Have you ever had a hard time setting limits with your child? I have. I have had a hard time wondering what kind of limit is appropriate and also being consistent, and helping my children understand the bigger picture. So, I created a series of questions to get me/you thinking.
Answer these questions and you’ll have more clarity and success in the area of limit setting.
‣ Am I reacting out of ego, pain, or frustration in the setting of this limit? If so, is the limit in the best interest of the child/family, or is it actually a kind of retribution. Separate the two.
‣ If it’s ego or pain ask what is my pain here? What is mine to own? How is my experience impacting my perspective and my thinking?
‣ If it’s ego or pain, ask yourself if you want to continue with this course of action. Or is there a better course of action than a punishment disguised as a limit?
‣ Can I be curious and look at my child with an open mind and heart? Is there a need of my child’s that is leading him to act in the way that he is?
‣ Is there a missing skill of my child’s that led to a behavior?Is this situation best resolved by treating it as a connection or teaching moment? If so, how can I connect and/or positively teach what is missing?
‣ If a limit does need to be set for the well being of the child or the family, what is an appropriate limit based on the long term well being of my child and the family?
‣ What is the long term vision reason behind this limit?Is there a way I can include my child in the conversation and even the setting of the limit? Can this be done collaboratively?
‣ How would I like someone to set a limit with me?
‣ Am I ready to listen?
‣ Am I ready to understand and validate any potential frustration and upset?
‣ Is there a way I can explain this deeper meaning (of safety and wellbeing) to my child, so he better understands this limit?
‣ How can I set this limit with love?
‣ Is this something I have the energy to be consistent about? How committed am I? Be honest here.
‣ If I am not consistent in holding the limit, what impact will that have?
‣ Are my own actions consistent with the limit? Am I walking the walk?
‣ What happens if there is difficulty adhering to the limit? What is the course of action then for everyone? Is everyone aware of (and ideally) in agreement with this?