Setting Limits From a Young Age Isn't Being Rigid

Setting limits from a young age for your child is a fundamental process to teach them the basic rules and educate them in the best way possible. This is all you need to keep in mind!
Setting Limits From a Young Age Isn't Being Rigid

Last update: 21 September, 2021

Some parents believe that setting limits from a young age is wrong, for fear that their children will become frustrated and this will affect their self-esteem. However, on the contrary, this exercise is essential for your child in order to achieve optimal development.

Parents who had an authoritarian upbringing are likely to support this idea. Because they felt unheard during their childhood, they want the opposite for their children. However, it’s possible to set limits from a young age without constantly offering mistreatment or threatening punishment.

The importance of setting limits from a young age

Setting limits on children is a fundamental part of the process of learning the basic rules of family coexistence . In addition, it’s essential that you successfully instill in them some healthy habits, such as going to sleep on time and organizing their spaces.

At the same time, the setting of limits from a young age is key in order for the child to learn to live in society and to become aware of their actions in order not to cause harm to others. Therefore, they can develop the ability to select which actions to put aside and which to apply, in order to maintain a good relationship with the people around them.

In this way, important values such as respect, responsibility, and empathy are also instilled in them. All of these allow the child to build social ties that generate well-being and happiness.

Two toddlers practicing social skills.

Putting limits on a child strengthens their confidence because it makes it clear that the parents are accompanying them during their upbringing. This makes them feel protected and valued by their leadership figures.

Teaching clear boundaries from childhood helps prevent your child from becoming a manipulative adult, wanting to step over others at all costs, and developing violent behaviors. In addition, it strengthens their self-esteem because they’re taught to have a personality that’s socially accepted by their environment.

What to keep in mind when setting limits for a child?

Setting limits on a child strengthens the relationship between parents and children, as agreements are established that prevent future discussions. Likewise, this teaching process shouldn’t be rigid. However, in order to work, it must be carried out with love, patience, and serenity.

Here are all the actions you should take into account when setting limits for your child.

1. Talk to your child in the right tone

To set a limit, there’s no need to yell, as a moderate tone makes the child feel calmer and supported by their parents. In the same way, dialogue in good terms allows everything to be clear and the child to feel that what’s said is for their own good.

Parents talking to their baby.

2. Agree on reasonable limits

The intention of the limits is to educate the child well and allow them to acquire the necessary bases to function in the social sphere. So, it’s not about forbidding everything, taking away their freedom, or making them feel inferior.

It’s important to pass on the essential values and give them positive teachings. Therefore, the anger and rebellion of the child are avoided.

A father and daughter talking.

3. Include positive words when setting limits

It’s always important to highlight the positive aspects so that the child knows what the limit is about. In addition, this allows you to understand the ultimate intention of ensuring their well-being.

It’s essential to make them realize the consequences of their actions, in such a way that they understand why it’s necessary to put aside certain behavior.

A father with his daughter in the pediatrician's office.

4. Let the child explain why they think what they’ve done is correct

Giving your child a voice is important in order to give them more confidence and freedom. Therefore, listening carefully is a way to reach a common point, which is convenient for both parties. Also, this is a way to encourage better behavior on their part.

5. Never accompany the limits with threatening punishments

Dialogue is the best resource to educate a child, as it allows them to visualize their mistakes without the need to feel attacked.

A father and son talking.

Because of this, mistakes have to be seen as part of learning and must be dealt with on good terms. This way, the child can visualize limits as an exercise for improvement and not something that instills fear.

The positive consequences of setting limits from a young age

This educational habit is essential for children in order to learn to have self-control, as they’re given the necessary tools to recognize how to act in all areas.

In addition, it’s an optimal way to teach them that everyone can make mistakes, but the important thing is to recognize them in order to change and have a full life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Serrano, María Elena, García Álvarez, Diego, Inteligencia emocional: autocontrol en adolescentes estudiantes del último año de secundaria. Multiciencias [Internet]. 2010; 10 (3): 273-280.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.