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Why you should set limits for your child

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
15 October 2022   |   3:44 am
Setting limits with your child means setting a guideline for behaviour. There may not be an official household rule and since you can’t set a rule about everything, limits serve the purpose as situational guidelines.

Setting limits with your child means setting a guideline for behaviour. There may not be an official household rule and since you can’t set a rule about everything, limits serve the purpose as situational guidelines.

Rules provide the framework for children to understand what is expected of them at home, with friends, and at school. While parents know that this kind of structure is important, it’s often challenging to establish and maintain rules at home.

Setting limits can be tough. Sometimes, parents feel guilty about saying, ‘No.’ or they want to avoid a temper tantrum that will surely erupt when a child is told of a limit. And then, there is the case of the other partner not in agreement on what limits to set with kids.

Whatever your fears and concerns are, children need boundaries and limits to feel safe and secure. By setting limits, parents teach kids important skills that will help them succeed in all areas of life. It teaches them appropriate behaviour and gives them opportunities to sharpen some of their skills.

Setting limits teaches self-discipline skills. When you say, It’s time to turn off your video game and do your homework,’ you are teaching self-discipline. Even though video games may be more fun, it’s important to be responsible. The eventual goal is for kids to learn to manage all their responsibilities, like homework, chores, and taking care of their bodies, without reminders.

Here are a few reasons why limits are good for your child:

Limits keep your child safe. Although it might be safe for your child to play outside, he might need limits about what he’s allowed to do or go when playing outside alone. Limits also keep kids safe when they are using the internet and when they begin doing activities independently. Limits should expand as your child matures.

Give your child opportunities to show that he can be responsible with the limits you’ve given him. If he is able to handle the limits you’ve set, he can show that he is ready to handle more responsibility.

Limits keep your child healthy. By nature, most children are impulsive and enjoy immediate gratification. Therefore, they need adults to teach them how to be healthy. Set limits too on your child’s eating habits to help him eat healthily. This will mean saying no to an extra cookie or chocolate bar for a healthy choice first.

Limits should also be set in regard to electronics. Many children would be content watching TV or playing on the computer all day long, hence limiting their usage provides boundaries and structure for your child. Set limits with screen time, exercise, hygiene, and other health practices that will encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Limits will help your child cope with uncomfortable feelings. While some parents avoid setting limits because they don’t want to make their child sad or mad, learning how to deal with uncomfortable emotions is actually an important skill. Just because your child is sad that he can’t get extra time to watch TV doesn’t mean you should give in. this should instead give you a great opportunity to teach your child about feelings and help him find healthy ways to cope with them.

Every limit you set is an opportunity for your child to practice managing their emotions. Children who know how to handle uncomfortable feelings will be better equipped for the realities of adulthood.

It’s so easy to get caught in a pattern of nagging and negative interaction with respect to setting and maintaining expectations and limits for your child. But the clearer and more direct you are with your about how you want him to behave, the less emotional everyone will become; it allows you to enjoy each other’s company so much more.

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