Children want limits: what a child wants

Children rebel and get angry because there is something they want from you as a parent. They beg you to provide this and we are not talking about toys, clothes and other types of things. The problem is that children don’t know how to verbalize this one thing they desperately want. As a result, when they don’t have it, they are filled with anxiety, insecurity and rebellion.

A study of school-age children’s antics on the playground was once conducted. When the recess bell rang they flooded the playground. They lined up on the fences and laughed and played. The fences bordering the playground were then removed. The change was remarkable. The next morning, the children huddled together in the middle of the playground. They were anxious and insecure. They did not roam or play normally. The fences were then put back into place. Do you want to guess what happened? The next day they were back on the playground, happy and safe.

The study reinforced the need to set limits. Children want limits. Children are asking for limits. They do not want a world without limits. When they are about to cross a line, they want you to stop them. When they push too hard, they expect you as a parent to step up. They don’t want your friendship any more than they want your direction. Why do parents miss this? Because of the way children verbalize it.

Your child wants to know the fence line. They want to know where the “don’t stress out” signs are. How do they ask? Pushing the limits until you say stop. They will go as far as you allow them, hoping that there is, in fact, a limit. Here’s the rub, parents too often see it as a rebellion rather than an act of clarification. Your child will scream, whine, threaten, and cry when he sees the fence line. They will tell you everything they can think of to surprise you. But deep down, almost inexplicably, they are begging you not to give up, to take your stand and stand your ground.

Why do children want limits? Do you remember the playground story above? Limits give freedom. When the fences were up, they knew where they could go, and that meant they were free within those limits. When the fences were removed they lost their freedom. You see it? They were homeless. They no longer had freedom. I know it sounds like the opposite, but this is an incredible truth that will help you create confident children.

3 things happen when there are no limits?

1. They will act.

This is your attempt to find your limit, to find your line of freedom. It is difficult for parents when the child misbehaves. It can be loud or even threatening. There could be tears and maybe an academy award. You may be intimidated by this behavior.

2. They will withdraw.

There are those children who need their limits so much, that without them they cannot venture. He will become a recluse. You will see them attached to his bedrooms.

3. They will feel unloved.

All this time the parents thought that if they gave themselves to their children they would feel loved. So you have a confused parent wondering how this child could act the way he does when he has received all this love. Only to find out that this was never received as love, but rather a lack of love.

So let’s close for now with a strong word to parents. Father, take a deep breath, stand tall and strong, and practice this word: NO! Your son wants you to say it. And then after you say it, they’re praying on the inside for you to follow through. Remember, the way they show this is by yelling all kinds of crazy things and making threats. But when you stand your ground and don’t give in to their tantrums, they’ll start to feel like you love them enough to keep your word, and a feeling of security will start to overwhelm them.

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