Posts Tagged ‘ setting boundaries ’

Every Parent Needs Privacy of Some Kind

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

16 months.

While we parents are proud to share our kids with the world, we are just as eager to keep certain aspects of our children to ourselves.

The way I see it, both my wife and I are introvert/extrovert hybrids. We are both very social people; we get bummed out if we’re not interacting with other human life on a daily basis; with our son thrown in the mix.

On the other hand, we also get bummed out if we don’t have enough time together as a family; just the three of us.

The parent paradox: We love for others to be able to know our son; we also love to be able to know our son with no one else around.

We share him; we keep him all to ourselves. There are certain subconscious boundaries that we as a family unit of three abide by. If nothing else, we highly guard our quality time together.

Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out what these unwritten rules are in regards to the boundaries of privacy we have, by default. Maybe it’s possible we don’t socialize with other fellow parents enough because we are so overly aware of our family’s cultural need for quality time.

Maybe I should do a better job of being a more outgoing dad; getting involved in cool networks of dads out there. But ultimately, I’m wired to see even that as a threat to time with my family.

With as little quality time I have left at the end of each work day, I hate the thought of just giving my wife and son my emotional leftovers.

My focus on privacy is obvious to me in another way, too. A few people have expressed to me that they couldn’t do what I do: Write a near daily blog post sharing personal stories including my son’s actual name and pictures of him.

But I don’t feel like I’m selling my soul or my son, because I am carefully choosing what I allow to be publicly seen.

So what am I hiding? Well, notice how I don’t make a habit of “venting” when I am facing a new challenge as a parent. From the personal journey that led me to choose the “cry it out”method, to all the life-experiences from which I wrote my Dadvice series, I wait until after I learn the necessary life lesson before I will write about it.

I sleep better at night being able to view my life as a parent not as a chaotic mess, but as organized chaos. One way I can organize the chaos is by knowing when to hold up the “private” card.

Whether it’s regarding quality time with your family, the content you share about your family on Facebook, or even the pictures you do or do not display on your desk at work, the importance of privacy is in there somewhere.

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Yes, I’m Teaching My Son the Power of “No”

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

15 months.

My son Jack understands a direct, calm-assertive “no” from me, which is much different from an unsure, half-panicked “n-n-n-n-n-no, no, no, no!

The difference is best illustrated by the way a period puts a solid end to a sentence, but if you add two more periods, making ellipsis points, the end to the sentence is suspended.

When I teach my son not to do something, I want the message to be conveyed with a period, not the equivalent of dot-dot-dot.

This past weekend my parents, my sister, her husband and their daughter came up for a visit and to watch Jack.

My wife and I had won a free stay at the Hutton Hotel in downtown Nashville. When we returned, my sister updated me how things went with Jack:

“He taught me everything in the house that he can’t touch. That includes the cords behind the TV, the blinds, and the flusher handle on the toilet.”

Jack even warned my mom with a “no” when she sat too close to the sliding glass door which I have taught him not to bang his toys against.

Now while I may be making myself out to be a Negative Ned with all this “no” training on my son, it’s important to note that I actually balance it with the power of “yes.”

When Jack makes proper decisions regarding the boundaries I set for him, he gets a “yes” from me along with a nodding head of approval.

He craves to know what the boundaries are. He loves learning what the “yes’s ” and “no’s” are in our house. And obviously, he also enjoys sharing what he has learned with others who visit.

Jack has taken on the responsibility of proclaiming boundaries to others. I like that. It makes me feeling that I’m doing something right.

Admittedly, I can’t help but think about what the future version of this looks like. As Jack gets older, how will his concept of “yes” and “no” guide him in his decision making abilities?

Will Jack continue to help others know the boundaries when it comes to all the good and bad decisions to be made?

I say “yes.”

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