In the popular imagination, limits tend to have a negative imprint. Many parents think that setting rules for their children mean curtailing their freedom and restricting their development, and therefore they adopt a more permissive stance. However, in reality, children do need limits to grow and feel safe and confident. In fact, it has been shown that putting into practice an education that is too permissive and without clear rules can affect the child’s adaptation to their environment, as well as their emotional development, and they can even become tyrant children.
The implications of NOT putting limits on children
Parents who do not limit their children and allow them to do what they want are raising children who are unlikely to be able to adapt to change, with a low tolerance for frustration, little self-control and low self-esteem. Indulgent parenting results in children who continually put their needs before those of others, who find it difficult to put themselves in the shoes of others, assume their responsibilities and comply with rules and obligations.
In fact, many of the children who have grown up without clear and precise limits and who always achieve everything they set out at the cost of manipulating their parents end up becoming rebellious, aggressive and continually having tantrums, with a profile of a tyrant child. , since they have not learned to regulate their behaviour and adapt to different contexts. In some cases, they can assume a self-sufficient behaviour and, at first glance, they seem to have great self-confidence, but in reality, it is a mask behind which they hide their insecurity and fear.
The impertinence, the lack of perseverance, the impatience, the little desire to collaborate, the lack of commitment and the problems to relate assertively with their peers are usually other characteristics of these tyrant children. However, there are times when excess permissiveness can lead to more complex and difficult to treat disorders, such as oppositional defiant disorder, characterized by the constant transgression of the rules, or other behaviour problems that can affect the academic development of the student.
How to set healthy limits for children?
Limits do not have to restrict children’s spontaneity and freedom. When applied correctly, children not only feel more secure, but family dynamics also flow more naturally. The key is to set a few limits, but keep them clear and specific as it is important for children to understand exactly what their parents expect of them. Ideally, they should be explained to them in simple language and according to their age so that they can understand them since they will not perceive them as impositions and they will be more willing to follow them. In fact, there is no greater motivation for violating a boundary than not understanding it.
It is also essential that the limits are firm and consistent, that is to say, that they are always observed, without exceptions; otherwise, they could generate confusion in children and, in some cases, lead to children trying to measure forces or manipulate their parents to not following the rules. Another important detail is to focus the limits only on the child’s behaviour, never on his emotions or ideas. A child who feels limited to expressing his emotions or what he thinks will end up being a frustrated, repressed little boy, unable to fulfil his full potential.
Obviously, it is also necessary to adapt the limits to the age and level of development of each child to avoid being too weak or too harsh in their education. It is essential that the norms and rules are always congruent with the level of self-control that the little ones have developed.