How to apply limits to children

How to apply limits to children

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To effectively educate our children we must set the rules at home in order to comply with them. The secret is to do it consistently and firmly. One of the educational consequences of a lack of skill in setting standards and setting limits can be lack of respect, which occurs when we talk too much, exaggerate in emotion, and in many cases, we make a mistake in our way of expressing clearly what we want or we do it with too much authority.

When we need to tell our children that they must do something and "now" (pick up toys, go to bed, etc.), we must take into account some basic tips:

1. Objectivity. It is common to hear expressions such as 'Be good', 'be nice', or 'don't do that' in ourselves and in other parents. Our children will understand us better if we mark our rules in a more concrete way. A well-specified boundary with short sentences and precise commands is often clear to a child. 'Speak softly in a library'; 'take my hand to cross the street' are some examples of ways that can substantially increase the relationship of complicity with your child.

2. Choices. In many cases, we can give our children a limited opportunity to decide how to carry out their orders. Freedom of opportunity makes a child feel a sense of power and control, reducing resistance. For example: 'It's bath time. Do you want to shower or do you prefer to bathe? ' 'It's time to get dressed. Do you want to choose a suit or do I do it? ' This is an easier and faster way to give two options to a child to do exactly what we want.

3. Firmness. On really important issues, when there is resistance to obedience, we we need to apply the limit firmly. For example: 'Go to your room now' or 'Stop it, toys are not to be thrown away' are a sample of this. Firm limits are best applied with a confident tone of voice, no shouting, and a serious face. Softer limits mean that the child has a choice to obey or not. Examples of slight limits: 'Why don't you take the toys out of here?'; 'You must do your homework now'; 'Come home now, okay?' ' Those limits are appropriate for when you want the child to take a certain path. Either way, for those few 'must be done' obligations, you'll be your child's best accomplice if you apply a firm mandate. Firmness is between the light and the authoritarian.

4. Accentuate the positive. Children are more receptive to doing what they are told to do when they receive positive reinforcement. Some direct reprisals such as 'no' tell a child that their performance is unacceptable, but do not explain what behavior is appropriate. In general, it is better to tell a child what to do ('speak softly') before what not to do ('Don't yell'). Authoritarian parents tend to give more orders and say 'no', while others tend to change orders for clear phrases that begin with the verb 'to do'.

5. Keep distances. When we say 'I want you to go to bed right now', we are creating a personal power struggle with our children. A good strategy is to record the rule in an impersonal way. For example: 'It's 8 o'clock, bedtime' and you show him the clock. In this case, some conflicts and feelings will be between the child and the watch.

6. Explain why. When a child understands the reason for a rule as a way to prevent dangerous situations for himself and others, he will be more encouraged to obey it. In this way, the best thing when a limit is applied is to explain to the child why he has to obey. By understanding reason, children can develop internal values ​​of conduct or behavior and create their own awareness. Before giving a lengthy explanation that may distract children, state your reason in a few words. For example: 'Don't bite people. That will hurt them. '

7. Suggest an alternative. Whenever you apply a limit to a child's behavior, try to indicate an acceptable alternative. It will sound less negative and your child will feel compensated. In this way, you can say: 'that's my lipstick and it's not for playing games. Here's a pencil and paper to paint on. ' By offering her alternatives, you are teaching her that her feelings and wishes are acceptable. This is a more correct way of expression.

8. Firmness in compliance. A punctual rule is essential for an effective implementation of the limit. A flexible routine (going to bed at 8 one night, 8:30 the next, and 9 on another night) invites resistance and becomes impossible to comply with. Routines and important rules in the family should be effective day after day, even if you are tired or unwell. If you give your child a chance to twist their rules, they will surely try to resist.

9. Disapprove of the behavior, not the child. Make it clear to your children that your disapproval is related to their behavior and does not go directly to them. Do not show rejection towards children. Before saying 'you are bad', we should say 'that is wrong' (disapproval of the behavior).

10. Control emotions. Researchers point out that when parents are very angry they punish more seriously and are more likely to be verbally and / or physically abusive towards their children. There are times when we need to calm down and count to ten before reacting. In the face of bad behavior, it is best to calmly count for a minute, and then calmly ask, 'what happened here?'

You can read more articles similar to How to apply limits to children, in the category Limits - Discipline on site.

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