Saturday, January 17, 2009


I love how Dawn urged readers to listen to the Lord's leading in this. It is very different for every family based on the relationships that are in your life. For us, we have many family members near us geographically. We chose to set tight boundaries from the very beginning so as not to overwhelm the children. 

We sent out a letter explaining attachment and why were setting these boundaries. We felt this was better for our situation than having to draw back boundaries if we saw issues arise. My husband and I were the only ones that fed, snuggled, cared for, bathed, changed, etc. our kids. After a few months, we allowed the girls to accept food or hugs from intimates if they asked. This included best friends, grandparents, aunts and uncles. This was a huge step because of our large family, it was allowing many people into that stage. Other people are allowed to receive high fives or waves. Some signs that they were attaching and ready for boundaries expanding were:

not needing to redirect them to us to meet their needs when other adults were around
coming to us when they were hurt or had a need (whether other adults were around or not)
not seeking the attention or affection of strangers
not needing to remind them to ask for hugs, etc

I think it is also important to remember that you might need to set different boundaries with different kids. We have three children home through adoption. One struggles with these things more than the other two. They have more "freedom" than she does. I cannot stunt the emotional development of some of my children because of her struggles. For one child, it might be okay if she sits on grandma's lap and reads a story. For another, such an action puts a wall between her and me. It is a set back. It is not appropriate for her. That is really hard to communicate to friends and family, but I think gently sharing the importance of how they are helping your child heal assists in that. They are ongoing conversations, but in the end, you have to do what is best for your child despite what others, even intimates, think about it.
let us know if you have further questions....