Rafed English

How to Set Effective Limits for Your Child

You've probably heard that kids need limits. I myself used to question this premise. But what I learned by watching kids is confirmed by research findings in neurology. As children are faced with the necessity to rein in their impulse toward something they want (for instance, to grab the toy from the baby), so they can have something they want more (a warm, happy connection with you), they learn self-control.  So our limits actually teach kids to set limits for themselves, which is otherwise known as self-discipline.



"But I hate setting limits.  It's the worst part of being a parent!" Some parents, the ones I might call permissive, tell me they hate setting limits, particularly when their children are toddlers and respond with great frustration. They hate the idea of causing their child more grief, they don’t want to incite a tantrum, and they certainly don’t want their child to be angry at them. Over time, though, they often see that their children do not develop the ability to tolerate frustration or to manage themselves. These children are often referred to by others as “spoiled.”

"I count to three and they jump.  No raising a brat for me!"  Other parents boast that they have no problem in setting limits, and are proud of their child’s quick obedience to their directives. Their children often do well until high school, when it becomes apparent that they haven't developed good judgment or the ability to think for themselves. Kids who have been raised in an authoritarian manner are more likely to go along with their peers, to become bullies or victims, to have difficulty managing their anger, and to become adults who are more prone to depression

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