Nothing feels safer to a child than a parent who cares enough to set limits. – Dr.Joan Simeo Munson
How do we set limits for our children?That is a question that every parent will address over and over again as their children grow.It would be a lot simpler if there were just one answer to that question, but the reality is that there are many answers.
As a parent, we must tailor the way we set limits to each of our children and their unique needs, abilities, and developmental stage. Of course, to complicate this, the variable we cannot control is our child and their response to our limit setting. Yes, setting limits is a tough thing to do, but luckily, it is not impossible!
Before we do though, I want you to either go back to when you were a child or attempt to put yourself in your child’s shoes. We are going to look at what a child may experience when a parent uses this tricks. Think like a child would in this instance and really try to feel and make sense of the situation.
Tip 1: Team Rule Setting
There is a simple rule when it comes to humans and compliant behavior: the more input we feel we have in the decision-making process, the more compliant we are likely to be.The idea behind Team Rule Setting is simple: get your children involved in limit and rule-setting!
The Team Rule Setting strategy does increase the amount of compliance and also takes the stress off our shoulders as parents. Let your children be heard, give them the room to speak, and be willing to adjust your ideas based on the input you receive. Remember, we are more likely to comply with something we helped develop, so use that to everyone’s advantage!
Tip 2: The Three-Step Method
One thing you might run into as you set expectations proactively is that your child does not seem to understand or remember those expectations. This can be frustrating as a parent and feel like you are back at the start. This is where the Three-Step Method can be of help to you and your child, and it is incredibly simple, you just need to take the time to do it!
Step 1: Express your expectations.
We are letting our child know what our expectations are, what the line is, and what we will do if the line is crossed. It is also good to let the child know the positive outcomes, so include what will occur if they follow expectations.
Step 2: Both you and your child express expectations.
Together, with your child, walk through the expectations and what will occur. Repetitive? A little bit, but we learn through repetition. This also helps eliminate the “I didn’t know” response that we can often get from our children!
Step 3: Your child expresses the expectations.
Have your child walk through it a third time on their own so you know they understood it or you can clarify any gaps.
A child supplies the power , but the parents have to do the steering. –Benjamin Spock