Make-up Lesson Boundaries – Are you enabling bad behavior?
You’ve heard about the importance of setting boundaries, right? About 10 years ago, that phase, “setting boundaries” was all the rage in counseling. So many books were written about it and honestly, I got a little tired of hearing about it.
But recently, I had a situation in my life in which I was getting emotionally exhausted with fixing and excusing someone else’s issues. Someone sent me an email with a little blurb from Dr. Henry Cloud that really woke me up.
The subject line was:
“The most exhausting and toxic thing you can do to yourself”
This is what he said that made a huge impression:
We know that the Law of Cause and Effect is a basic law of life.
If you don’t take care of your body when you’re young, it will wear out sooner as you get older. If you speed in your vehicle, you just might get pulled over and get a ticket.
[But]…the Law of Cause and Effect can be interrupted. And those who have no boundaries are usually the ones who are prone to do the interrupting. Just as we can interfere with the law of gravity by catching a glass falling off of a table, people can interfere with the Law of Cause and Effect by stepping in and rescuing an irresponsible person.
“What?!” I thought. “It’s me that is part of the problem? Not just the irresponsible person whose life is falling apart because of their decisions? Not the person who’s asking me to help bail them out?”
Gulp. Innately, I knew it was true.
This reminded me of the make-up lesson situation in which teachers often find themselves. For teachers who are giving make-up lessons, perhaps thinking in terms of “make-up lesson boundaries” would be a good exercise! [Quick caveat: There are a number of choices that are fine and perfectly acceptable on the “giving make-up lessons continuum.” So, please do not read this as a judgement against what you do! My goal is just to encourage all teachers to thoroughly examine the effect that giving make-up lessons has on everyone!]
Are we enabling over-scheduling and bad behavior by giving make-up lessons?
When we don’t have boundaries with make-up lessons, we are interrupting the natural law of cause and effect. And when we do this, it actual enables the bad behavior of parents who are over-scheduled, demanding, or who just don’t know how to say “no” to things.
Now, don’t misunderstand. Just because someone asks for a make-up lesson doesn’t make them a demanding person. But reasonable people should be able to respect the boundaries that you draw for yourself and your family when you say “I don’t give make-up lessons” or “My schedule doesn’t allow time for make-up lessons,” or when you make them choose from reasonable alternatives.
We teach people how to treat us.
It’s true. We teach people how to treat us by allowing or not allowing certain behaviors.
People learn how to treat you based on what you accept from them.
Allowing make-up lessons without limits/boundaries teaches parents that:
- We are the ones that will give in (not the soccer coach).
- Our schedule is always flexible.
- Our business is the least important of the ones they have chosen.
- Our appointment times don’t really matter.
Is that really what we want to teach people?
But, make-up lesson boundaries have prerequisites.
Changing how we allow people to treat us can be difficult. Here are four things that need to be prioritized to be successful in changing how you handle and enforce a make-up lesson policy:
- We must be convinced that is the best thing for ourselves and the people who depend on us.
Read this tongue-in-check article to help you understand what really happens to you when you give make-up lessons.
- We must be convinced that it is also fair for our families.
Our yearly tuition covers so much more than the 30 or 45 weekly lesson we have with students. So, parents can be confident that even if their child doesn’t not come to their lesson, their tuition is still working for them. Use this “Where Does My Tuition Go?” brochure to help explain this to families and even remind yourself what all you do!
- We must communicate the policy change in a way that shows how it benefits the individual students and the families.
- We must stand firm and not be afraid to repeat ourselves.
Just how many parents’ problems can you shoulder?
We cannot help when parents over-schedule their children. But what we can help is how many of those problems we let parents transfer to us. When we shoulder more than our own scheduling issues, we end up with more stress, less time, and way more emotional decisions to make (like whether we give Sally a make-up lesson on Saturday, whether Michael has had too many make-up lessons, whether we really have time on Tuesday for another make-up lesson for Courtney, etc.).
Eliminating make-up lessons is about giving.
But eliminating make-up lessons is about more than just lessening the stress in our lives. It’s about “creating margin” in which we can have time, mental space, and resources to give to others when they need it!
Setting make-up lesson boundaries is really about creating space to give to those in need both in and outside your studio. (Try re-reading that line 3 times out loud, or until you believe it.)
So if you don’t have extra space in your schedule because of make-up lessons, if you don’t have energy to give because you are overworked, and if you don’t have the desire to help others because it seems like others are taking advantage of you, then it’s time to say no to make-up lessons. I have yet to have anyone who has moved to a no make-up lessons policy tell me that they have regretted their decision.
It’s time to say no to interrupting the law of cause and effect.
Creating make-up lesson boundaries means saying yes!
And remember, saying no means that you are saying yes to something else. Saying no to make-up lessons by setting boundaries means saying yes to:
- Less stress
- More time with your family
- Fewer decisions to make
- Increased time and energy for giving to others
- Less work for the same amount of money
What’s not to love about those boundaries?
If you’d like a copy of this article to review, highlight, or even burn in protest, just download it here! 🙂