Monday, May 7, 2012

When to say no?

With limit setting, it's always hard to be consistent.  Just like I've talked about before, when your child begs you for the candy at the check-out lane, and he begs for it 5 times, and then you give in, he knows that it takes 5 times of begging his mom and then he'll get what he wants.

But sometimes we are in public and we just want to please them and give in, so we can get our errand run and then get the heck out of there!  But when do we say no and when do we let it go?

This morning for instance, my child wanted another one of her chewy vitamins, (we do the whole Juice Plus chewable thing), and I just give her one of each. I mean, you don't want to go over the recommended dosage of a supplement, right?  I set the limit as usual (limit setting described here).  But she was crying hysterically for another one, even though she knows she just gets one of each.  It would have been easy to rationalize and give her one more, because, they're good for her and she is almost at the age where she can have 2, and it would have started our morning out easier, right?  But I stuck to my word, didn't give in and got her out of her high chair and ready for the day, she cried but was over it pretty quickly.

And then there are the struggles right before bed time.  Sound familiar?  My child is slowly approaching the, 'just one more' stage of one more book. And I can see where she will be at the stage soon where she wants an extra glass of milk before bed, or one more snack, or one more hug, etc. just to avoid bed time.

We always read 3 books before bed, and last night I had given her the warning that, "after we read this book, mommy is turning out the light and we are going to sing a lullaby and go to sleep." When I was about to turn off the light, she said she wanted 1 more and when I told her she had already read 3 she started wailing crying.  I thought to myself, okay, I could just read one more, come on, they're books and good for them right? And if I don't she will cry and won't go to sleep well.

It's all about good sleep in this house, so I gave in.

Yikes! Yes me, I gave in.  So tonight we will work harder on letting her know 3 and that's it.  I think I will make her pick all 3 out first, set them in a special place and then read them and giving the reminder after each one.

It's constantly asking yourself, "okay, do I set a limit here, or is it really not a big deal?"

So even though I know how to set limits (acknowledge the feeling, set the limit, give alternative), it's sometimes hard to know when to call the shots too. I usually keep my limit setting rules simple and set limits for:

her safety, the safety of my house, the safety of my toys and me! and for consistency in routines (like bed time) :)

But sometimes I will watch her do something like climbing on my sofa and jumping up and down on it and I'm like, hmmm, I know that I don't want her to go to other people's homes and climb on their sofas, so I don't want her to learn a bad habit, but yet, I climbed on my sofa as a kid and didn't see the harm in it, right?  BUT she could get hurt.  Could I tell her to only do it on our sofa? Right, like she has that self control.

I've learned it's hard to be in the middle on things.  You don't want to set limits left and right and be the strict parent and have them end up OCD and afraid to play, or have them end up the opposite and rebel like crazy.  Yet, I don't want to give in to too much as we all know where that will lead!  I think it takes just going with the flow and being matter of fact about it, not making a big deal about the limit, stating it and making sure you follow through!  And planning what are going to be ongoing house rules at your home and sticking to it.  And speaking of 'ongoing', I have a feeling this dilemma of wondering whether to set a limit or not, is going to be an issue on up through the teenage years!

Oh, and one thing to always keep in mind, remember to not sweat the small stuff :)


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