Christmas is only a few weeks away! The Holiday weeks are generally a merry and happy time of parties, meetups, and reunions with friends and families. While it’s a joyful time to reunite with loved ones, it can also bring stress for both adults and children.
For us, part of the Holiday stress can come from uncalled for comments from relatives and family members. Statements such as 'Ang taba mo ngayon,' 'Kelan mo susundan ang anak mo,' and 'Magkano na sweldo mo ngayon' can sometimes make us wish that we had stayed home instead.
Sadly for moms, comments involving their kids are also cause for undue Holiday stress. More so if it’s a comment or indulgence that can affect our child’s established routines and boundaries. And while it may come from well-intentioned relatives and friends who mean well, it’s still best to be firm when it comes to your family’s boundaries, especially if it involves your kids.
Gigi, an advocate of gentle and conscious parenting, shares tips on setting limits for your family this holiday season with firmness and kindness in an Instagram post. Here are Gigi’s 6 boundaries to set with other adults or family members during the Holidays, plus Filipino versions–so you can use them right away.
“He mentioned he is already done with his meal, he doesn’t want anymore. Thank you for offering though.”
Or: “Tapos na po siya kumain, and OK na po siya. Salamat po sa offer.”
Use this response when a relative or friend insists on offering more food to your child despite him expressing that he’s finished eating. Aside from respecting your child’s boundaries when it comes to his food intake, it is also important to not pressure your child to eat more as doing so can lead to negative consequences such as less willingness to eat food and overeating.
“I don’t think she wants a hug. We can ask if she would prefer a high five or fist bump.”
Or: “Parang ayaw po niya ng yakap ngayon. Pero pwede natin siya tanungin if pwede mag-high five or fist bump nalang.”
Say it when: A relative or friend is asking your child for a hug or a kiss. You can also say it quickly if said adult is in the actual act of hugging or kissing your child. Experts say that forcing your child to hug or kiss a relative or friend, even if it might be in the best intentions, can send a message that their comfort and personal boundaries are less important than pleasing others. It can impress upon them that affection can be forced. Hence, recognizing and protecting our child’s physical affection boundaries can protect them from falling into unsafe situations and forms of abuse.
“I don’t think she is shy. The last time she saw you guys, she was very little. She needs time to warm up.”
Or: “Hindi po siya mahiyain. Medyo maliit pa kasi siya nung last niya kayong nakita, kaya kailangan lang niya masanay ulit."
Use this response when a relative or friend asks your child to play and labels him as shy if he hesitates. It is important to recognize that children have different temperaments, and some kids could be more cautious when it comes to dealing with new people or situations. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
“Please stop calling him naughty. He is playing with it. He doesn’t need to share with her right now. If she wants to play, we can let him know she is taking turns to play.”
Or: “Huwag niyo po siyang tawaging makulit. Naglalaro po siya and hindi niya kailangan mag-share sa ngayon. Kung gusto po makipaglaro ng ibang bato, pwede po natin siya sabihan.”
Say it when: A relative or friend is calling your child naughty since he does not want to play or share his toys with other kids. Teaching your child that it’s okay to say no if he doesn’t want to share his toys or take turns while playing is crucial for instilling a sense of social boundaries, helping him grasp appropriate behavior in various settings.
“I don’t appreciate that you secretly gave her chocolate and let her know not to tell me. Eating chocolate is not a problem. I’m teaching her that safe people don’t keep secrets."
Or: “Hindi ko po nagustuhan na binigyan niyo siya ng chocolate at sinabihan na huwag sabihin sa akin. Hindi problema na kumain siya ng chocolate. Pero tinuturuan ko siya na ang mga safe people ay hindi nagtatago ng sikreto sa akin.”
Say it when: When a relative or friend asked your child to keep something a secret from you, whether it involves eating chocolate or not. Safe people, or adults who we will entrust our kids to, know better than ask our child to keep secrets from us. And it’s best that other adults know and respect this.
“We had fun celebrating with you all and it’s almost time to start our nighttime routine. We really need to leave now.”
Or: “Maraming salamat po sa masayang handaan, pero kailangan na po niya magpahinga at malapit na bedtime. Salamat po.”
Say it when: Your child is obviously tired, or is nearing his bedtime, or your family needs to get home. It is best to try to stick to your child’s bedtime routines even during the Holidays as it will ensure that they get enough sleep to support their development. Plus, it also means that they whine less and will not throw tantrums.
Remember, it’s perfectly okay to assert yourself and establish boundaries, even within your family. And it’s absolutely okay to do the same for your child.