Setting Limits

There's a line between fostering independence in your child, and letting her do anything, anywhere, anytime. Get some smart advice on setting limits and creating rules for kids to live by.

Change Limits as Your Child Grows

Change Limits as Your Child GrowsTrees that bend do a lot better in storms than their more brittle, rigid cousins. Life, and parenting, are never predictable, and flexibility is one of the greatest strengths you can build in yourself. Firmness is not the same as rigidity. Don't enforce limits just because once upon a time you decided it was a limit—you may need to reevaluate, or provide exceptions in cases of need. read more

Communicate Effective and Reasonable Limits to Your Kids

Communicate Effective and Reasonable Limits to Your Kids Words to Parent By Limits are behavior boundaries. Some are set by nature (humans can't fly, I can't keep track of my sunglasses), some by the state (you can't drive the wrong way down a one-way street), and some are set by you. It's up to you to define and make explicit each child's limits. read more

Dad Is Overprotective of Daughter

A father who restricts telephone use is being overprotective. It is normal and appropriate for boys and girls to talk on the phone. read more

Daughter Disrespectful to Mother

When an 11-year-old starts exhibiting bad behaviors, her parent may be in for a long protracted process of establishing boundaries, expectations, and consequences. read more

Daughter Wants to Hang Out at the Mall

Is it unreasonable to forbid an 11-year-old from hanging out at the mall unsupervised with kids you don't know well, and/or without the presence of an adult? read more

Defining the Family Rules

Defining the Family Rules How are your family's values put into action? Through personal limits and through family rules. Family rules define what is and isn't allowed in your family. They apply to everybody. (Waiting for something that says only Joey can't cross the street by himself? That's a personal limit.) read more

Family Rules Definition Exercise

This worksheet can help you get started on your exploration of potential family rules. read more

Family Rules Definition Exercise

Family Rules Definition Exercise Use this work sheet to begin your exploration of your potential family rules. Try to phrase your rules in the positive, rather than in the negative. “Eat only in the kitchen” means the same thing as “No eating in any room with a rug,” but it tends to be more effective. Household responsibility and participation. Rules?: ____________________________________ Mealtimes. Rules?: ____________________________________ Snacking. Rules?: ____________________________________ read more

House Rules and Your Four-Year-Old

House Rules and Your Four-Year-Old Just because your four-year-old has begun moving toward self-discipline doesn't mean she's there yet. She still needs you to set certain limits, remind her of rules, and correct misbehavior. Again, your child will be much more likely to honor house rules and limits if they are both fair and well-reasoned. So let your child in on the logic behind your rules. read more

How to Live with Your Adult Child

They're called Generation Y--the growing numbers of young adults who promptly move back home after college, or perhaps never move out at all, in an effort to save money while searching for a perfect job. Living with your grown child can be a stressful tug of war for control: Your child makes his own decisions, but you still rule the roost. Read on to find some tips and suggestions to make living with your adult child a little easier on everyone in your household. read more

Is 13 Too Young to Date?

Very few parents let their 13-year-olds date, but parents can placate their kids with coed get-togethers. read more

Is 14 Too Young to Date?

It's important to set boundaries for young teens, but letting them interact in safe, supervised situations is appropriate. read more

Is Dating at Age 12 Okay?

Consider all the reasons why you decided that your daughter was too young to date, and you'll have your answer. read more

Make the Limits Totally Clear to Your Kids

Make the Limits Totally Clear to Your Kids Here's the deal, it's not a limit if your child doesn't know it's there. If you don't communicate limits to your child, she won't understand where the wall is until she smashes head on into it. Invisible force fields are not a great idea in a family home. Spending a little time to first think about and decide on appropriate limits, and then talk with your child about them, will save her from crashing and burning. read more

Setting Limits and Staying Sane

Setting Limits and Staying SaneToo Strict or Too Lenient? Here's a surefire recipe for conflict: Mix together one parent (whose job is to make rules) and one child (whose job is to question rules). The resulting power struggle can turn a happy home into a war zone in seconds flat and drive a formerly rational person to the brink of insanity. Sometimes it's tempting to enact martial law -- or go to the other extreme and dispense with rules altogether. read more

Setting Limits for Your Baby

Setting Limits for Your Baby How should you enforce the limits you set? Most parents start by saying, "No!" More often than not, this warning in itself is effective in stopping your baby from doing something dangerous, harmful, or destructive. The tone you use (even more than the word itself) probably stops your infant in his tracks. With this single word, he instantly gets the message: What he was doing, or was about to do, was unacceptable and you don't like it when he does that. read more

Should 14-Year-Old Talk to Boys on the Phone?

Talking on the phone is a privilege, not a right. Whether teens are talking to boys or girls on the phone, the rules should be the same. read more

Sons Are Breaking Family Rules

When family rules are made, there should also be consequences set up for breaking them, which the whole family should agree on. read more

Why Children Push Your Buttons

Why Children Push Your ButtonsIt's 10:10 and thirteen-year-old Megan is still on the telephone. The rule is, there will be no telephone conversations after ten o'clock. Mother sticks her head into Megan's room and politely reminds her that she needs to finish the conversation and hang up. Megan nods and makes a face. At 10:20, Mother calmly reminds her again. Megan waves at Mom, hoping she will go away. This time Mother feels herself getting upset. At 10:27, Mother explodes with anger. "Hang up right now, young lady. read more