“The wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher”

Chinese Proverb

Did you ever hit black ice on the road? One minute you are driving along smoothly, the next minute you are doing a “180”, almost completely out of control.

That’s how it can feel when your little baby, who previously allowed you to lovingly meet his needs, enters toddler-hood. As children begin to assert their independence, many parents feel both exhilarated by the growth and unprepared to deal with this new little person:
• You may feel excited about their beginning to speak, but some of the things they say may stand your hair on edge, especially the incessant and forceful “No’s.”
• You may be thrilled that they now walk, but of course, this means they can run away from you – and you find yourself constantly running after them.
• You may be so pleased that they are more independent, but now they have opinions on everything from what they wear to what they eat to what songs you can sing.

It’s time to become a disciplinarian as well as the nurturing and loving caretaker you have been. It’s time to set limits to protect your children, make them feel safe, give them knowledge of what is expected of them and provide them with a sense of control and power over their own little world.

But limit setting needs to be realistic based on the child’s age, temperament, and developmental stage. If you do your best to understand child development while trying to set reasonable limits, your life with this ever-changing child can be more enjoyable. It may still be challenging to figure out how to cope with these new stages, but learning about the ins-and-outs of limit setting can minimize the “black ice” feeling and maximize the joy in this new phase of your parenting journey.

By Claire Gawinowicz, Certified Parenting Educator

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