Many parents find themselves in an odd position of bending their own rules or even compromising with their kids over a particular rule. With a child’s innocent and adorable nature, it is just common for parents to question their resolve when implementing set boundaries. But even if this is a common scenario, parents should be persistent in setting limits in order to allow a child to grow up in a safe and secured environment.
Most of the limits that we set at home are actually aimed at allowing a child to explore his surroundings safely. And although kids may resist limits, it actually makes them feel more secured knowing that boundaries are there to protect them. Without limits, the world can be such a terrifying place for kids, and they may never find the courage to explore and learn socially acceptable behavior.
Here are some guidelines when setting limits at home:
1. Make sure that you are setting reasonable boundaries. When setting limits, it’s important to remember that you are dealing with a child. It’s not realistic to expect a young child to stay neat after a meal when he is still mastering his fine motor skills. Ensure that the limits you set are attainable. Unreasonable rules can easily lead to undue stress considering that a child will do everything to please his parents. Over time, it can greatly affect a child’s self-esteem.
2. Explain to your child the reason for such limits. Instead of saying that a child can’t go near the stove, you need to explain in detail the exact reason. When a child understands why he’s prohibited to do something, he may be more obliged to follow. Children need very clear instructions because they can’t anticipate things the way adults do.
3. Be consistent. If you find yourself struggling with your own rules, your child will also not take your guidelines seriously. For kids to respect rules, they need to see that the rules you impose do not change from day to day.
4. Give your child some hand when setting rules. When establishing a bedtime routine, you can get suggestions from your child regarding the activities that he may like to do before going to bed. But although you are giving him some control, don’t compromise especially when it means that you need to bend your own rules.
5. Modify limits according to your child’s developmental stage. As a child grows older, you also need to adjust limits. Older children will yearn for more freedom, and although it’s difficult, you need give them more autonomy so that they can grow up to be responsible individuals. As a parent, you are the best judge as to whether your child is already ready to handle more responsibility.
Children need a positive environment so that they can grow up ready to handle bigger tasks ahead. Through limit setting, they are able to feel that you are taking steps to protect them. Although they may not be too happy with the idea of restrictions, they will soon realize that it’s only for their own welfare.
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