We all need boundaries – kids, parents, professionals. When working on flexibility with our kids, we include the concept of learning about boundaries. This might seem contradicting, but if you don’t teach your child about boundaries, they won’t be able to respect, utilize and manage their freedom. Let’s look at that for a moment. If you provide your child with rules during an outing, include visual strategies to reinforce these rules, perhaps a social story to explain the reasons for these rules and a structured schedule that clearly states your child will participate in more fun activities after the outing, your child is more likely to keep within the boundaries of the outing. This might mean that he or she might not run away from you if they suspect an upcoming transition or resist a sudden change.
It all comes back to preparing our kids for their daily routine, including visual strategies and explaining to them what is expected of them (with clear reasons that make sense to him or her).
Boundaries as parents
Our parents are all truly special – they go above and beyond to support their children through various activities, therapies, suggested strategies and always hold their hand through this journey. We understand that it’s important for parents to also have healthy boundaries with the many professionals that they work with. Parents often ask us advice on specific topics, but the truth is – you know your child best. You know when he/she should have a break – this can even mean a break from therapy for a bit. Always remember that you are the true expert when it comes to your child. At AIMS we want you to tell us your thoughts and ideas regarding the concepts that we include – we want you to tell us what you and your family needs. It should be like this – you should be in control of this relationship. Keep those boundaries healthy and professional.
Boundaries for therapists
Just like our parents need firm boundaries with professionals, so does the therapist that works with your child with you and your child. We usually ask our therapists to become “besties” (mentors) to your child, but we want them to still be seen as therapists to the clients – ie, you as parents. There are many reasons for this, but the most important one is that they also need some free time to recuperate (just like our kids need their free time). We want our therapists to be fully engaged and interactive during their sessions and thus, we ask them to “switch off” when their sessions are done (and prep work for the next day). Please understand that this is in the best interest of not only them, but your child and yourself too.
Boundaries in general
I have learnt that in order to be fully successful in any type of interaction – whether this is with a parent, a child, a therapist or even a friend – that I need to switch off thoughts and ideas from previous or possible future interactions and be present in the moment. One of the concepts that we work on at AIMS is mindfulness and we have to “practice what we preach” and thus when we interact with a client, we don’t attend to any other messages or thoughts of other families. We usually ask therapists, parents and professionals to schedule conference calls if they wish to speak to us about programs or behavior, this way we can give them our full attention and keep consistency with what we suggest and what therapists should implement during session times. Again, it really is in everyone’s best interest to keep these professional boundaries quite consistent.
So, if you ever need to speak to us – please feel free to send Regine, our HR manager an email who can schedule this for all of us: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you remind yourself to keep your boundaries with work and those in your life also firm to serve you and the way you interact with them positive.
Have a great week!