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Jenny Hale: Accepting Limits

Accepting Limits- Why it is good for children

Back-pedaling on your boundaries Oh alright then, just one more- anything to shush you up!

How hard does your child have to push to get you to back down?  Have your children found you quite moveable someone that can change their mind with a bit of relentless whining or tears? Or maybe the threat of an explosive tantrum can have you back-pedaling on your boundaries.

Children arent usually happy about having to change their plan to yours, but if youre persistent and friendly, and your child knows from experience that youre not going to budge, the resistance will be shorter and less intense.

You are in the supermarket, running late for getting your kids to their after school programme.  Your 6-year-old is asking for a crunchie bar that she has spotted in the checkout aisle.

You have said NO twice and she is just starting to wind up to the next level. Tears and whining mixed together. Quite loud and penetrating.

You are embarrassed and shushing her up isnt working. You have tried unsuccessfully to distract her but she isnt buying into being jollied out of it. Nor is she buying into your threats of missing out on television tonight

To save face you give in. You justify it by saying to yourself and to her that it is just this once.

But Miss 6-year-old knows that she has found your weak spot. She will pull this one out again sometimes in the supermarket, when you are out with friends, when you ask her to stop kicking the back of your car seat and when you ask her to turn the television off.

What children do well;

  • Children learn to read their parents well. If their reactions and behaviour are worthwhile they will be repeated. They dont mind a growl, a lecture, huffing and puffing, as long as they can get what they were after.
  • Children will use guilt to buckle you. They will sulk, be sad, and compare their situation with their friends who will be allowed to do so much more than them.
  • Many children will use the You dont love me or You are the meanest Mother in the world!
  • Children are good at being persistent and relentless. They know how to hang in there to get a change of mind.

  Parents need to;

  • Stay strong under fire. Be prepared to be pressured and be ready to stay the course. Your strength will offer them great security.
  • Say no to your children sometimes. They dont like the word but you need to prepare them to cope with disappointment. They are so much nicer to live with when  they can accept No is sometimes going to be the answer.
  • Be aware of the guilt button. Stop giving in because you are trying to compensate for some other deficit in their lives.
  • Remember that setting limits and sticking to them is another way of showing that you care enough to bother.

The result;

Children get on with being children when they dont have to test you regularly. When they know that you will be fair but immovable, they stop always testing you.

They enjoy life more when they feel confident that they can handle lifes certain disappointments.

They can label themselves as self controlled, patient and resilient.