Part 1: Setting and Executing Limits

Jul 04, 2022
Part 1: Setting and Executing Limits

There’s a frequent question I see whenever we’re talking about setting clear limits or asking our kids to do something. And we’re talking about young kids here (less than age 5-6).

And we’re talking about non-negotiable stuff.

For example:

“I really want my child to put on her shoes because we need to leave the house at a certain time...”


“I really need my child to stop hitting her brother.”

In these cases, I say “do what you need to do” which I’m thinking maybe doesn’t clarify what I’m saying (and thus the confusion).

So this is what I mean.

If your child is about to touch the fire in the fireplace, what do you do?

If he’s about to run into the road, what do you do?

If she needs a vaccine shot, what do you do?

If she won’t put on her diaper, what do you do?

In all these cases, “you do what you need to do”, right? You don’t just yell instructions from across the room.

You get up and help them get the job done.

You don’t sit there and waste time thinking, “Why do I have to stop him from touching the fire? When he burns himself he’ll learn his lesson.”

No, you realize that he’s too little to grasp the concept of fire being hot. So as a parent, you recognize that it’s your job to protect him when his brain doesn’t allow that kind of high-functioning logic.

And yes, there might be some unpleasant feelings that they will express but we’re not afraid of feelings, yes? We’re comfortable with them:)

And so, always always, this is how we view kids. That they do what they can in that moment. And sometimes they can’t. Or won’t because the world can feel overwhelming and scary for them a lot of times.

Fear and anxiety freezes us dead in our tracks. We don’t know how to proceed. The same happens with kids.

Then we gently take their hand and move forward.

Without judgement and without fear of “spoiling” them.