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Setting Boundaries

Rash words are like Sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Love and Logic parenting is a law-and- order philosophy. Just because we recommend that parents shy away from issuing orders and imposing their solutions on their kid’s problems does not mean we give license to all sorts of misbehavior. True we allow our kids to mess up, and we don’t drive home the lesson of their misdeeds with our words. We are slow to lecture; we never actually tell our kids what they have just learned. We believe telling our kids what to think is counterproductive. We can give them guidance, but they must think for themselves. Making enforceable statements and giving choices force that thinking back to them.

Parenting with love and Logic involves setting strong limits and Boundaries in toddlerhood. Not only do limits protect our children from harmful situations they also allow us to model good adult behavior by caring for ourselves. Lets look at a couple of examples.Two. toddlers, “Thoughtfull” and Thug”, want to be picked up. They raise their hands and scream demandingly at their parents. Thug’s parents pick them up. In essence, they say,” be obnoxious with me and you will get your way.” However when thoughtful when thoughtful raise her hands and screams, her father says, without anger or sarcasm, “Thoughtful, why don’t you lie down on the Linoleum? I can’t pick you up when you act like that.” Thoughtful learns right away to say, as polite as possible, Daddy, will you please pick me up?”

All infants at about six months discover their pitching arm and attempt to train their mothers to fetch as the baby bottle first fall off the high- chair tray and is then thrown by the baby. Each mom plays fetch in her own unique manner some mom’s are one bottle retrievers, most are three to four- bottle retrievers. Some are more enjoyable and will retrieve over and over, at leas twice or three times every meal. From a baby’spoint of view,the most fun are the sighing or noisy retrievers: ” will you please quit throwing your milk bottle off the tray” some retrievers are quiet but lovingly say, in their actions” you can choose to throw the bottle once every meal and I’ll pick it up, and then you have chosen to save your arm for the next meal.” The game is a lot shorter and less fun for the pitcher, but the retriever leads a happier life, and soon the bottle isn’t pitched at all. The boundaries we set for our children are in reality the boundaries we set for ourselves. The more squishy and indecisive we are about our own boundaries the more soggy and inconsistent we are about the limits we set for our toddlers.

Excerpts from Love and Logic.