Why Limits Are Good for Children

Why Limits Are Good For Children

Claire Lerner, child psychologist and therapist, nailed it! She wrote: “For the vast majority of the families I see each year, the root cause of the challenge for which they are seeking consultation is an absence of limits and the power struggles that flourish in this void. That is what is making everyone miserable— parents and children—and is resulting in less, not more, emotional regulation (for kids and parents!)”

With over 27 years of experience in dealing with children at ICCC, we can only add that the absence of limits is making not only children and parents miserable, but teachers too. Nothing is more time and energy consuming for teachers, and nothing requires more skills and experience, than working with children who expect nothing less than having things their way.

Many parents fail to set important limits for their child, often with the best of intentions. An example will be extending bedtime because the child wants yet one more bedtime story, or allowing more screen time, or buying a new toy. We bend our own rules because our child is upset, and by doing this we lay the ground for yet more power struggles. When we send the child the message that their strategy is working and they will eventually get what they want, we should not be surprised that they keep acting like this and become more resourceful and energetic in applying such strategies. 

There is numerous advice out there about what parents can do to set limits in a healthy and respectful way for children. We can recommend two great blogs by Claire Lerner and Allison Shafer who are both Adlerian psychologists and advocates for positive psychology in which the positive discipline approach is rooted. You can find many useful articles and resources about dealing with challenging behavior in both blogs.

Photo by Freepik (www.freepik.com)

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