Wow, what a title, huh.
I think there is a common misunderstanding that when you practice a form of gentle-parenting, Montessori, or have a PDA Autistic child that you can’t set boundaries. But really, the opposite is true. Boundaries and rules are so important. You see, boundaries set the limits, and rules tell how.
Boundaries and rules don’t stifle a child and their independence rather they assist in guiding.
While you can set boundaries and create rules, how do you encourage your child to follow them?
-First, set realistic expectations. Are these rules and boundaries that you and your child both will be able to follow–as well as all the other members in the household? Let’s be honest, if rules differ a great deal, it’s going to be so challenging. Also, you may have some great boundaries and rules, but are you able to keep to them even at the end of a long day? If not, time to adjust and be more realistic.
-Consistency! You wouldn’t want to play a game with ever-changing rules, would you? You don’t know what or when to expect anything–it creates confusion. The same goes with children if expectations aren’t consistent. I see this too often when a parent is busy on their phone and a child is able to do things they normally wouldn’t be able to. And right now, as many parents are forced to work from home and childcare isn’t as accessible, this can create challenges in the ability to be consistent. So practice grace and be mindful of what rules and boundaries are truly important.
-Options. Redirection and options have always been, and shall always remain, a Montessori go-to, but options are also a must for PDA Autistics. Our brains are wired to protect us against anxiety and expectations are anxiety-inducing. Options are a way to help us, it’s like providing an out, a way to tell our brain that it’s making the choice, therefore it’s okay. Please remember that our frustration over demands is NOT a choice.
I hope you have found this helpful. Want me to talk about something in particular? Please feel free to leave me a comment below and let me know.