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To Structure or Not to Structure

How to choose between limits or lack there of .....

When in doubt, structure it up. Consider this, if you had a lump of clay, the only way it would take any shape at all would be to add some pressure. To have it grow uniformly, we add pressure in a balanced way.

In consideration of all things related to child rearing, relationships, and work- think of this concept and how it can apply. Insert this concept when you feel bothered or any kind of angst.

For example, you struggle with stress about dinner at your boyfriend's house. He wants you there more, you need some alone time. I refer to boundaries and structure as "bookends". So, in this case, add the bookends.... go there 3 nights a week, any three. No more, no less. Make it routine or change it up, but three is the magic number. The number is not as important as is what it does for stress, communication and emotional relief. The pressure is off. There can be more time for the real connection to form. Time apart and together are not forced or mid-understood. If this relationship is meant to be, relieving this particular "fight" allows the relationship to be explored more purely in terms of "are we a match?".

Your child wants computer time, you think she should have it. How much? It ultimately doesn't matter. What matters more is the structure and respect for the structure that you put in place. Windows to play are 7-9 in the event that x,y,z is done. In that window, there can be 90 mins of screen time. It may take some work at first, but the 90 minute window is the key, and within another window is the other key. There is flexibility and structure as well as the capacity for the child to learn self-regulation. Once this level is mastered after self-regulation, you can be less rigid. 6-10 window, 3 hours total time etc. etc. It can be ANY structure you want- it could be three nights a week are screen nights 6-8 pm. Other nights are quiet nights.

Dealing with your parents and their needs? Communicate a visit every "x" day and a time frame and allow things to all fall in that space as much as possible.
The while point is PREDICTABILITY. Am I yelling? :) I do not mean to yell, but this is the foundation for success behind the bookends concept. Once it becomes predictable, it becomes mentally and emotionally manageable for all parties.

Most importantly, there can be growth. Growth can be in the form of love, of development, of trust, of safety and so on. It provides a secure foundation from which to take another step.

Books do not hold themselves up on a shelf, do they? Add some bookends so you can see what you have to read. If I can help you in this area, come find me and let's talk about something unmanageable and how we can help you create organization.

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