Let's talk limits - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 12:51 AM - Thread Starter
PM
Banned
 
PM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 3,707
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Ok, one last thread.

I think it's important to discuss/debate this topic since many of you have had questions about setting limits.

Unfortunately, I have seen many, many disparaging comments about those of us whom you perceive to be "against setting limits." And that's why I feel the need to clear some things up.

Let's start with the basic stance on limit-setting widely found in child development theory:

From Karen DeBord, Ph.D.
Child Development Specialist

Quote:
Toddling, exploring, and pounding may worry parents, but they are normal behaviors. When children touch, feel, look, mix, turn over, and throw, they are developing skills. Exploration is intellectually healthy and helps children test their independence. Although these behaviors create a struggle between child and parent, they should be expected and planned for.
Quote:
Independence is an emotion to be encouraged during the early preschool years. The alternative is shame and doubt.
Quote:
Children may resist limits if there is too much adult control and not enough room allowed for their choice. Discipline allows children to develop their own "inner voice," which will sensibly guide their behavior as they grow. Often adults must be careful that they, too, follow the rules they make for children. Consistency plays a major role in parenting.
MODERATORS NOTE: post edited to comply with copyright rules. (100 words total from any source is allowed to be quoted) Please feel free to post links to this information.

Thanks.
PM is offline  
#2 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 01:45 AM
 
maya44's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,600
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I understand that you feel differently, but I believe that many children thrive with more explicit limits that are set by parents (at least in the early years) without negotiations and compromise. That's how I was raised, its what I needed as a child. That's how I raise my children, who I can see thrive this way.

However, please don't think that just because I reject your ideas on limits, I reject the idea that punishment is wrong. I don't believe in punishment, bribes, rewards etc... And my children are well behaved and our family life is fun. I don't get into power struggles with my kids.


My personal beliefs are most strongly articulated by s Anthony Wolf, a child psychologist, who is strongly against punishment, rewards bribes etc... yet strongly believes that it is the parent, and not the child, who must be in charge.
maya44 is offline  
#3 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 02:21 AM - Thread Starter
PM
Banned
 
PM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 3,707
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Maya - I'm not trying to convert anyone. I offered some quotations from different sources in an attempt to offer a balanced discussion on limits. You have provided a name. Could you offer more details, specifically on limit-setting? I can find only book reviews and an old discussion here, in which there is no discussion on limit-setting. (Edited to keep the discussion on limit-setting only).

I don't think anything in particular about you rejecting my theories on limits. Some posters had questions about why some other posters seem to be, as they perceive, against limit-setting. So I thought we could have a friendly debate - where nobody takes anything personally - on limit-setting. Period.

PS Robo-parent sounds awful to me!
PM is offline  
#4 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 08:26 AM
Banned
 
PurpleBasil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,519
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by maya43
I understand that you feel differently, but I believe that many children thrive with more explicit limits that are set by parents (at least in the early years) without negotiations and compromise. That's how I was raised, its what I needed as a child. That's how I raise my children, who I can see thrive this way.
What do you mean by 'explicit limits' and 'thrive'?

Thanks!
PurpleBasil is offline  
#5 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 08:55 AM
 
Pam_and_Abigail's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: NS, Canada
Posts: 3,688
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks ParisMaman, your quotes are very insightful. I am really struggling with discipline right now. Gonna go check out the link.
Pam_and_Abigail is offline  
#6 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 09:10 AM
 
MamaSoleil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: British Columbia
Posts: 4,073
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
The way young humans spread their wings, however, is not always convenient to adults

Hit the nail on the head with that statement. I may just have to add that one to my sig line.

It's interesting that you started this thread. My SIL was down last wk, and made the comment that I don't seem to have any limits on dd. She went on to say, not that she[dd] needs any...S on the other hand [her dd] does need some. If I'm not 'on' her... I answered, I believe in giving my children the freedom to being children.
She just kind of nodded, and ended the discussion there. I took it a little further (we both have dogs) and I said, you know when someone says, "Oh, if I ever let my dog offleash he/she would take right off". Well, if you give your puppy freedom, and give said puppy lots of off leash time from the get go, then that puppy turns into a dog who does not need to be tied up all the time, because being off leash, isn't such a big deal...she got that, and I think I *may* have given her food for thought.
MamaSoleil is offline  
#7 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
PM
Banned
 
PM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 3,707
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Great article:

How Children Really React to Control

I am curious, actually, what kinds of limits we are talking about. I have to admit that I am unsure what some posters are even talking about when they talk about limit-setting.

Oh, and to be fair, I didn't really include any arguments from the limit-setting side. So I found this:

Quote:
Limit-setting teaches a valuable lesson for life: the world is full of yeses and nos. You decide what behavior you cannot allow and stick to that limit. This will be different for each family and each stage of development. Toddlers want someone to set limits. It makes them feel secure and loved, and helps them to understand boundaries. As a parent you have to ensure that the rules you set are simple, easy to understand, and consistent.
I hate the whole "life sucks, get used to it, kid" attitude. And why do I decide what limits we will have? I could be wrong. I could be have repressed issues about certain things and set irrational/arbitrary limits. What I don't like about the above is the assumption that the parent is infallible.
PM is offline  
#8 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 09:51 AM
 
polka hop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 854
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
*
polka hop is offline  
#9 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 12:33 PM
 
kerc's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: The Great White North, Minnesota
Posts: 7,236
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i think "limits" is a very broad word and adds to uncertainty in what one is talking about. For instance I find it essential for me to set limits for my child, but what I'm calling limits are things like "we touch softly" - i.e. no hitting mommy. "We sit on the couch" -- i.e. no standing over the edge of the couch ready to crash into my window when mommy comes home. I find these kinds of limits essential for my safety, her safety and really for peace of mind in general. My daughter tests these limits and then finds peace in the idea that they are the same all the time. Maybe they'd be better called rules? But that IMO sounds really harsh.

On the other hand I know someone who wanted to set limits with their kiddo and to her that meant her toddler was not allowed in the kitchen when mom was there. She set up a baby gate so that her wee one wouldn't come it.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
kerc is offline  
#10 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 01:03 PM
 
ja mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: OR
Posts: 1,519
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm really interested. I definitely think the theory of no limits, or very few limits, outside of safety issues would be great for both children and adults. I'm pondering how many unnecessary limits I place on the kids, and how the reality would be without many limitations.

I think I make "rules" to make my life easier and to develop predictable reactions for the kids, but in the long run it just might be more work for me.

ie: I just banned 2yo from the fridge because he keeps getting his milk cup out, a box of soy milk, and takes the lid off of his cup to fill it "way up". He spills it every single time, doesn't ask for help, and repeats the process every twenty minutes. Then he drinks so much milk he's not eating much food. And he stands with the fridge door open because he likes the cold.

I've been tying the fridge closed with a dishcloth and just letting him have a water cup between meals. But now that I've typed it all out it seems so contrary to my ideals, and counterproductive to his learning experience.

Hmmm you've got me thinking...
ja mama is offline  
#11 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 01:09 PM
 
uberwench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: somewhere between sturm and drang
Posts: 329
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I grew up in a very TCS-like way, and consequently have always been uncomfortable with setting arbitrary limits with my ds. both I and he are much happier and relaxed when he is a "free range toddler". Here at home, his rules are not really any different than ours - not hurting people or cats, holding breakable objects carefully, being respectful of other people's things, carseat safety - a basic "we all live together here in this family and here are some things that make it work better and safer for all of us".

However, this is much more difficult to achieve in the world outside our home, where the limits are imposed by others or by the environment. For example, as much as I would love to be able to let him go exploring on his own in Target or the grocery store, this is just too unsafe around here. I try to compromise - we finish the errand, then i'll let him run while i follow. He doesn't pull things off of shelves - he may take one or two things off a low shelf - he looks like he's comparison shopping .

or in a restaurant, same thing - too dangerous, with waitstaff and hot plates of food, etc. Again, i try to find some compromise - it's unrealistic to expect a 2.5 year old to sit perfectly still at a table and eat, when there's so much activity.

In some ways i think the limits are more on MYSELF - for example, if i'm in a bad mood and really don't want the folded laundry to be strewn all over the floor, it's up to ME to NOT fold it when ds is sitting right next to me with a glint in his eye. I give him some stuff from my closet that he CAN toss around the floor and I either fold later, or fold in another room. (Now that he's older and more verbal, i can explain that I like the clean clothes to stay clean and folded so i can put them away.).

Someone, somewhere (and I can't seem to find the quote again) wrote abuot thinking of your child as being a visiting scientist in your house - the house is his lab, and he's got all these experiments running simultaneously. Would you want to hinder a scientist at work? I feel it is my responsibility to make the "lab" as safe as possible, and the rules that do exist are the ones that make the lab useable by other members of the scientific community (me and dh).

Again - easy at home, but going out in the world will be a challenge - it was for me, but i also learned to set my own limits by watching how people interacted best.

Sorry for the ramble, but the question of rules and limits is often on my mind, and when dh and i talk about it when invariably fight (he was raised with LOTS of rules, most of which he repeatedly broke).
uberwench is offline  
#12 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 01:19 PM
 
chrfath's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: OH
Posts: 1,571
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for all the links. I am always interested in how to "live" these parenting styles.

Christi
DS1(12), DD(7)blessed with T21, DS2(2), and DD2 - newly arrived 1/28/11
chrfath is offline  
#13 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 01:50 PM
 
maya44's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,600
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParisMaman
Great article:

How Children Really React to Control



And why do I decide what limits we will have? I could be wrong. I could be have repressed issues about certain things and set irrational/arbitrary limits. What I don't like about the above is the assumption that the parent is infallible.

I don't think I am infallible. I just think that I am the best one to decide things for my children. I don't care if I'm am wrong. I know I am making the best decisions that I can and that is ennough.

I do think that there is an issue here that we have not discussed, which is that I think that some people are really born with a dislike for rules and limits, while others feel most secure and happy with rules in their lives, and the fact that they may seem arbitrary is not that big a deal.

I think that some children can have few rules in their lives and do wonderfully, seem happy and joyful, they self regulate. But others kids seem out of control without rules. These kids really just don't seem comfortable and they are always pushing and come off as "brats".

OTOH some kids real brustle against rules. If they have too many, they grow up hating them and resentful. Others (like me, my DH, and our kids) really like rules and feel that the world has order when they are put in place.

This is what I mean by my kids "thrive" with rules.

The rules include:

Going to bed at 8:00 on school nights
Not interupting mom or dad
Saying you are sorry when you have hurt someones feelings or person.
Saying you are sorry when something is your responsibility and that something has gone wrong (even if it is not your fault) (people who can't do this are the same jerks who tell people "its not my department")
Saying please and thank you
Eating (or not) what is placed in front of you (in other words, you dont' have to eat anything you don't want but no short order cooking either)
Picking your things up
Being polite to other people
Sitting down to meals at set times and remaining at the table with the family
Begining homework within one hour after getting home
maya44 is offline  
#14 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 02:54 PM
 
Evan&Anna's_Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: So. CA
Posts: 4,477
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This seems like such a huge topic. People define limits so differently -- are we talking about a bedtime or not running onto the freeway? And it also would seem to vary by age -- are we talking about not letting a 1 YO bang the hammer at the glass window or not letting the 6 YO try hammering a nail?

Is it really possible to not set limits, say for young children and safety reasons? What on earth does that look like? Most people think I have put very few limits on my kids, but I'm always saying "is this necessary" and coming up with "yes", mostly because the possibility for serious injury is huge OR because I want my children to treat people well (because it gets returned). So we have safety limits (though fewer than most people would be comfortable with, judging by other's reactions) and an expectation of "politeness" -- e.g. we always expect a request to contain "please". Is that a limit? Or is it teaching a child how to get the world on their side?

I find myself constantly second-guessing the whole area. Am I too lenient or too strict? Or am too strict in some areas and too lenient in others? So far, no one has gotten seriously hurt and most people think I have pretty cool kids. I figure this means I must be doing OK, but who knows? It seems like a constant balancing act with no way to know if you are right or not.
Evan&Anna's_Mom is offline  
#15 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 03:27 PM
 
ariadne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 24
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
One of my good friends believes in not setting limits in order not to stifle her son's creativity. Before I had ds the only time this was a problem was when they visited my home and he ran around trying to destroy everything in sight. It would make me so nervous I wound up just wanting them to leave even though she is one of my best friends. Now that I have a child (ds is 1) she wants to get together for playdates but everytime we do her child (who is 2 1/2) hits, knocks down or otherwise harms my son. I don't know how to handle this. I also don't know what to say when her son comes over and starts doing things like jumping on my sofa. It makes me uncomfortable to discipline someone else's child, but she just lets him do it and it is not something that we intend to let ds do at our home or anyone else's for that matter so it sends conflicting messages to him. Any advice?
ariadne is offline  
#16 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 03:37 PM
 
Peppermint's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: work-in-progress
Posts: 5,662
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Good discussion.

I have "easy" kids, I know this b/c #1- I was a teacher and #2- I've read a lot here .

It is also easy for me to set limits on them, they don't put up a stink, so I often have no good reason to re-evaluate, yk? I could tell my dd, "You need to go to bed now" and she would, there is no argument really. As it turns out, regulating my kids sleep for them or their eating for them has never felt "right" to me, so I haven't really done it, save the rare time when I am feeling crabby and not quite myself.

The majority of our limits are safety related, but sometimes, it really is more about me controlling. For example- "Don't jump off of the couch." I keep thinking in my mind that if we had a plush carpet with a pad under it, that I would not mind the kids jumping off of the couch. I am afraid that with just a very thin carpet over the hardwood floors that someone is going to break a bone, I really am afraid of that. So, I made a rule and here I am saying it around 5 times a day to my almost 3 yo ds. Ridiculous. I could---save up some money and get that plush carpet with pad that I have been wanting anyway (I have always loved watching kids jump from couches and be kids), I could spot him when he does it. I could "let go" and realize that in the world of safety this is pretty darned small.

Now- for another limit to discuss-"No jumping on your bed", my ds's room is very small and no matter where I put the bed- it is up against a window, it is also on the second story and our windows are old glass. I do believe that him jumping on his bed is simply not safe. I could buy a window guard though, and probably should anyway .

So, safety rules are one thing. Another "issue" of mine is being kind to others. I have a hard time with allowing my kids to simply interact, I feel a need to force sharing, kindness, etc. However, I am wondering- why? Am I afraid they'll never be kind if I don't enforce it? Does me forcing them to say thank you really make them thankful, or is it just making them be polite?

I have come to realize lately that the less limits I have, the more my children will grow in themselves, instead of into little people who do as I say, which is not what I want.

I am working to lessen the limits in my household, to let go, one by one, of arbitrary limits. I am questioning, why did I set that limit? Does it serve a realy purpose? Does it help my children grow into themselves?

I have a long way to go, and luckily as they get older, it is just naturally easier to let go .

:Patty :fireman Catholic, intactalactivist, co-sleeping, GDing, HSing, no-vax Mama to .........................:..........hale:
Peppermint is offline  
#17 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 03:43 PM
 
sunnmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: surrounded by love
Posts: 6,447
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
As dd grows and teaches me, and as I read more and more, I find that we need fewer and fewer limits. I will not allow her to be hurtful, either to a living thing or property. Kindness and respect are standards. Beyond that, I try to back off.

I find that, as the link in PM's first post explains (the TCS link), if I simply explain my concerns to dd, she is willing to change her behavior. We compromise a LOT. And she is really, really good at it

Our challenges come when *I am feeling tired, hungry, stressed, etc. When dd is "off", I can deal with it easily. But when I am "off", I have a hard time offering the attention and energy that this parenting style demands. This remains a challenge for me, and leads to me yelling and making sudden limits much more than I like.

We are a work in progress....but I am convinced.
sunnmama is offline  
#18 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 03:56 PM
 
Piglet68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
Posts: 11,097
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
PM, thank you so much for those snippets. I have copied them they are just so perfect at explaining my philosophy.

But, I too struggle with how to define "limits". In fact, I think I started a thread about this a while back. We try to place as few limits on DD as possible, and those we do are almost all about safety. But we do have limits.

Then again, I look at what maya43 lists as her limits and we don't do any of those. Mind you, our DD is only just 2 so it might not be applicable at her age. But I also find that many of those limits simply aren't necessary b/c we model that behaviour ourselves.

In fact, I have become a big believer in the "power of modelling". We have all seen a child let out a loud burp and then giggle uncontrollably b/c they saw Daddy doing the same thing. We have all heard things come out of our children's mouths that shock us b/c we then realize we say it all the time. And my daughter also very much loves to mimic behaviours: today she tried to floss her teeth with me, lol. I think we should tap into this amazing source of power, and heck it is easy: say please and thank you to each other and what do you know? Your child says please and thank you without having to be asked. My DD even says sorry and I swear I have never, ever asked her to say that. But *I* have said it to her and to DH and she picked up on that.

We don't have a set bedtime, frankly because when DD is tired she says "bedtime", lol. She likes going to sleep when she is tired. When she is at the age where she can put herself to bed, I may set an upper limit on how late she can stay up, but I'm hoping even that won't be necessary (it may be when she's older, I don't know, but I'm hoping she'll keep the same good bed habits she has now). As for taking responsibility, I'm hoping that by involving DD in "problem-solving", coming up with solutions to problems like "you leave your crayons on the floor and they get broken", and working up to when she's 10 and "you broke the window with that ball", that she will naturally learn this lesson without it having to be a "limit".

Finally, I was very interested in what maya43 said about personalities. As a child I postively HATED limits. I longed for independence from the time I could remember, moved out of the house as soon as I could, and to this day I bristle at arbitrary limits. It most definitely made me full of anger and frustration. Mabye that's why I lead a "limit-free home", although I believe I am doing the best thing for my DD this way, maybe it is alot about me too. I simply can't relate to people who like limits, so I don't know how to answer for them, lol.

teapot2.GIF Homeschooling, Homesteading Mama to DD ('02) and DS ('04)  ribbonjigsaw.gif blogging.jpg homeschool.gif

Piglet68 is offline  
#19 of 83 Old 08-20-2004, 11:35 PM
 
newmainer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: midcoast Maine
Posts: 1,582
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I really appreciate this discussion, because my dd is 14 months, and this seems to be coming up for us in a big way.

Mostly, I am not sure what i think! It all makes sense to me. I agree with maya about the personalities. I think this is so true- I've seen it in my classroom from when I was a teacher and in all the people in my life. But then, when someone is older, its hard to know if its their personalities, or the result of how they were raised. Probably a little of both.

I am confused about the term 'limits' as well. I mean, is teaching respect and kindness a limit? if it is, I am all for it. Is teaching a child about using please and thank-you part of kindness? What about respect- getting in other people's belongings, etc...? When these details come up, what constitutes a limit or not begins to get really foggy.

But around the house, if i tell dd not to climb on the table is it because it is inconvenient for me to supervise her because i want to be finishing up the dishes, or because its really a safety issue? Probably the former; I could help her on the table and explore it, allow her to take care of that urge, and then she'll probably move on. A safety issue would be for her to try and do that on her own when she is not yet capable of doing so safely. And then i wonder, is she at a place developmentally where she can judge when she needs help or not? As much as I would love to be able to supervise all her explorations, we need to eat and function in the house, which means I have to tend to those things and can't be supervising her forays every second. Therefore, do I create a limit? And what about at other's homes? I forget who it was who posted about her friend's ds jumping all over her couch. That to me is not ok. I feel like to tell him not to do that (as a parent, not parent's friend) is not imposing limits, as much as teaching about respecting other people's space and wishes.

Sorry for the ramble, but this is where my brain goes in discussions like this and as i think about where we are going with our own dd. For the record my father was *extremely* strict with me. I dont' remember being spanked more than once or twice, but i was always grounded. For example, once I was grounded because i took a pencil off his desk without asking. not becuase it was a pencil, but because i took something that did not belong to me. As an adult, i am super nervous about "getting in trouble" and not doing things right. I hate that about myself. I dont' want my dd to be like that.

It seems like PM and maya are pretty solid in their approaches.. I'm glad to see there are others who are still figuring it out like me.

I am a homeopath, offering acute and constitutional consultations for children, babies, and parents. Long-distance treatment is easy, either phone or skype! I also am certified to offer Homeoprophylaxis, a vaccine-alternative program. Message me for more details. www.concentrichealing.com
newmainer is offline  
#20 of 83 Old 08-21-2004, 09:01 AM
 
uberwench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: somewhere between sturm and drang
Posts: 329
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
I am confused about the term 'limits' as well. I mean, is teaching respect and kindness a limit? if it is, I am all for it. Is teaching a child about using please and thank-you part of kindness? What about respect- getting in other people's belongings, etc...? When these details come up, what constitutes a limit or not begins to get really foggy.
I find the term "limit" to be somewhat foggy myself. I've tried instead to think in terms of "social contract" - the things we all do (or try to do) to make things run smoother. I've found it helps with my ds to make it clear that it's not just HE that has these boundaries for behaviour, and that crossing the boundaries doesn't make you "bad" or "naughty" (ugh i hate that word...), but it CAN make it more difficult to get what you want, or put you in danger, or scare the heck out of your mama...
uberwench is offline  
#21 of 83 Old 08-21-2004, 09:05 AM
 
newmainer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: midcoast Maine
Posts: 1,582
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
after I posted last night, I thought of a situation that we were in recently and wondered what others might think of it in light of this discussion on limits.

We recently visited some good friends who have a dd who is 21 mo. My dd is 14 mo. our friends are mostly AP and use, from what i can see, gentle discipline.

Their dd has begun "growling" and would growl at my dd. When I say growl., i mean kind of like a cross between a roar and a laugh that sounded pretty mean, if not for the big hyper grin on her face. Its actually pretty cute and hard not to growl with her. Except, it terrified my dd. She would start bawling everytime S (i'll use an initial for the 21 mo old) did this to her. Her mom would tell her to use a gentle voice because our dd was her friend, etc... But it didn't stop. She got such a reaction from my dd that it was too much to resist. Her mom always said something to her, but S pretty much did it anyway.

I'm a fairly easy going parent. I understand that developmentally this is where S is. And yet, by the end of the weekend (we were staying with them) I was pretty weary of it. My dd was so scared that she wanted to be held *constantly* which was frustrating for me- mostly becuase i know she wanted to play but didn't feel safe to.

I know another friend of their has stopped coming over because of this growling and becuase S bit him once.

So.... how would you handle that? What limits, or no limits do you put on that? I think its in the kindness and respect category, but a 21 mo old can't understand respect really, its such an abstract thing. So is kindness in a lot of ways. So, what do you do? I honestly don't know and i've been thinkign about this a lot, so I'd love anyone's take on this (especially those who have dealt with this!!)

I am a homeopath, offering acute and constitutional consultations for children, babies, and parents. Long-distance treatment is easy, either phone or skype! I also am certified to offer Homeoprophylaxis, a vaccine-alternative program. Message me for more details. www.concentrichealing.com
newmainer is offline  
#22 of 83 Old 08-21-2004, 01:51 PM
 
Dechen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 772
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68
I simply can't relate to people who like limits, so I don't know how to answer for them, lol.
Either can I. The problem is, my little sister is one of them. :LOL Arbitrary limits drive me INSANE. She creates them for herself because it comforts her. She feels "safer" with limits and rules and schedules. I feel cornered.

Same parents, same household - completely different people.

I have no idea where my daughter falls on this spectrum. She doesn't self-regulate naturally, so my guess is that she's a chaos beastie like myself.
Dechen is offline  
#23 of 83 Old 08-21-2004, 02:48 PM
 
Magella's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,470
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
hi! I usually just lurk and learn, but wanted to jump in here because this is something I've been struggling with as my kids grow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uberwench
I find the term "limit" to be somewhat foggy myself. I've tried instead to think in terms of "social contract" - the things we all do (or try to do) to make things run smoother. I've found it helps with my ds to make it clear that it's not just HE that has these boundaries for behaviour, and that crossing the boundaries doesn't make you "bad" or "naughty" (ugh i hate that word...), but it CAN make it more difficult to get what you want, or put you in danger, or scare the heck out of your mama...
I totally agree with this. Right now I'm in a place where I think that being a parent is really about providing the guidance to our children that will help them be safe, healthy, and successful in their relationships with others as they grow. I think the bottom line for me is that it's my duty as the parent to do my best to guide my children and teach them the skills they will need to function well in life. So yes, I'm going to judge whether certain behaviors are healthy or safe or socially appropriate and teach my children accordingly (I may be wrong sometimes, but I'm making the best decisions I can with the information I have). That said, I don't think that all this means I have to have an inflexible list of House Rules that my children must abide by.

Some things we teach outright and present as rules (like don't run into the street or hold my hand or stay right next to me in the parking lot) because they are vital to safety. Others are limits that we build into the environment, such as keeping only foods we consider healthy in the house (most of the time, anyway) because it is important to us that our kids eat wholesome foods or babyproofing the house so even the youngest can explore freely. Some things are taught as we go along and become general expectations that evolve as our children develop, such as social interactions (first we might say to a young child, please ask/tell me in your regular voice; later we might discuss respect and how the way we say things or the words we choose can hurt others' feelings). Some things (like junk food, maybe) are sometimes negotiable. Other things (like running into the street, saying hurtful things, or hitting someone) are not negotiable.

But although all of these things need to be taught, it's my belief that a child does not need to be punished or even necessarily experience "natural" consequences when they make mistakes (though sometimes they do experience consequences, which can help them learn). I think that's where a lot of confusion about limits came in for me. I associated limits with consequences or forcing a child to comply, as I think a lot of people do. Now I think it's entirely appropriate for me to simply physically stop them if necessary (as with hitting or running to the street) and to explain to my children that we don't do x,y or z and why and that I expect them to (ask nicely, be gentle, etc.). I also teach my children by behaving in the ways I expect my children to behave so that I'm a good role model for them.

Okay that's my slightly disorganized attemp to convey my emerging philosophy of parenting I'm really enjoying this discussion and am looking forward more of it.
Magella is offline  
#24 of 83 Old 08-21-2004, 08:27 PM
 
MsMoMpls's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 2,013
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
So-if your parents were too strict, you may be erring on the side of too soft, then your kids may grow up feeling there wasn't enough structure and go the other way.

For moms of more than two, it gets easier to see our children's unique temperments. Some kids need more structure, some less. Some parents parent better with clear rules, others parent best spontaniously. This is why I am pretty leary of parenting books. Think about a book that would tell you how to do your relationship with your spouse. Being a mom is a very personal relationship between two human beings. It is greatly influenced by the needs of the other people in the family as well. It seems to me parents need a great deal of support in how to find their own personal style of effective nurturance.

Maureen

Maureen
MsMoMpls is offline  
#25 of 83 Old 08-21-2004, 10:42 PM
 
newmainer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: midcoast Maine
Posts: 1,582
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
thanks sledg (Did i get that right? cant' see your post)- what you had to say cleared up some things for me. I liked how you said that the same thing (limit) evolves as the child advances in social development, as well as several other things you mentioned, but I don't know how to go back and quote off a different page so- thanks for all of it (maybe you should post more often )

I am a homeopath, offering acute and constitutional consultations for children, babies, and parents. Long-distance treatment is easy, either phone or skype! I also am certified to offer Homeoprophylaxis, a vaccine-alternative program. Message me for more details. www.concentrichealing.com
newmainer is offline  
#26 of 83 Old 08-22-2004, 11:55 AM
 
magnoliablue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: NJ
Posts: 2,479
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
newmainer; my youngest ds had a similar issue, only his was screaming. Yes, screaming. Just to hear his voice. not a screaming in anger thing or because he was upset, just a sound he enjoyed making. He earned the nickname "screamer" at the football field that Fall. I had a hard time handling it because I knew he was just expressing himself, and I'd take the approach at home when he did it,'Wow, that one was really loud,Rick..you should probably give your throat a rest a while, I'll bet it is tired after all that hard work." I don't know if thats a limit,persay..but when the behavior is particularly annoying to others..and gotta admit, sometimes the screaming got to me too,lol, you have to find a creative way to "limit set". Other than his screaming I have been very fortunate in not having to impose any limits on any of the kids other than the safety kind.

Parismama, you always give my brain food for thought, I thank you so much for that. So many of your posts allow me to take a look at my parenting at the stage that it is in and reflect and change what I decide needs to be changed. You are intelligent, sage in your advice, and gentle in your presentation of giving it. Your dd is a very lucky girl. I just wanted to tell you that.
magnoliablue is offline  
#27 of 83 Old 08-22-2004, 12:04 PM
 
Magella's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,470
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
For moms of more than two, it gets easier to see our children's unique temperments. Some kids need more structure, some less. Some parents parent better with clear rules, others parent best spontaniously. This is why I am pretty leary of parenting books. Think about a book that would tell you how to do your relationship with your spouse. Being a mom is a very personal relationship between two human beings. It is greatly influenced by the needs of the other people in the family as well. It seems to me parents need a great deal of support in how to find their own personal style of effective nurturance.



Well said, Maureen! It's a very personal journey for each of us and our children.

Discussions like this, sharing ideas and being open to new ideas, are extremely valuable to my growth as a parent, and so is the support and encouragement of other parents.
Magella is offline  
#28 of 83 Old 08-22-2004, 10:51 PM
 
monkey's mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,359
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I like the idea of principles rather than rules or limits. There are important goals with small children--namely to keep them safe and healthy. I think I do better to focus on the principle of safety rather than the unyeilding rules that are sometimes constructed to carry it out (like you must always hold hands in the street).

Here's something I like from http://sandradodd.com/rules :

Quote:
A principle internally motivates you to do the things that seem good and right. People develop principles by living with people with principles and seeing the real benefits of such a life.
A rule externally compels you, through force, threat or punishment, to do the things someone else has deemed good or right. People follow or break rules.

Which is the hope most parents have for their kids? Do they hope their kids will comply with and follow rules, or do they hope their kids will live their lives making choices that are good and right?

Most people heard sometime, somewhere "we have to have rules" and they swallowed it because they were punished if they didn't, and so, here they are today, talking about rules without any thought to what rules really are.
I personally don't limit or control my child's food, sleep, toys, friends, etc. If I constantly tell him when he is tired or hungry or not, how will he ever learn to tell for himself? I think it's vital to learn to listen to one's inner voice. But, it's nearly impossible to develop that voice when there is a louder external voice always commanding.

And dependence on that external voice is scary to me. I think there is a real vulnerability for people who depend on that external voice always telling them when, where, and how. There might come an external voice that doesn't have the person's best interest in mind--and then what?

So, we seek to model good principles and make suggestions and offer help. He sleeps when he's tired, he eats when he's hungry, stops when he's full, and plays with what interests him. We remind him about sharing and curtail violence when it happens. We generally hold hands in the street, but sometimes he wants to hold my shirt or pants. And that fulfills the principle of safety for us, without creating a problem over some hard and fast rule.
monkey's mom is offline  
#29 of 83 Old 08-22-2004, 11:16 PM
 
monkey's mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,359
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dechen
Either can I. The problem is, my little sister is one of them. :LOL Arbitrary limits drive me INSANE. She creates them for herself because it comforts her.
But, they're not arbitrary to her--surely they have meaning to her or she wouldn't do them, right? And, it could be that the limits/rules that are out there in the world simply coincide with her's and not yours.

I think everyone can find their own "limits" or "discipline." Everyone "self-regulates" to some degree or another. Often there is an ungraceful period of trying to find one's comfort zone. I think that's why college kids can get so "out of control"--many of them are making their own choices about their daily lives for the first time EVER.

I'd rather have a person make small mistakes early on finding their comfort zone, than big life-altering mistakes in their 20s.
monkey's mom is offline  
#30 of 83 Old 08-22-2004, 11:19 PM
 
FullCream's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 72
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I struggle with this a great deal. I don't want my 'rules' to be abitrary. But I LIKE to know what rules to follow (and the rules are different in different situations with different people). I feel comfortable knowing that with mum and dad I don't swear, but with my best friend it's not an issue. I love to know that if I do x then the outcome will be y .

I also like to understand the reasoning behind a rule (and I do not mindlessly go along with stuff - I think about it, examine it, research it as necessary). But when I'm feeling overwhelmed and out of control, I like to have limits on the things that make me feel uncomfortable. DD doesn't like limits - she feels bossed around.

I'm in a state of flux. On the one hand I do think that as adults DH and I do have a responsibility to help our children learn about social mores and socially acceptable behaviour (as well as a responsibility to keep our children safe), on the other, our children are individuals and will learn best by being able to be scientists exploring behaviours and their outcomes.

My big issue is noise - when I'm exposed to a lot of noise I get overwhelmed and crabby and unreasonable. Yes, that's my issue, but is it fair to DD for me to let her make lots of noise and put up with a grumpy, sometimes mean mummy, when putting a limit to that noise (eg, only for short periods, or outside) avoids that outcome?

We explain our reasoning behind rules, and involve DD (and will involve DS as he gets older) in the development of any house rules (most of which apply to adults and children alike). Our parents think we are far to lenient with our children. Sometimes we think we have too many rules.

Mmmm, more to ponder.
FullCream is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off