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The golden rule for limit-setting

June 27, 2013

Here’s a life-changing idea…                                                                                                                          

In his book, The Secure Child, Stanley Greenspan says,

“If there is a single golden rule for limit-setting, it can be summed up in a few words: Give more and expect more.  The amount of affection and empathetic interaction we offer our children has a clear connection with their ability to rise to challenges or meet the demands we make of them” (p. 77).

 In other words…

When we want to raise the bar for our children, we often need to raise the bar for ourselves. Some of our children’s challenges may be due to our adult lives making us less available to them. For example, when children are dragging their feet and having difficulty starting on chores, rather than sternly demanding that they get started, while we continue working on our own tasks, we may need to take some time to help them break down the tasks into manageable parts. This takes more time than barking a command—but it is more effective in getting them started, in teaching them how to work, and in building a relationship.

 Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…                 

Connect with your child. Take time to tune in to their interests and challenges. Listen to what they have to say. If they share strong feelings, empathize instead of criticize. Show them by your words and actions that they are important to you.

 To find out more…

about parenting, check out The Parenting Journey, See the World Through My Eyes, or Getting Our Hearts Right at, follow us at or contact your local county Extension agent. You might also enjoy reading The Secure Child.

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