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32 	 September 2015
By Yonina Kaufman, LMSW, M. Ed, SSW
Raising Children with Limits
Do you ever find yourself
completely exhausted
and stressed with the many
responsibilities that bombard
you on a daily basis? Do you
tend to wonder why things feel
so overwhelming to you while
others seem to handle life with
finesse and ease?
Every now and then you
may even take a risk and actu-
ally share how you are feeling
with a friend or family mem-
ber...only to be met with the
following: “I have this great
idea...Just try it, it’s easy!” You
give it a try and go from feel-
ing somewhat handicapped to
feeling like a total failure!
What can we do to end this
cycle and begin to feel empow-
ered in our roles as parents
and caregivers?
As mentioned in earlier ar-
ticles, I glean a lot of my infor-
mation and experience from
the Love and Logic Approach.
One of the main principles
of Love and Logic is that in-
stead of completely shifting
everything we do in our in-
teractions with children, it is
healthier and more effective to
think of the new ideas as “ex-
periments.” There are a lot of
variables that affect the success
of an experiment. The greatest
part of an experiment is that
success is measured by effort
and not outcome.
This allows “Just try it…”
to be a guiding principle
and not a measure of com-
petence. What works one
day with one particular child
may not work the next day.
Children are human beings.
They come to us with predis-
positions, moods and differ-
ent responses to their envi-
ronments. When we can step
away from trying to change
our children and moving to-
ward helping them cope in
their world, while developing
resilience we will find our-
selves feeling less exhausted
and more focused on the
process than the outcome.
We all know that any success
we observe with our children
is short term and the ulti-
mate measure is the kind of
adults they grow to become.
If we only focus on making
them “perfect” now, we are
shortchanging ourselves and
our experiences as “growth
facilitators.”
Let us explore some practical
ways to reduce stress around
getting through common daily
routines and procedures. Keep
in mind that any ideas offered
here are merely “experiments.”
I also recommend trying new
ideas with less challenging
personalities, if possible. Suc-
cess breeds success, for both
adults and children.
The mindset of the adult
should include the following:
• A focus on preserving the
dignity of both the child and
the adult
• Sharing as much control
as possible, to allow for growth
and confidence to flourish
• Using empathy before shar-
ing a consequence and as a re-
sponse to negative information
• A long term goal of devel-
oping and preserving a healthy,
positive relationship with the
child, while recognizing that
establishing boundaries and
parameters within the rela-
tionship is essential to accom-
plishing the long term goal
Parenting is a process. All of
the research around caregiver ca-
pacity focuses on self-care. When
adults take good care of them-
selves, by setting limits without
anger, lectures, threats, or repeat-
ed warnings, not only are they
preserving their energy, but they
are modeling healthy self-care.
We spend a lot of time and energy
owning our children’s problems,
denying them the opportunity to
develop the skills necessary to be
resilient and productive adults.
It is important to remember that
when children cause problems,
adults should hand these prob-
lems back by providing large dos-
es of empathy and logical/natural
consequences.
These two rules can be sum-
marized as:
B Self-care
C Hand problems back to
children, using genuine empa-
thy and natural consequences
As I started to familiarize
myself with these concepts, I
began by stepping back and
observing what mornings and
evenings in my home would
look like to a complete strang-
er. The observations were pain-
ful! I came to realize that I was
often in “survival mode” where
the adults would engage in a
combination of begging, plead-
ing, bribing, lecturing and
threatening. I also started to
notice that the harder I worked,
the less my children worked!
Some of the small changes I
implemented in the morning
slowly shifted the energy and
focus. One of my favorite Love
and Logic strategies is called
“Enforceable Statements.” The
idea is to let the child know
what you allow instead of tell-
ing the child what to do.
For example, saying some-
thing like, “Breakfast will be
served until 7:15” is a lot more
effective than, “Hurry up and
eat!” Its power comes when
you calmly clear the cereal and
milk at 7:15 and empathize
with the fact that s/he missed
breakfast time. This may feel
cruel to some, but imagine in
the effect of a child not sit-
ting and eating a bowl of ce-
real with milk ONE morning,
versus you having to nag him/
her for decades. Some parents
are not comfortable with “de-
nying food,” so an option may
be cereal in a bag instead of
the luxury of cereal with milk
in a bowl. The goal is to stay
calm, let them know you un-
derstand that it’s frustrating to
miss breakfast, but that tomor-
row breakfast will be served
until 7:15 again. When deliv-
ered with confidence, genu-
ine empathy and no sarcasm,
the message is: we have rules
here and I trust you to manage
yourself in a way that allows
for our home to function with-
out anger, threats or warnings,
while making sure your needs
are met.
• I allow you to play with….
“When adults take good care
of themselves, by setting limits
without anger, lectures, threats,
or repeated warnings, not
only are they preserving their
energy, but they are modeling
healthy self-care…”
September 2015 33
as long as there are no problems
• My car leaves at 8:15
• You may leave your light
on to read as long as you are
in bed
• I can understand you
when your voice is calm
• I can continue reading the
story when everyone is quiet
• We can start eating dinner
when the table is set
• I give out candle light-
ing treats when there is noth-
ing but furniture on the living
room floor
• I take kids places when I
feel respected
• Ihelpwithhomeworkwhen
the kids do most of the work
• I buy clothing for kids
who take care of their clothes
A generic Enforceable State-
ment starts with “I allow...” and
ends with “...as long as there
are no problems.”
What I also realized in my
self-exploration was that I was
expecting my children to do
things in a particular way, yet
I had never explicitly taught
them my expectations. In the
morning, for example, it is
common to hear frustration in
the mornings around washing,
getting dressed, making beds,
eating breakfast and getting
out of the house by a specific
time. Experience has shown
that having some “practice
runs” before school starts can
be incredibly beneficial for all.
Depending on the ages and
personalities of your children,
some parents find it helpful to
take pictures of the children
doing each of the tasks and
posting them, in order, as re-
minders. The fewer words we
have to use, the more energy
we will have!
Will your kids thank you for
setting limits with them? Prob-
ably not, in the short term, but
as they grow up and listen to
their friends talking about
their homes, you may find that
they take pride in the way their
parents calmly, yet firmly set
limits, without sacrificing the
dignity of the adult or child. I
have heard a number of well-
known therapists say that they
have young clients sit in their
offices sharing that in homes
where there is an absence of
rules and parameters, the chil-
dren will lie to their friends,
pretending they have rules.
Rules make children feel safe
and secure.
	 Yonina is an MSW graduate of New
York University and an MS graduate
of Touro College certified in Education
and Special Education. She is presently
employed by the New York City Depart-
ment of Education servicing a number of
schools in the New York Metropolitan area
as a School Social Worker. She has been
working with teachers and families since
2005. She uses the Love and Logic frame-
work to guide her work and offers parent-
ing courses for couples in a group setting.
In addition, she collaborates with educa-
tors on improving classroom management
techniques and supports students, educa-
tors, and administrators on meeting the
diverse social/emotional needs of students
and parents. Yonina currently resides in
Brooklyn, NY with her husband and five
children. To learn more about Love and
Logic or to reach Yonina, feel free to con-
tact her at: ytkaufman@gmail.com.
225 Arlington Street
Framingham, MA 01702
Tel: (800) 257-5376
Fax: (800) 268-6624
www.therapro.com
Parent-centered Activities
Speech & Language
Sensory Integration
Early Learning
•
•
•
•
The Therapy Resource for
Families & Professionals!
“As they grow up and listen
to their friends talking about
their homes, you may find that
they take pride in the way their
parents calmly, yet firmly set
limits, without sacrificing the
dignity of the adult or child.…”
Serving the Community
Since 1979
Register online for priority access
Leading-Edge Products
State-of-the-Art Tech
Assistance Animals
Adaptive Sports
Inclusive Dance
Vital Services
Fun for the Kids
Essentials for Seniors
Info-packed Workshops
FREEADMISSION
Explore new products,
experience the fun!
Boston • September 18-20, 2015
The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center • Hall C
415 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210
Friday 11 AM - 5 PM • Saturday 11 AM - 5 PM • Sunday 11 AM - 4 PM

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Sep bb page 32

  • 1. 32 September 2015 By Yonina Kaufman, LMSW, M. Ed, SSW Raising Children with Limits Do you ever find yourself completely exhausted and stressed with the many responsibilities that bombard you on a daily basis? Do you tend to wonder why things feel so overwhelming to you while others seem to handle life with finesse and ease? Every now and then you may even take a risk and actu- ally share how you are feeling with a friend or family mem- ber...only to be met with the following: “I have this great idea...Just try it, it’s easy!” You give it a try and go from feel- ing somewhat handicapped to feeling like a total failure! What can we do to end this cycle and begin to feel empow- ered in our roles as parents and caregivers? As mentioned in earlier ar- ticles, I glean a lot of my infor- mation and experience from the Love and Logic Approach. One of the main principles of Love and Logic is that in- stead of completely shifting everything we do in our in- teractions with children, it is healthier and more effective to think of the new ideas as “ex- periments.” There are a lot of variables that affect the success of an experiment. The greatest part of an experiment is that success is measured by effort and not outcome. This allows “Just try it…” to be a guiding principle and not a measure of com- petence. What works one day with one particular child may not work the next day. Children are human beings. They come to us with predis- positions, moods and differ- ent responses to their envi- ronments. When we can step away from trying to change our children and moving to- ward helping them cope in their world, while developing resilience we will find our- selves feeling less exhausted and more focused on the process than the outcome. We all know that any success we observe with our children is short term and the ulti- mate measure is the kind of adults they grow to become. If we only focus on making them “perfect” now, we are shortchanging ourselves and our experiences as “growth facilitators.” Let us explore some practical ways to reduce stress around getting through common daily routines and procedures. Keep in mind that any ideas offered here are merely “experiments.” I also recommend trying new ideas with less challenging personalities, if possible. Suc- cess breeds success, for both adults and children. The mindset of the adult should include the following: • A focus on preserving the dignity of both the child and the adult • Sharing as much control as possible, to allow for growth and confidence to flourish • Using empathy before shar- ing a consequence and as a re- sponse to negative information • A long term goal of devel- oping and preserving a healthy, positive relationship with the child, while recognizing that establishing boundaries and parameters within the rela- tionship is essential to accom- plishing the long term goal Parenting is a process. All of the research around caregiver ca- pacity focuses on self-care. When adults take good care of them- selves, by setting limits without anger, lectures, threats, or repeat- ed warnings, not only are they preserving their energy, but they are modeling healthy self-care. We spend a lot of time and energy owning our children’s problems, denying them the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to be resilient and productive adults. It is important to remember that when children cause problems, adults should hand these prob- lems back by providing large dos- es of empathy and logical/natural consequences. These two rules can be sum- marized as: B Self-care C Hand problems back to children, using genuine empa- thy and natural consequences As I started to familiarize myself with these concepts, I began by stepping back and observing what mornings and evenings in my home would look like to a complete strang- er. The observations were pain- ful! I came to realize that I was often in “survival mode” where the adults would engage in a combination of begging, plead- ing, bribing, lecturing and threatening. I also started to notice that the harder I worked, the less my children worked! Some of the small changes I implemented in the morning slowly shifted the energy and focus. One of my favorite Love and Logic strategies is called “Enforceable Statements.” The idea is to let the child know what you allow instead of tell- ing the child what to do. For example, saying some- thing like, “Breakfast will be served until 7:15” is a lot more effective than, “Hurry up and eat!” Its power comes when you calmly clear the cereal and milk at 7:15 and empathize with the fact that s/he missed breakfast time. This may feel cruel to some, but imagine in the effect of a child not sit- ting and eating a bowl of ce- real with milk ONE morning, versus you having to nag him/ her for decades. Some parents are not comfortable with “de- nying food,” so an option may be cereal in a bag instead of the luxury of cereal with milk in a bowl. The goal is to stay calm, let them know you un- derstand that it’s frustrating to miss breakfast, but that tomor- row breakfast will be served until 7:15 again. When deliv- ered with confidence, genu- ine empathy and no sarcasm, the message is: we have rules here and I trust you to manage yourself in a way that allows for our home to function with- out anger, threats or warnings, while making sure your needs are met. • I allow you to play with…. “When adults take good care of themselves, by setting limits without anger, lectures, threats, or repeated warnings, not only are they preserving their energy, but they are modeling healthy self-care…”
  • 2. September 2015 33 as long as there are no problems • My car leaves at 8:15 • You may leave your light on to read as long as you are in bed • I can understand you when your voice is calm • I can continue reading the story when everyone is quiet • We can start eating dinner when the table is set • I give out candle light- ing treats when there is noth- ing but furniture on the living room floor • I take kids places when I feel respected • Ihelpwithhomeworkwhen the kids do most of the work • I buy clothing for kids who take care of their clothes A generic Enforceable State- ment starts with “I allow...” and ends with “...as long as there are no problems.” What I also realized in my self-exploration was that I was expecting my children to do things in a particular way, yet I had never explicitly taught them my expectations. In the morning, for example, it is common to hear frustration in the mornings around washing, getting dressed, making beds, eating breakfast and getting out of the house by a specific time. Experience has shown that having some “practice runs” before school starts can be incredibly beneficial for all. Depending on the ages and personalities of your children, some parents find it helpful to take pictures of the children doing each of the tasks and posting them, in order, as re- minders. The fewer words we have to use, the more energy we will have! Will your kids thank you for setting limits with them? Prob- ably not, in the short term, but as they grow up and listen to their friends talking about their homes, you may find that they take pride in the way their parents calmly, yet firmly set limits, without sacrificing the dignity of the adult or child. I have heard a number of well- known therapists say that they have young clients sit in their offices sharing that in homes where there is an absence of rules and parameters, the chil- dren will lie to their friends, pretending they have rules. Rules make children feel safe and secure. Yonina is an MSW graduate of New York University and an MS graduate of Touro College certified in Education and Special Education. She is presently employed by the New York City Depart- ment of Education servicing a number of schools in the New York Metropolitan area as a School Social Worker. She has been working with teachers and families since 2005. She uses the Love and Logic frame- work to guide her work and offers parent- ing courses for couples in a group setting. In addition, she collaborates with educa- tors on improving classroom management techniques and supports students, educa- tors, and administrators on meeting the diverse social/emotional needs of students and parents. Yonina currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and five children. To learn more about Love and Logic or to reach Yonina, feel free to con- tact her at: ytkaufman@gmail.com. 225 Arlington Street Framingham, MA 01702 Tel: (800) 257-5376 Fax: (800) 268-6624 www.therapro.com Parent-centered Activities Speech & Language Sensory Integration Early Learning • • • • The Therapy Resource for Families & Professionals! “As they grow up and listen to their friends talking about their homes, you may find that they take pride in the way their parents calmly, yet firmly set limits, without sacrificing the dignity of the adult or child.…” Serving the Community Since 1979 Register online for priority access Leading-Edge Products State-of-the-Art Tech Assistance Animals Adaptive Sports Inclusive Dance Vital Services Fun for the Kids Essentials for Seniors Info-packed Workshops FREEADMISSION Explore new products, experience the fun! Boston • September 18-20, 2015 The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center • Hall C 415 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210 Friday 11 AM - 5 PM • Saturday 11 AM - 5 PM • Sunday 11 AM - 4 PM