Effective Limit Setting Part 4 – Setting The Limit

limitI have been writing a four part series on effective limit setting.
Please read the previous three posts before you read this so you know the situation I am referring to. I am using that scenario as an example of an effective limit setting process I refer to as IEIL.

I discussed the first three letters of IEIL in the last three posts. The first letter I means impulse and the letter E stands for emotion. The second letter I means information.

Using these letters as your guide, it will help you remember the process when you are applying it during regular day to day life. I have learned that these four letters help parents to quickly organize the few sentences they need to say to effectively deal with an emotionally charged situation.

We left off in the previous post at step three, providing information.

Now we are to the limit. Here is what it would sound like at this point, after child A has pushed child B at the park (refer back to previous posts for more info about the scenario if needed):

“Looks like you wanted Johnny to move”

“It can be scary to have someone run right up into your face.”

“We use words, not our hands to let people know how we feel”.
“It is not okay to hurt anyone and pushing hurts”.

The final step is setting the limit and it is important to do a few key things to increase the effectiveness of this process.

Kneel down, get eye to eye with your child. Say their name, “Joey, you can choose to use your words and keep your hands on your own body or you can choose to go play on the other side of the park where there is one slide and no other children.”

It is really important to use the words, “you can choose” when you are setting the limit. The goal is to teach the behavior from within so it is important for your child to understand that the consequence is their choice.

Usually, when you are first starting this process, your child will test you. If the behavior is repeated then you look your child in the eye and say, “Looks like you have chosen to play on the other side of the park.”

Then you follow through. You must do what you say you are going to do. It is critically important. Consistency is the key to effective parenting across the board.

This four part series has only scratched the surface in teaching this process. I offer six week workshops that take it to a much higher level. If you are interested, send me a message!


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