Stop fighting with your son, Part 4: Boundaries

In this episode I talk about how to set a boundary out of love and what to do when your request has not been fulfilled.

You will learn how to separate what your son does from what you do.  

I share with you the question that you must ask yourself when setting a boundary.


Guys, how’s it going? I was thinking about you the other day yesterday at the playground, I was there with my kids after school. Um, someone asked me, they said, uh, who’s, who’s the hardest to deal with the most different. And I said, oh, no one, like, my answer was like, oh, you know, actually I don’t have anyone. Like, who’s the most difficult and it didn’t even occur to me that it used to be my reality. A few years ago, I did have one of my sons was, felt very difficult to me to deal with. And that’s actually what inspired me to do this podcast. And what made me realize that it, you know, it’s, it is so important to me to have a good relationship with my sons and the one that I was struggling with. So I just wanted to share that with you, that you too can very soon, you know, have that same answer.

Just say, you know, I don’t have any, anyone that’s difficult. Right? You could just feel like your relationships with all of your kids one or two or however, however, many your son, sons and daughters are good. Right. You could be like, oh, you know what? They’re all good. And that’s so available to you. And I can help you do that either just by listening to this podcast or by coming, talk to me, I can coach you. I can help you. I can share my story with you. Um, and that is so cool. Right. Um, although a couple minutes later, I, I did say, I said, you know, what, what, what the hardest part for me is now is that when all four of them need me at the same time. So that’s, that’s the reality of my life now, which is fine. Right? They’re all little they’re ages, five to 10, four kids, four boys.

So it’s super, super busy, right. They’re kind of still little and it’s good and it’s bad at the same time. Right. So anyway, it just wanted to share that with you. You too can say, you know, I don’t have a difficult child. I, I don’t, they’re all good. Right. So now I said that, um, today, welcome to part four boundaries with your son. I love, love, love this topic because it makes it super for you. And for me, what it is that you are willing or not willing to do. Okay. Let’s so now let’s break it down. So I’ll just give you an example of, you know, one of the boundaries that I implemented with one of my kids. Um, so every night I give my boys half an hour of iPad, time of games. And after that half an hour’s over, I say, okay, iPad, time’s over, let’s go shower or homework or whatever.

And usually of course they don’t want to finish playing. And I have to say it again. And then I have to say it again, which it, I don’t like doing it’s annoying. And so I say to them, I say, if you don’t finish up in the next couple of minutes, then I will take away tomorrow’s I at time. So th this is the boundary. The way that I define boundaries is if you like, can you please finish what you make a request of what you want them to do? Okay. Either like, stop talking to me disrespectfully, or please do this, or please stop doing that. Right. Please get off your iPads within a couple of minutes and you’ll wrap it up. So make a request. And the boundary is, if you don’t do this, then I will do this. Okay. So, so often we think, okay, I have a boundary.

I told them my boundary, you can’t play a after this time, then they should follow it. Why aren’t they following my boundary? And then we get really frustrated. We get so upset. Why aren’t they following it? I told them, you know, they should follow it. This is my boundary. I, I decided, I told them, this is it. But the thing is, uh, people have free will and can exercise it. Even your son. And the other thing is we can’t control what they do. So they will still do what they want to do. Especially the older they get, the more they will exercise it. Right? So we have to account for that, right? Because otherwise we’re going to be really, really frustra. And the boundary is not going to be effective. It’s it’s not, it doesn’t really work as a boundary. All you do is say, Hey, please stop doing this.

And then you proceed to get frustrated, angry, and yell at them. Right. I told you to stop doing it. Why aren’t you doing it? How many times do you have to tell you? Right. And then all, what all that’s happening is that you’re fighting with them and the boundary doesn’t actually help you or them. It just, it’s just, they are not really working. So what you have to realize, okay, this is your request. This is what you are requesting of them. And you have to be prepared for them not to follow it, right? Just like with little kids, please don’t touch that. Right. And then if they do touch it, then you say, okay, if you touch it, I take it away. Right? If it’s a glass or something, right. You just, you say, okay, if they keep touching it, I put it up higher.

So they don’t touch it. Right. You don’t get mad at a little toddler for keep on touching the little, the glass, right. Because it’s dangerous. You realize, okay, if he won’t stop, then I will just simply take the glass away. The same thing goes with all the boundaries, with all the people in our life. But we’re gonna talk about your son. So if they keep doing what they are doing, what you ask them not to do, then what are you willing to do? Okay. That is a very important question to ask yourself, because so often you are actually are not, not willing to do what it is that you say you will do, right? Like they call your bluff. Right. And I’ve had to test it on myself. Like, okay, am I actually willing to take away their iPad tomorrow? Yes. Hell yes, I am.

Okay. Let’s go, go with it. Right. Even though I know they will be super upset and that feels uncomfortable. Right? I don’t want to have to deal with more upset kids, but I’m willing to do that in order to, uh, support, uphold my boundary. Okay. So it’s not something that you say you, like you say you will do to them so that they, uh, respect your boundary and know it’s something that you say you will do to take care of yourself. Uh, let me give you another example. If an intruder comes into your house, he is violating the boundary, like the physical boundary of your house. So in that case, if that happens, you don’t even have to sometimes tell them, please leave because you may be afraid or maybe it’s obvious, right? They’re a stranger. You’re afraid you will exercise your boundary. Right, right away, you will, you will, might call the police.

Right. You might dial 9 1 1. If they even intruder comes into your house, then you will do this. You will call 9 1 1. Right. You don’t even have to tell that to them. Right. So another, you might be already exercising this with your son. Like, if you speak with me disrespectfully, I will leave the room. Right. Or please go to your room. You can’t stay here. Right. You again, you can request them to go to their room, but if they don’t, then what are you willing to do? Then you will leave the room. Right? Because you can’t control what they do. Okay. So it, it really, you really have to separate your business from his business. You cannot control his business. You can only make a request of him just like with your husband. I don’t know if you know, if you’ve learned the same thing that I have.

I can’t demand things of my husband. I can make requests with a smile and a kiss and a hug. I’d be like, I would love it for you. If you like blow up the tires in my car, it would be so awesome. Thank you so much. But if they don’t do it, I there’s nothing I can do. Right. I can only ask again or I can say, Hey, do you want me to take it somewhere else to, to blow them up? I understand you’re busy. Right. But I don’t, uh, do you know, I don’t get upset and don’t, um, expect him to follow my demand. Right? I make a request. So the thing goes for your child, okay. With our children though, we do have the power have consequences, right? Don’t recommend you have consequences with your husband. I’m not a marriage coach, but you know, from personal experience, you don’t want to have, you know, they’re their own personal, let them be right.

Love them no matter what, uh, with your children, love them and know, no matter what, but you can’t and have a consequence just like with the iPad, right? If you are not going to, you know, listen to me and ask you, iPad. Time is over. Then you, there will be a consequence tomorrow. You will not have it. Okay. That’s a consequence that you, as a parent can instill, you know, you, yeah. Don’t recommend have that with other grownups in your life. Right. That’s just not, that would not be fun. It’s not your business to give them consequences. But so, um, that’s just an example. Another example you can, I’ve see, I’ve coached people and I’ve seen other people get coached on this will where they have grown up children, living with them, grown up son. And let’s say, you know, they’re not following exactly the, the idea, the rules of what they should be doing, like getting a job or paying rent or waking up and applying for jobs like right.

We, you know, you, we’ve all known these situations where grown up children are, you know, living out their life path. And it doesn’t look like exactly like what we think it should look like. And so the mom, poor mom is struggling and she thinks she made a boundary between her and her son. And she says, you know, you have to pay rent to live here. You have to pay a rent. You have to contribute. You have to, you know, at least show us that you’re putting an effort, et cetera. But putting out this request is not a boundary in itself because the mom has not stated what she’s willing to do. If he does not do those things. If he does not have a job, if he’s not paying rent, if he’s not contributing, if he’s not showing that he’s putting an effort in getting a job, whatever your request is, then what are you willing to do?

And it’s so, so like important for you to be honest with yourself, because if you are not willing to do anything, if he doesn’t do any of those things, it is so good for you to know that. Right? And in fact, you can say that, that truth to yourself. I am not willing to kick my son out. If he doesn’t pay rent, if he doesn’t contribute, if he sleeps all day, tell yourself the truth, right. Instead of getting angry at him, instead of fighting with him about and wanting him to change, just tell yourself the truth. This is where I’m at. I’m not willing to kick my son out and it’s okay. I’m a good mom. This is, I want, you know, I would love for him to do all those things. He’s not doing them and I’m not willing to do anything about it.

I’m going to let him stay in my house. If you know, telling that truth to yourself will feel so much better. You don’t even have to tell him he already knows that, right? He’s already living there. You haven’t kicked him out. You, you don’t have to tell him, but telling yourself that will feel so much better, then, um, blaming him for how you feel, right? You can’t control what he does. You can’t make him go to work. You can’t make him pay, but you can decide what you are going to do. You can decide what you are going to think about your son. You can, and, and by deciding what you’re going to think about him, you are deciding how you want to feel about him. And I want to offer love is always the best choice, no matter what he’s not doing, of course it takes hard work and practice and effort for you to generate that love.

Right. Um, but so what, right. Do you don’t wanna be angry at him? So that is the boundaries. I hope that you guys, um, uh, understand what I’m trying to tell you. Hmm. Um, the other thing I wanted to mention about the boundaries is that in, in general, we, um, with other grown up people, we can set trees and do what we said we would do. Um, and we, um, we can’t, you know, we, we’re not going to expect other people to follow our request. Like if we request of them to do something, we have to allow that they won’t do it. Right. Like with our husband, with our child, with sister, brother, whoever friends. But there are situations where we do expect people to follow our requests, like in a job setting, right. Employees and employers, you do actually do have a job description and you can make a request of them and do, you know, expect them to follow it.

And in those situations, if they don’t follow the requests, then there are consequences. Right. They can lose their job, they can have an evaluation, they can have a, you know, second request or, you know, education, whatever. Right. And the, the other exception is with the kids, with the kids against, like I mentioned before, we do have as parents a way of implementing consequences because they are not adults. They have to follow the rules of our house, the rules of our family. And we do want to teach them the values of our family. And, uh, they are technically living in our house so we can implement the boundaries of our space. Right. So that’s what I wanted to put in a little caveat there so that, um, you can, um, take it and apply it in your life. And I love the question that I always say to myself, okay, if he does this, or if he like, doesn’t stop doing this, whatever, what am I willing to do?

What am I willing to do here? And it’s that, and to that always tells me, okay, you know what? I’m actually not willing to do anything here. I’m gonna let him do, keep doing this. Or the bottom line is, um, if he speaks with me disrespectfully, I leave. Right. Um, I know. And just knowing that that’s it, or like with our kids, if you guys fighting, uh, roughhousing here and it’s too loud, go outside, right. I will ask you to go outside, right? Again, it’s a request. If you don’t follow the request, then you get grounded. You get, go to your room and you, we take away your right to play with your brothers again. Right. They’re little they’re kids still. So I have example of little kids, but the same thing applies with bigger children, grown up children. Uh, it’s just, you, uh, have to do the thought, work on that. And the same rules apply. If you don’t get a job and don’t pay rent, I am willing to ask you to leave.

You are not going to leave. Okay. If I asked you to leave and you’re not leaving, then what am I going to do now? Okay. I am willing to help you leave, right? That could be the truth for you. You could help him leave. You could have someone or you pack up his stuff and take it outside and change the lock and with love. And that’s the other thing I need to really mention. We, the whole goal here is for you to, uh, lovingly to set the boundary in a loving, loving way. Because if we have a boundary and we don’t have a consequence planned out, like we don’t know what we are willing to do. And they still keep doing what they’re doing. We feel out of control. And then we act out of anger and frustration and we are literally fighting them. We’re fighting them.

We’re nagging. We’re trying to control what they’re doing, but we can’t. So it creates a fight or it creates withdrawal. It just does not create anything good. So when we set a boundary with love for ourselves and for our son, then out of that fuel out of that feeling, even though it does not feel good to kick your son out, you are honoring your own wishes, your own boundary. What’s true for you. I am like, I am not willing to support my grown up son. And I believe this is the best way I can parent him. Right. Then you are doing that out of love for yourself and your son, right? And you’re not doing that to hurt him or at him, you are simply are doing it as an act of love for yourself. Right? Do you see the difference? And this is the boundary that you, if he does this, then I will do that.

Right? So it’s not like you are, um, trying to hurt him. You, all you’re doing is you’re, this is the best way. You know how to take care of yourself. And he’s another human being. So if he didn’t follow your request, then this is what you are doing. Right. So he made his choice. He, and you know, most of the time you can make that request verbally, but sometimes you don’t even have to give them a warning ahead of time. You will just act out on that request. Like not, not, not like with kicking them out of the house, but for example, if you know, if they, like, if they hit you or something, you implement that boundary right away, you leave, right. Or you get help or you ask him to stop. Right. You don’t need to tell them ahead of time. Don’t hit me.

Right. Hopefully your son’s not hitting you. My little kids sometimes hit me. And when they’re frustrated, just because they’re, they’re so frustrated and they they’re little. Right. So, and I tell ’em no hitting mama. Right. So, okay. So remember this format for the boundary setting. If you do the, you make a request, first of all, you have to make a request. If you haven’t made a request of what it is that you want your son to do or not, then you please go do that right. Verbally, or make it clear that this is what is required of you. Right? Don’t assume that they just know, like, if you’ve never made a request of him to, Hey, this is, you know, if you’re going to be living here and you are, you know, 30 years old, then for you to stay here, you need to have a job rent.

Okay. And if you don’t do that, we’ll ask you to leave. Right? So that is, you are verbally communicating that boundary to him. And now you’re both on the same page, but you can’t just not say it and expect him to be on the same page with you. He might be thinking, oh, sweet. My parents love me. So they want to, uh, support me and, you know, let me stay here for free. Right. And if you haven’t said that out loud, he might not know. So again, make that request very important part. Just like with the husband, he can’t read your mind. Right? I’m sure your husband has told you, you know, how am I supposed to know that? I can’t read your mind. You need to tell me these things. Right? So that’s where we learn. Oh, right. I have to actually say these things out loud of what I want.

So make the request and then ask yourself if they don’t do this, what am I willing to do? What am I not willing to do? And then you can write it down. You can decide in your head. You can tell them if you keep doing this, then this is what I will do. If you don’t stop doing this, then this is what I will do. Okay. You and you can’t, you know, they will keep doing what they’re doing, but how are you going to react? That’s in your control. What they’re doing is not in your control. All right. My friends, this is it for the series of how to stop fighting with your son. I hope that you and your sweet boy reconnect. I hope that you, um, really have gained some distance between you and your thoughts about your son and are beginning to see that your son’s not causing you frustration or, or pain is that you’re doing that with your thoughts and it’s okay.

You can have control over your thoughts, whereas you can control what your son does. So if you need any help with that, I would love to help you and clear that up for you. So you two can just say I have no difficult children. I love my boys. I just assume you guys all have boys, but I’m sure you have boys and girls. So, uh, have a wonderful week. If there are any questions about any of this, I would love to answer them for you. Please send them to my email, or you can even leave a comment under the podcast. Uh, my email is Natalia coaching, Uh, and if you would love to get coached on this and need some help and want to get to zero fights with your boy, you can go to my website, www dot coaching, and go to sign up for a free mini session. Uh, find a time that you need and we, we will talk. I can help you get to zero fights and put us behind you so you can just enjoy your family and look forward to the future with your boy. Okay, guys, I love you all so much. I’ll talk to you next week. Bye.

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