How to put limits on our children?


Putting limits on our children is to let them mark roads, help them to be in the world around them, to understand it and enjoy it at the same time.

Boundaries are needed in education

Setting limits is necessary in the educational process of our children. It is something that the professionals agree on. Doctors, pediatricians, teachers, psychologists, pedagogues, etc., agree on the need to go marking the children in their day to day, and also point out the dire consequences of not doing so.

In these times when many families choose not to follow the authoritarian educational model that they possibly received from their elders, there is uncertainty to be on the subject of limits. “We cannot let them do whatever they want, but we do not want to be a sergeant who’s been commanding all day …”

We have to set limits to our children, we have it clear. But the question we ask next is “How do we set limits?”

Let’s put the subject a little…

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What does “set limits” mean?

Putting limits on our children is to let them mark roads, help them to be in the world around them, to understand it and enjoy it at the same time.

It is an action that must be adjusted to the evolutionary moment that the child lives, aimed at their personal growth and healthy development of their abilities.

It is an action, on the other hand, from the authority that the adult has for the fact of being, because it has a broad vision that does not have the small yet.

A child who begins to explore from the movement, can at any moment receive a “no!” From his mother, when he sees that he is about to stretch a corner of the tablecloth, which has some heavy object on it. It has been a determining moment, the adult has received a flash and integrated the danger, and so it makes him see the little one. (At another time, if it is the house itself, this hanging tablecloth should be removed from the reach of the child, in order to encourage free exploration in a safer environment.)

A little older child can receive a “no, we have to go”, and be fondly but firmly grasped, hand in hand, to leave the park because although it was having a good time, it’s time to retire to home.

They are examples. The adult accompanies, guides, leads.

What should not be the limits?

The limits we put on education should never be:

  • Strategies for our comfort as adults at any given time. To say for example “the TV is bad, the TV is not seen”, but another day yes to leave them because it agrees to us. This way of acting creates a lot of confusion and does not help them to place the little ones.
  • A succession of impositions without too much coherence that we do adults for the mere fact of “is that I send here.”
  • Mandates or impositions that the child cannot understand because by evolutionary moment does not touch. Telling a baby just a year old “do not make noise” in a crowded restaurant, because parents are ashamed of their expressiveness, is totally out of place.

How to put limits on our children?

These tips can help us know how to put limits on our children:

  • Seeing that they are as clear as possible. At any age, we welcome clarity in the exhibition by the adults: the norms for security, the functioning of the family, the organization of the house …
  • Seeing that they are few. There is no point in cluttering children with cues because they easily have the opposite effect and we would enter into reactive and challenging behaviors.
  • Taking care that they are suitable for the child’s age, do not require too much effort.
    • In the early years there is an impulsivity and desire to know through sensoriality, which we have to respect. We must offer them ample spaces and experimentation, at home also. A “no” that stops the movement must be very justified.
    • From the age of 6, 7, they can better integrate the reasoning, but always closely linked to their experience, not too abstract.
    • As we approach adolescence, house rules must be very clear, they must be transmitted very firmly. The adolescent has problems to be located in space and time, needs clear guidelines at home, schedules.

The limits, in short, must be structuring. That is their function.

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