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One of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of parenting is also the most critical…providing children the boundaries they need to feel secure. I was reminded again how confusing this issue can be for all of us when I received this comment on my recent post about hitting :.

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I feel somewhat validated knowing that my matter-of-fact response is on the right track. My toddler son is big for his age and quite strong. Trying to restrain his hands or feet is difficult for a petite woman like me. Our children need to know that their parents and caregivers are not thrown by their minor misdeeds, so they can rest assured that they are well taken care of and not more powerful than the leaders they depend on.

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It sounds like your son needs much more assurance and confident leadership from you. I would also make sure you are preparing him in advance for transitions and speaking to him honestly and respectfully. One is overly strict, punitive and non-empathic. It involves maintaining control of the household through punitive discipline and other manipulative tactics.

Respect is demanded from children, rather than being something children can be trusted to return to us when they have been treated respectfully from the time they are born. There is a lack of recognition of the healthy need toddlers have to express their burgeoning will by resisting whatever their parents want …and their need to release intense feelings.

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This is an erroneous attitude. Passive parents often give too many choicesoveranalyze or respond ambiguously when children need a definitive, honest intervention. It has to, because the child is still not getting the help she needs. These children might seem adrift and uncomfortable much of the time. There may be a lot of demanding, crying and whining rather than healthy coping and resilience, which can send even the kindest, gentlest, most loving parents over the edge.

It is because of it. If this passive approach continues, these children can become unpleasant company, not only for their parents, but for their peers, teachers, family and friends.

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Parents are encouraged to respect their babies, trust them to develop skills naturally according to their inborn timetable and lead play. As facilitators of these aspects of child development, rather than teachers, we learn to observe, practice staying out of the way.

But this must not be confused with passivity — it is mindfulness. I offer a complete guide to respectful discipline in. Photo by greg westfall on Flickr. Stay up-to-date with newly posted articles, podcasts and news. first name and address:. Please share your comments and questions. I read them all and respond to as many as time will allow. This then prompts the children to make sense of what you DO mean by trying again. This is very confusing and it is also why children keep badgering you to change your mind — because they know that you will…….

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Imagine having this much power when you are 2 or 6 or 13 — the power to wear someone down. Especially when children need to be raised and encouraged in an environment where they feel supported instead of in charge. YOU are in charge, you are the parent. First of all you need to be clear about what is important to you, then it is important to be clear on what is good for your children.

Yes they will push, but caving means that you let yourself down and you let them down too by sending the wrong messages.

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That you are less important than them 2. That they can do what they want 3. You wanted to discomfort and frustration to go away and you caved in to feel momentarily better. When you break it down, we are giving in to our children because of our own feelings or worries about being seen as unreasonable.

I sometimes think that we are instead being encouraged to raise Princes and Princesses and should hand out Crowns and Tiaras because our needs have become secondary. Instead we harm ourselves by becoming doormats. Remember when you were little. There were probably people in your life who you just KNEW meant what they said. Clare, this is a great explanation! It is neglectful of their needs.

THIS is why might seem angry all the time. There was a very popular post passed around about who was innately angry…and the parent was lauded for being so open and honest.

They can be innately intense and strong personalities. I am in tears reading this today.

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Just yesterday at the store she repeatedly ran away and hid from us. He would not let me take her to the car or do anything to stop the behavior. I was beyond angry with both of them. Then, when I got on her, not yelling or raising my voice, for nonstop arguing with everything either one of us said, he snapped at me. I was livid. I am so determined not to spank her, but she thinks it is ok to look right at me and do something I just told her not to do. So sorry to hear about your struggles. Good luck to you. An incredibly hard situation, Sarah, because you have two people in your life with out-of-control emotions… your husband and your toddler.

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As hard as it might be, I recommend allowing these emotional plates to drop. Your husband WILL snap. You daughter WILL be defiant and emotional as toddlers often are, especially when there are intense emotions around them. Let this be. Let the plates drop. The feelings will come in great waves, but be ultimately healing.

Such a common misunderstanding.

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Thank you so much for your thoughtful post. I love the last quote from Magda Gerber that you used. What great advice!

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And thank you for the link as well. I am honored as always! I wish that there was a greater understanding on the part of adults about the dangers of both, too high AND too low control, and the dangers of too high AND too low warmth. Thanks so much for sharing this, Sheryl!

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My only concern is that this sounds complicated…and it really is not, but this balance of firm and kind is tricky for some parents to get a handle on. We can understand this intellectually and still not be able to believe in it enough to do it.

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I think the key is to SEE the result, as many parents have reported to me that they do…. We see something in the child suddenly relax. Very important topic, nicely done The three Gerber quotes are perfect. And thanks for the link to my article about entitlement and the fear of saying No.

If it is true, what we hear that parents have a harder time saying No, maybe it is because there used to be a consensus about what appropriate behavior is—now each person is required to make a decisions moment by moment and find that point of integrity within them. Rick, thanks! But perhaps the pendulum has swung a bit too far in the opposite direction? Thanks, Janice. My teaching mistakes are almost always the kind you describe here.

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