Healthy boundaries- what are they? How does one go about creating and enforcing them without offending? Are the rules different when referencing clingy children?
These questions are stoking the fires of my brain cells and keeping me awake at night. Primarily because for most people, boundary setting involves putting physical space and time between oneself and the person or people with whom the boundary is desired. However, my current environment, living with my sister and her family, creates a significant barrier to achieving this.
Also, within the realm of child relations, being an aunt differs significantly from being a parent. I am, to a large extent, a novelty around these parts. My nieces and nephew test their boundaries because I am a relatively new staple in their lives. They are gauging my reactions and learning my patterns, much as I am doing with each of them. While this is a learning process for us all, because I have never spent significant time around children, nor do I hold a graduate degree in child psychology, I find myself merely guessing at their motives and googling far more often than I care to admit.
Children defy all logic. They are fickle, fleeting and often impossible. A moment of privacy in the restroom without incessant banging on the door and shouting through it can't be too much to ask for, can it?
Kids are also frequently amusing, and perceptive far beyond what their physical age and embodiment might suggest. Their remarks are often wildly telling, of both the general family dynamic, and also, of their parents.
All of this is wonderful, except that patience is not to be counted amongst the greatest of my virtues, and I did not sign up for thankless service as a handmaiden.
So, sage Spark-folk, any wise tips on freeing oneself from the tiny, but powerful clutches of coddled youngsters?