• How to Set Boundaries for Teens with Conscious Parenting—Mighty Parenting 219 with Ellen Gottlieb

  • conscious parenting

    People tell us that constant push back is normal for teenagers and parents need to be grateful because it means they’re growing up. But this push back can leave parents feeling disconnected from their teen. And what happens when the pushback takes the form of breaking curfew, failing exams, and talking back, or constantly butting heads? We can feel like we’re living in a constant struggle. What if there was a different way, one that helped your child grow and mature while fostering a deeper connection between you and them? Ellen Gottlieb has that alternative path and she’s sharing it with Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler.  They discuss how to set boundaries for teens using conscious parenting techniques and show parents how to deepen connection while keeping teens safe.

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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    Change doesn’t come from yelling and reacting, from judging and criticizing; it comes from awareness of a pattern.

    High Points From Our Conversation on Conscious Parenting:

    Pillars of Conscious Parenting
    Quote about conscious parenting

    There are 2 pillars of conscious parenting: connection and boundaries.

    Parents think they’re connected to their children but don’t realize their connections are transactional and conditional. 

    Deep connection stems from listening without judgement, criticism, and blame.

    Setting boundaries isn’t about deciding when to inflict punishment which seeks to control. Boundaries are set to provide safe limits and they seek to teach.

    Before we can begin to implement any boundaries we must understand how we can, and want, to show up for our child.

    Foundations for Boundaries

    Parents need to look inward and start to understand and deconstruct their own belief systems because our beliefs steer the ship in our parenting. 

    Before setting a boundary, ask:

    • What is my purpose?

    • Who am I serving? / What is my intention?

    Types of Boundaries 

    There are 2 types of boundaries—essential and non-essential. 

    Many essential boundaries are universal: safety, education, respect of self and others, proper nutrition, sleep, etc.

    Non-essential, softer boundaries need more thought about why we are implementing them. The first step is to look inward and see what we’re trying to accomplish. 

    Parental Growth in Conscious Parenting

    Parents have so many wants for our children and we dump those wants on our children through boundaries. Doing this can assert a lot of pressure on our children.

    Ellen had to work at this herself. She realized she was unconsciously imposing her agenda on her children. She had to release the desire to shape outcomes.

    The only way to let go and let our children be is to notice your own fear. All of our need for control stems from our own fears. 

    Parents need to understand their own internal emotional landscape so they don’t dump it on the next generation.

    Fear drives us in our worst decisions and creates our worst parenting moments.

    Pain is an arena for growth. It’s in the pain that we become willing to release some of our control and learn.

    Life is not just about seeking happiness; it’s about creating meaning in life through all the experiences that come at us, including the painful ones.

    Conscious Parenting and Connection

    Connection involves non-reactivity and emotional regulation as well as creating boundaries with your children, not just for them.

    We need to recognize there’s more than one way to move through this world.

    It’s important to not label our children in regards to skills and desirable traits or in terms of the negative. That causes us to push them down a path or push them away from a path.

    How to Set Boundaries for Teens

    Each family has to determine what their essential boundaries are.

    Work together as a family to determine your essential boundaries. The more buy-in you get from your kids when setting boundaries, the more likely they are to not breach those boundaries.

    With the less essential boundaries it’s important to ask yourself why set that boundary for your teen. For example, no eating in front of the TV. Why are you setting that rule? How important is that?

    Boundaries are there to protect your children. It’s a way of saying I love you in a different manner. When you set boundaries for your teen in an authoritarian way, you lose connection and make them angry. Approaching it from a caring and collaborative way creates connection.

    If your child tells you they don’t agree with a boundary then have a conversation. Ask: Why is that? What makes sense to you? Then listen to them and really consider why you set that boundary; make sure you’re not operating out of fear.

    When Trust is Broken and Boundaries are Breached

    Trust has to be created and it is created through connection.

    When our child breaches our trust we need to understand that we created the conditions for that breach to happen, and we can change those conditions.

    • Allow the natural consequence to flow from the breach of a boundary

    • Instead of screaming, look inward, notice your frustration, and allow the consequence

    If it happens repeatedly then it’s time to create some new ground rules. Start by talking about why this pattern has been created and shift boundaries accordingly. 

    It’s likely the pattern that’s been created has come from their inner child voice—which they cannot stop—so yelling at them isn’t going to create change. Change comes from awareness of a pattern. 


    Teens need purpose. That purpose will drive their behavior.

    Supporting your child’s purpose helps them felt seen and heard.

    We create self-esteem by helping our child answer the questions all human beings are asking themselves: Do you hear me and see me? Am I worthy? Our teen’s answers come when we listen well and support them, whoever they are.

    Ask them: What moves you? How can I support you? And then support them.

    Tune into the child in front of you. Adore them for their ordinariness, tune in and simply listen. When we’re silent and listen then we’ll know how to connect and set the boundaries this child needs.


    How to Raise a Parent: Becoming a Conscious Parent in an Unconscious World

    Parenting Power Struggles – Tired of Fighting with Your Teen? | Neil D. Brown | Episode 25

    Am I Parenting Right | Dr Steven Fonso | Episode 110

    Boundaries for Teens | Lauren Coglianese Keck | Episode 193

    Our Guest Ellen Gottlieb:

    Ellen Gottlieb discusses conscious parenting

    Ellen is an attorney and certified conscious parenting coach. She coaches parents and individuals teaching them how to live a more mindful, joyful life. Ellen recently published her new book called How to Raise a Parent: Becoming a Conscious Parent in an Unconscious World. She has been successfully guiding parents as she teaches them to shed their entrenched patterns and create deeper connections with their children which fosters self-confidence and reduces anxiety. 

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit www.enlightenedparenting.co.

    From Sandy:

    It’s easier to listen and connect with your teenager when you are calm. Grab Sandy’s complimentary lesson on finding calm at https://sandyfowler.com