respectful. By respecting them as people and allowing their oversized emotions to be validated, you are showing them how to behave toward others.

I will admit right here that I fail at this sometimes. I’m guilty of shouting when listening doesn’t happen and I’ve run out of patience repeating myself. I want to do better. Part of that for us is getting out for daily walks on the nature path. Speaking of which…out we go!


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