Every good father and every good mother wants their children, but sometimes the little ones in the house cannot control themselves, behave badly and can cause more than upheaval.
Therefore, in order to ensure a good dynamic at home and the happiness of all members of the family, it is necessary to set clear limits for the children. The way it should be done should be healthy and without them feeling deprived of exploring the world and testing their abilities and curiosity, which are very typical traits of any healthy childhood.
That is why in this article, as guide for any desperate parent trying to figure out how to put limits on childrenWe will compile some effective tips and strategies for getting children to learn what they can and cannot do.
How to put limits on children?
In recent decades there has been a greater sensitivity towards children and an opinion has been taken against child abuse and physical and emotional violence. However, as a side effect of this, more and more parents who, in an attempt to please their children, have ended up having spoiled children who do not respect their elders.
This is why it is so important to know how to limit children and avoid situations that, as they grow older, will turn them into unfit adults both socially and professionally. Below we will see how to do this.
1. Provisional and fair limits
The child should perceive the limit as something right and, therefore, it really must be an appropriate limit, not the result of an imposition at will of the adult who puts it.
When limits are set, the goal is to make the child understand what is right and what is not, and why there is a limit.
Therefore, do not try to humiliate the child and make him see that he cannot take a particular action because the adult commands it and is silent.
Disproportionate boundaries contribute to the frustration of the child, on top of which it can possibly affect his personality, being afraid to dare to do things for fear of being punished unfairly.
2. Kindness is not the same as permissiveness
Parents must be kind, to avoid that the bad day they may have had at work or because of their children’s reproaches from causing them to bring out a whole series of bad emotions which will of course have a negative impact on the child. but this this does not mean that all actions of the child should be tolerated, Preventing you from feeling sad or angry at any given time.
Allowing a child’s misdeeds to continue, without the parents daring to scold, clearly means that the child has no set boundaries and is created in the right to do whatever he wants.
3. Ask the child to think about what he has done
The typical situation at home: the child breaks a vase and the parents get very angry, punishing him without being able to play with the console. It is logical to think that thanks to negative reinforcement, the child will stop doing what he has been doing; but will he know that what he has done is wrong?
If the child does something and the parents immediately react with disgust and punishment, a very important step in education and learning is really missed: reflection.
When the child does something wrong, you need to sit with him for a while and calmly explain to him why what he did was not right. The punishment comes after giving him a clear and concise explanation of why he shouldn’t do what he has done again.
4. make him help fix what he did wrong
Learning is not just about learning to do things, but also about seeing your own mistakes and learning to correct them.
This is why making the child contribute to finding a solution to the evil he may have done becomes a formidable educational opportunity, making him see the effort involved in having to repair a bad deed he has done.
For example, if he has broken a vase, he may be made to think about how he can fix what he has done, and once he has come to the conclusion that he needs to reassemble the vase, so be he. – even, or with the help of an adult who is at work.
5. Disapprove of the behavior, not the child
One mistake many parents make when setting limits is being so strict they can be wrong and instead of punishing the villain who made the child punish part of his personality.
It is quite common for the child to fight for what he is rather than what he has done, and this, of course, will hurt in the long run, as interesting traits such as curiosity or assertiveness can be punished.
If the child has taken to the streets without permission to stay with a friend, he should no longer be punished by not allowing him to go out. He must be punished by other means, but not by prohibiting socialization or have contact with the outside world.
When applying the punishment, explain what action is being punished and prevent the child from thinking that he is being punished because he is obsessed.
6. Be firm
Many times the parents, in front of the ugly child, decide to stand firm once and for all and apply the punishment, but when the child begins to potty or put on downcast lambs eyes, they soften. and say to themselves who for once will let it pass.
It is a mistake. You must be firm and let the punishment come to an end. In this way, the child will not see his parents as easily manipulated adults who make them eat from his hand and who can therefore do what he wants.
But one should not only be firm with punishments, but also when applying a routine in the child. For example, you cannot allow one day to go to bed at 9 a.m., another at 10, and another at 11 a.m.
7. Suggest alternatives
It is very possible that by setting a limit, the child sees something very authoritarian in it and does not invite him to give his opinion or his vision on the new rule to be respected, perceiving the adult as if he were a dictator.
Therefore, in order to avoid seeing the limit as something too static and fixed, a good option is to offer alternatives in the form of a series of acceptable behaviors.
Thus, the child will see that he really has a wide repertoire of possibilities and that he is not really deprived of the freedom he could think of at the start.
8. Emphasize the positives
Orders can be seen as something desirable to do if viewed positively.
This means that if the adult changes the language for a more positive language, in addition to pointing out the things the child does well, you are more likely to be motivated and try to do things more diligently and cautiously.
For example, instead of telling the child when he speaks aloud “don’t shout”, it is better to rephrase this sentence in less negative terms, such as “please speak a little lower”. It doesn’t look like such a command.
9. Control your emotions
Perhaps this seems the most obvious advice of all and what “all” parents assume to follow when it comes to applying limits and punishments to their children. Let’s be honest, who hasn’t lost their stirrups more than once?
When you are in a bad mood, whether angry, tired or sad, it is more likely to be disproportionate when it comes to applying punishment to mischief the small of the house or not at all objective when deciding on a limit or a new rule to follow.
That is why, and even if it is difficult, before we say or do something that will not benefit our offspring, we breathe, try to calm the mind, and if we cannot, ask another adult to take care of it. of the child or talk to him.
It is much more responsible how much we cannot educate our children to try and do it completely beyond our reach.
10. Manage reprimands
All children have complaints. They arise with the intention of grabbing the attention of adults and making them give what they want. The child’s claim may be legitimate, but the way in which he does it is not appropriate.
The best way to let him see that things are not being asked for is not to give him what he is looking for right now, which is to be the center of attention. If the child sees that the adult is not paying attention to him, sooner or later he will tire of doing what he is doing because, let’s be honest, screaming, crying and kicking is very tired and the child does not have unlimited energy.
But be careful, this must be done with care, because if the child starts to break things or disturb other people, we may have serious problems. In this case, we must intervene, stop him and, moreover, punish him without what he asks of us.
In short, if the reprimand is harmless, you should ignore it and wait for it to calm down, in case it hurts others, you should stop and make it clear that what you are asking for from us now will no longer be his fault. . .
- Palacios, J .; Marchesi, A. and Coll, C. (Comps.) (1999). Psychological development and education, vol. 1: Evolutionary psychology. Madrid: Editorial alliance.
- Shaffer, DR and Kipp, K. (2007). Developmental psychology. Childhood and adolescence (7th ed.). Mexico: Thompson.