Setting Limits and Boundaries
Our program is focused primarily on fun! That being said, there are times in every match when Bigs and guardians will need to set limits during outings. Particularly in new friendships, it can be tough to balance the “fun” with having to say “no” or set boundaries. But there are times when establishing personal boundaries and expectations are important for the success and safety of an outing. Bigs should feel empowered to say no or redirect Littles in the moment if behavior is unsafe or harmful.
A couple of examples might be parameters around using a cell phone during outings, frequency or length of outings, saying no to buying gifts or items, or to ensure safety.
Establishing match expectations should be a group effort; ideally a conversation that Big, guardian, and Little have together ahead of time and so everyone knows what to expect during an outing. Having rapport between a Guardian and Big to discuss boundary setting is critical in order to support Littles healthy development and safety. It can be very useful to re-establish expectations and boundaries at the start of each outing. Littles may also need reminders during outings.
Tips for When Boundaries are Pushed:
Bigs should pull Little away from activity and or other people and calmly try to understand why Little is not following rules/boundary.
Bigs should talk to Guardians following an outing to inform them of behavior and best strategies navigating these behaviors in the future. Consider how to engage Little in conversation based on their age and the rapport with Big. Match Support can be a great resource for planning and navigating these conversations.
Bigs should end outings and call Guardian if Little is unable to self-regulate and follow boundaries set or be safe when out together.