“A Gem from Christmas Vacation – Limits”

“A Gem from Christmas Vacation – Limits”

In the info overload so often experienced, a recent measuring stick was handed to me.  “What would Grandma think of that advice?”  Grandma would have loved the chapter entitled “I am happier when I am thankful, “ from, Boundaries With Kids:  When to Say YES, When to Say No, to Help Your Children Gain Control of Their Lives by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  There is a list on p. 171 on setting limits that lends clarity to a tough part of parenting and education. There’s only one word in the section quoted below with which I have issue.  I used strikethrough for the word “badness” and have replaced the word.  The rest is straight from dr. Cloud:

 Here are some thoughts on the role of limiting:

  • Limits begin in infancy when, having had all their needs met, infant experience separateness at times.

  • Limits begin to kick in formally in toddlerhood as children learn they are not the boss, and limits continue through the teen years.

  • Limits teach children that they are not entitled to whatever they want, even though their wants may be good. They have to work to achieve what they want; desire is not enough.

  • Limits teach children that life is not fair, if they define fair as equal.  They will never have the same as everyone else. Some will have more, some will have less than they will.

  • Limits help children learn that their feelings are not ultimate reality.

  • Limits are important in bringing out children’s protest so parents can empathize with their children and contain their feelings while keeping the limit.

  • Limits and discipline show children their badness brokenness, so they do not think they are innocent victims of the universe.

  • Limits instill confidence because children find they can survive the deprivation of some of their wants and learn to meet some of their own needs.

  • Limits give them a structure for how to treat others. Children who have experienced loving limits can set them.

  • Limits help them experience grieving for what they cannot control, so they can let it go and resolve it.

 Do not rob your children of limits. Otherwise, they will have the lifelong burden of thinking they are God. That is a role at which they are sure to fail.

Christmas is a tough time to talk about boundaries, but for me personally, what better time than when I am emerging from the freedoms of vacation, and a need to reestablish discipline in life.  I need boundaries; the Lord calls me to set them daily.  May He grace us all through them, and may we employ them well with His grace for our good and the good of our families.

In His Love,

Signature ball point pen

Sister Mary Michael




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