Without definite, firm, effective limit-setting from a parent, a child is pushed to find limits for himself. That’s hard and often scary.
T. Berry Brazelton
“In this house, we do not call names.”
“Do not pull the cat’s whiskers, pet her gently.”
“You may have an apple before dinner, not a cookie.”
These “limit setting” statements give children a feeling of safety and security and help children understand what to do and what not to do.
Young children are impulsive, resist their parents as a way to feel like they are separate from them, are easily frustrated, and can be demanding. Parenting is the hardest job in the world and can put many stresses and strains on us. Since our expectations of life with children may not always be realistic, learning about child development can help you understand what to expect from your children, so that you don’t take challenging behavior personally.
Following are some healthy and effective ways you can set limits to keep your toddler safe and still allow him a level of independence:
- DO give two “yesses” for every “no” -”You may not throw the ball in house. You may roll it on the floor or throw it outside.”
- DO state the rule, “In our family, we don’t hit. When you are angry, use your words. ” If necessary, DO repeat the rule, “The rule is no hitting.”
- DO stay calm, even if you don’t feel it.
- DO use timeouts “ the idea is to separate the child from the situation, help them to calm down, and come up with a plan to reenter the situation. It is not meant to punish the child.
- DON’T hit or spank, call names, threaten or bribe, blame or shame.
Limit Setting is a way to help children curb their impulses and when done in a healthy way, it contributes to healthy self-esteem and self-reliance.
by Claire Gawinowicz
Certified Parenting Educator