Archive d’étiquettes pour : limits

In « Il me cherche ! » (“He’s provoking me!”), it is said “Kids hate limits, they love rules.”
(we had already noticed that during our reading of « J’ai tout essayé! » (“I tried everything!”)

What’s the difference?
Limits set what’s forbidden, whereas rules, like those of a game, aim to allow.

Why privilege rules?
For two reasons: one, because formulating in terms of prohibitions won’t be as efficient, and second because if the child has to suffer prohibitions when he is in position of inferiority, chances are he will use the same methods of prohibiting things, when he is in position of superiority.
We are in a way teaching him how to use the power of position onto others in an abusive way!
Thus, and I follow here the author’s thought, he’ll show less respect for others in relationships with his friends, his siblings… and you’ll see more conflicts!

Last week, we went to the community pool of a friend’s building.
Another family was there, and the little boy had borrowed our tricycle.
He was happy, and rode and rode, until he decided it was fun to ride right around the pool. Not only the idea of rolling around the pool is problematic, but additionally, it’s circled with slippery tiles.
The mom tries to tell him: “Don’t go there!”, but the boy doesn’t listen.
I get close, get to his height, and tell him: “Look, with that tricycle, you can go anywhere where it isn’t slippery, like there (showing a spot a little further from the pool)”.

Without saying anything, he rolls away on a place without slippery tiles.

We have already spoken , for very young children, of the trap of negative form, another point noted in the same book « J’ai tout essayé ! » (« I tried everything ! »)

Here, we speak of children that are a little older, but we follow the same idea: the message that gives the frame of authorizations is more efficient that that which prohibits.
In this direction  of thought, we will choose: “Here, we speak silently” rather than “Here, we don’t scream”.
(Hey, I will have to find another formulation of “we don’t hit” for Anatole…)

Or, in the case of the picture illustrating this post, in which I do have to tell him that he cannot touch it, I still focus on the positive, what we can do: “We can show with our finger without touching.”

It’s crazy how positivity can slip anywhere… In details…subtleties in language that change everything, and I have had the occasion of realizing this, even with other’s children

And I noticed that this idea corresponded quite well to a general evolution the last time I was at the airport!

As parents, like any human being, and especially facing moments… moments… Well… Sometimes you go crazy!
(I call it « the moment I turn into a witch« )

This chapter answers to Chapter 10 , where it is said we should accept our own feelings.
If we try to completely hide our rising anger, it might suddenly unleash, inappropriately… Better express it gradually so it doesn’t raise too high.
Because here’s the heart of it: we learn things, we make progress, we assimilate good education techniques, and then… and then suddenly anger takes over, and we forget everything!

How can me change our reaction?

How to express anger appropriately?

A few tips:
Change the beginning of the sentences: use I rather than YOU
(« I can’t stand being addressed this way! »)
Stay simple: « The rule is:… », without further explanation.

Most importantly, no insult, or label! Otherwise, we may push children into a role (see Chapter 7), or in any case, we attack their identity, the way they see themselves.

In this chapter, the author lists a whole bunch of possible reactions to a particular case, by varying the methods, and for growing states of anger. To prepare answers that will help us feel ready to better express ourselves when the moment comes is in deed a very good idea!


She considers the case where her children have (still) not fed the bird.

level 1 – mild annoyance-, you can make a gesture (show the empty plate), write a note (« bird in distress »), describe (« bird looks hungry »), repeat the description (simply), encourage children to find a solution (« children, there is something that bothers me, I need your help. Initially, this bird was well fed, and increasingly, it is forced to skip meals. Do you think you could put a system in place, and explain it to me after dinner? »)

2nd level – edgy, we should discharge some of the irritation constructively: (« I’m annoyed and disappointed. Certain children vowed they they would take good care of the bird! »), affirm one’s values (« when an animal depends on us, we don’t let him down! »),  3-word exclamation (« David, the bird! »)

3rd level – mean!-, we can give a choice (« children, you choose: you feed this bird, or you stand an angry mother! »), an alert (« you have 3 minutes to feed this bird until my mean feelings get the best out of me! »), the use of « as soon as » (« as soon as the bird is fed, we can talk about watching TV. Until then, I’m in no mood to grant favors »)

4th level – rage!-, sharing feelings (« when I ask again and again that we feed the bird and I am ignored, I become incensed! Now, I am feeding the bird myself, and I am furious at having to do your job! »)


And I did not even write everything here, but it gives a good idea of the approach!
The real first step would be to undertake this exercise: build up on a case that triggers our anger, and list what one could say… so that we’re prepared. It will probably not come naturally, but at least it would give us better ideas.

And when words still don’t have any effect..?
One must be ready to act!
Beware, we are not talking punishment, but about something directly linked to the behavior:  a consequence.
Yes, if words have no effect, we should act, after having given a choice.

We talked already about the power of choices, here it would choices related to behavior.
Ex: « You can choose to play ball outside or stay inside and not play ball »
Follow-up with « I see you chose » by removing the ball, if the attitude has not changed.

Sometimes acting is not easy. However, as Dr. Haim Ginott says:
« A parent’s responsibility is not to his child’s happiness, it’s to his character.
Did you know that ‘no’ can be a loving response? »

And then again, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
« The children don’t learn in terms of ‘once-and-for-all’. They learn in terms of ‘now and then again, and still again’ « . »
In any case, what we must remember, is that the idea isn’t to swallow our anger, but to use it constructively, rather than counterproductively.
 And I’ll finish on that quote:

« There’s such a short time that a child lives at home, and so much for him to learn before he goes out into the world. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if parents could harvest the energy generated by their anger, and use it,-not for insult – but for giving their children information and values… »
Dr. Haim Ginott

Back to the book post