Conscious Discipline Podcast – Setting Healthy Boundaries

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Episode Summary

Setting healthy boundaries is a vital skill that protects our identities and self-esteem. Without healthy boundaries, we open the door for others to determine our thoughts, feelings, and needs, losing a sense of self. Strong boundaries give us the confidence to make our own choices without yielding to a sense of sacrifice or obligation.

Lessons about boundaries begin early in life, first with our parents and then with our peers. Adult upset language becomes a child’s self-regulatory voice, which in turn sets the child’s boundaries. Attempting to teach children who they should be, what they should think, and how they should feel creates unhealthy boundaries. In addition, helping children create healthy boundaries requires that we model healthy boundaries ourselves.

Listen in as Master Instructor Jill Molli and her daughter, college freshman Meg Molli, share their experiences with setting healthy boundaries. While Jill has sometimes struggled with healthy boundaries, especially around work, Meg is not easily influenced by outside forces. The mother-daughter duo discusses why this difference exists, how Meg sets effective boundaries, and how Jill has learned to do the same through conscious effort. You’ll also hear tips on how you can set and strengthen your own boundaries.

Essential Takeaways

  • Healthy boundaries protect us from manipulation, violation, and being used. They express our values of respect and responsibility, keeping us safe because they allow us to separate who we are and what we think from the thoughts and feelings of others.
  • The adult’s upset language becomes the child’s internal self-regulatory voice, which in turn sets the child’s internal boundaries.
  • Parenting or teaching that tells a child who they should be, what they should think, and how they should feel creates unhealthy boundaries. Unhealthy boundaries can also stem from fear: fear of abandonment, being judged, losing the relationship, or hurting another’s feelings.
  • Keys to healthy boundaries include confidence and the ability to notice, name, and manage your feelings.
  • Steps For Tomorrow
    • It’s important to be in touch with and own your feelings, or you will try to take on and manage the feelings of others. Practice noticing and naming your feelings. This builds your awareness of what you think, feel, and need.
    • Once you can notice and name your feelings, you can regulate your inner speech and calm yourself in moments of upset. This process is helpful in setting boundaries without being overwhelmed by worries or fear of how others will react.
    • Reach out to your connection network when you need extra support. Knowing that you need help and asking for it is another form of healthy boundary.

    Important Links

    Product Mentions

    Show Outline 

    • :30 What is Conscious Discipline?
    • 1:05 What are healthy boundaries and why are they important?
    • 4:08 Internal and external boundaries
    • 7:37 Introduction of special guests Jill and Meg Molli
    • 10:20 Jill and Meg’s different approaches to setting boundaries
    • 18:36 Confidence as a factor in setting healthy boundaries
    • 25:50 Inner speech and healthy boundaries
    • 27:40 Naming and taming emotions
    • 38:30 Reaching out for support
    • 43:16 Recap: Tips for setting healthy boundaries
    • 46:25 What’s Becky up to?
    • 46:48 What’s Becky celebrating?

    Thank You for Listening

Free 3-Part Webinar: Building Safety and Connection in Foster and Adoptive Families

*From the Conscious Discipline blog –

Across our country, there are thousands of children in the foster care system who need permanent family connections to carry them into adulthood. Conscious Discipline celebrates the countless families who say YES to foster care and adoption. Equally important is acknowledging the unique challenges that often accompany this choice.

Conscious Discipline is designed to create the safety and connection that children and adults need to build healthy relationships, solve problems and thrive. Safety and connection are especially important for children who have experienced trauma, a category that applies to all children who find themselves in foster care.

That’s why we’re introducing a FREE three-part webinar series titled Building Safety and Connection in Foster and Adoptive Families with Amy Speidel.

Amy is a Conscious Discipline Master Instructor as well as a foster and adoptive mother. She is passionate about supporting families as they navigate trauma and transition. Amy has decades of experience coaching parents and educators and is eager to share what she’s learned with you.

Over three video sessions, Amy shares stories, inspiration, and specific tips and examples that will help you deepen connection and emotional health in your family. Topics covered include helping children acclimate, teaching expectations and skills in a way that feels safe, providing structure, anticipating events that may be triggering, and managing big behaviors.

We’re hopeful that this resource will help you navigate the journey Amy describes as “complicated, messy, and completely worth it.”

As always, I wish you and your family well

Effective Consequences

This is Part One of a three-part series on Conscious Discipline consequences.

Conscious Discipline offers solutions for social-emotional learning, discipline and self-regulation. The goal is to help parents and schools reach and teach every child. Once instilled, these essential skills will last a lifetime and positively impact generations to come.

A common misconception about Conscious Discipline is that there are no consequences. The reality is that Conscious Discipline has effective consequences instead of traditional consequences. The first six powers and skills of Conscious Discipline build a foundation that makes effective consequences possible.

Building that foundation takes time, but the payoff is huge! Effective consequences motivate children to make permanent positive changes in their behavior. This is something that quick fixes like time-outs, spankings, and even reward systems can never achieve.

Why Punishments (Traditional Consequences) Don’t Work

Before we can discuss why, we first must face the truth: Punishments don’t work. Because our belief in punishment has been deeply ingrained for generations, this truth isn’t easy to accept.

But if punishment works, why have all of us been punished at some point, only to repeat the behavior? Why are the same students punished over and over? Why are prison recidivism rates so high?

Punishment doesn’t work, and here’s why:

  • Punishments are all about us and our judgment of the behavior, rather than about the child’s actions and how they have impacted others.
  • Punishments don’t ask children to reflect on their actions or take personal responsibility.
  • They don’t ask children to recognize or manage their emotions.
  • They don’t teach missing skills.
  • They don’t intrinsically motivate children to change their behavior.

Instead, punishments intimidate children into compliance (or into lying and manipulating). Do we want children to behave because they’re scared of punishment and want to please us, or do we want them to behave because they’ve truly learned a better way?

Punishment also teaches children to rely on the judgment of others to dictate their behavior. This may work out while they’re young and the “other” is an adult. But what about when they grow into teenagers and the “others” become their peers?

The truth is this: Punishments don’t work. This isn’t just feel-good fluff; it’s brain science.

Punishments vs. Consequences

The good news is that consequences—effective ones—do work! We often use the terms “punishment” and “consequence” interchangeably, but they are not the same. The table below illustrates a few key differences:

Punishments Consequences
Make children suffer for having a problem Teach children how to solve problems
Cause children to fear making mistakes Show children that mistakes are opportunities to learn
Rely on judgement Rely on reflection and personal responsibility
Provide extrinsic motivation to please others and avoid physical/emotional pain Provide intrinsic motivation to use or learn new skills
Focus on what not to do Focus on what to do instead

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