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  • Autumn Quiles, LCSW

Boundaries and Consequences

Grownups are allowed to say No.

"Would you like broccoli with that?" No.

"Do you want to do that job?" No.

"Can I give you a hug?" No.

Children, by contrast, are often punished for saying No. In fact, depending on how much their grownup wantsorneeds them to say Yes, they may not be given a choice. Their compliance is expected. And, their noncompliance is - overtly or covertly- punished.

"Eat your broccoli."

"Do this job."

"Give me a hug."

For all the grownups reading this:

can you imagine... fathom... how you would feel if you were stripped of your power to say No?

Children who are stripped of their power to say No... or who give it away willingly... or who are afraid to wield it... become very, very unhappy. I have known many of these children.

Still, many loving grownups are afraid of encouraging their child's power.

"She will say No to me! Or her Coach!"

"He will do nothing all day- becoming a sloth!"

"She will become a pariah on society!"

This may be true.

Because there are consequences to everything we do. Consequences for the No's. Consequences for the Yes's. Consequences for the Ambivalence. This is ancient wisdom. Almost all spiritual teachings consider this a Truth; the bible references the law of sowing and reaping... the action and it's consequences are described in the doctrine of karma... Islam's concept of tasting the fruits of one's actions.

If we want to raise healthy, happy humans, then we must help them attain this wisdom. We must respect their Power to Say No. Or Yes. Or Maybe. And we must allow them to feel the Consequences that come from using their Power.

I have spent much of my life helping children reclaim and wield this power. I have spent almost as much time helping their grownups allow consequences for this power. If this power has become distorted or thwarted or too big or too little in your home, I would like to help you bring it back into balance.

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