Setting Limits

The other day I was at a hypermarket doing my grocery shopping when I encountered a very familiar scene. Just as I had finished my shopping and was waiting at the cash counter, I heard “Dad, please can I have it? PLEASE, but why not”? “No! I said No! Don’t ask me again and again!”, Dad replied.

This was the 4th time the child had asked for the candy, no doubt which was strategically kept at his eye level at the cash counter. The minute the father said “NO”, the kid started throwing a huge temper tantrum; hands and legs went up in the air, and then the final tool – the ear piercing scream began! Before the father could react or try to get control of the situation, comes the Mom (the rescuer), and there goes the coveted candy into the trolley…

As far as the kid was concerned he got what he wanted, for the rest of us witnessing the scene, the tantrum was gotten under control and what happened next for the couple? I am sure I don’t need to describe that.

You will agree that we all have either witnessed such situations or have faced it at some point of time during our parenting.

In today’s world, we succumb to the requests of our children. For them, it’s just a matter of laying a finger on something and off it goes in the shopping trolley. Is this love spoiling our children? This is a question that is always on my mind as a parent.

We generally tend to worry about spoiling our kids with love. Love is imperative to a child’s healthy development and it’s impractical not to love your child. Children need caring parents to play with them, teach them, shield them and pamper them in life.

I remember while growing up, I dared not try to question my parents once something was told to me; that did not mean I was not loved by my parents. It was the way we were brought up, teaching us to respect limits even while love was instilled in us. Can we say that today? Parents utter one “NO” and the family enters the war zone. We are bombarded with questions like, “Why can’t I do it?”, Why can’t I go?”, “What’s the harm?” or “It’s not fair!”

It’s rightly said that “Excess of everything is poison”, and the same goes for love. We as parents often fail to enforce principles or discipline, because we do not want a brawl, or create an unhealthy atmosphere in the household. Hence we beg a child or a toddler to comply with a rule we have created.

Establishing acceptable limits is the key. Bear in mind that every child is different; one child may respond well to the direct approach of telling them a specific time to be back home, yet for another you may need a delicate reminder that it’s now time to get back home. Setting appropriate boundaries is a necessity and if children fail to comply with them, we need to be kind yet firm in your response as this lets them grasp that you as parents love them, but are serious about the rules to be followed.

The journey of growth is accompanied with uncountable, voluminous challenges; it’s our job as parents to provide love, safety and encouragement to children. Attempt to listen, perceive their scenario, and communicate with them in difficult times. We are not afraid of our children. We are not cruel, we are committed to helping them and loving them, we understand that learning limits is difficult but an essential part of growing up.

Develop a firm approach but in a kind manner, constructing and enforcing rules and expectations, where children are not compelled to adhere to them with fear, but have an inherent concern about following them by themselves.

Shazneen says – A daughter, sister,wife and a mother to a 10 year old son Tanush, with all these roles up my sleeve, I read and pursue my writing through my blog ‘Shazneen’s Blog‘. I believe that thoughts are like waves which are difficult to control, hence most of my writings are like the beating of my heart.

  • Ada

    Very true….