Kids often test their boundaries and push their limits. When this happens, there’s a few things that are good to remember. Inside you’ll see why it’s important to expect it and how to respond wisely.
It’s normal for kids to test your boundaries and push the limits. In fact, they will push it again and again in different ways. The. key is is how you respond.
If you are interested in Raising Children of Strong Character while maintaining your own sanity, this is for you.
We are all familiar with… “the look.”
I’m talking about the look your child gives with their head slightly cocked, their eyebrows raised, and a slight-sort-of-but-not-really smile that says “I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but can I anyway?“
Or… maybe it’s the look you have on your face when your child does the exact same naughty thing for the 2,356 time that day.
The look that says, “I would pull my own hair out if it didn’t hurt so bad...”
Children will push the boundaries day in and day out. This is normal and to be expected. One important rule of thumb according to Janet Lansbury, not to be confused with Angela Lansbury, is to not take envelope-pushing information personally.
That’s right… don’t take it personal. They are just being kids.
They aren’t trying to drive you crazy, they are just learning how life works.
Why do kids test boundaries?
This doesn’t cover every situation with every child, but these are some basic reasons children will push and pull boundaries day in and day out.
Children want to see if you’re consistent.
Consistency and predictability matter to children.
Children thrive with stability and consistency. One of the most beneficial things you can give your children is the predictability of your reactions.
Adults may find it boring, but children do not. There is safety, stability, and security in knowing what to expect.
Remember this: kids will push the envelope to be sure One More Time what exactly the rules are.
Kids (toddlers through elementary school) will learn everything from life management, social, survival, and hygiene skills PLUS MORE!
They need to practice what they can and cannot do. They are learning from experience and need the grounded mindset of their mother to set the rules, and stick to them.
Want to see a child who doesn’t behave well in public? Want to see a child who acts spoiled rotten when they don’t get their way? Look- for the mother who bends her rules and doesn’t hold to her word.
Kids aren’t born knowing what you expect of them. They have to be trained… through practice.
Kids want to know you’re paying attention to them.
This is a big one…
Life happens and We Can’t Be Present Parents 24/7. There are things to be done. And yet, if we aren’t regularly connecting with our children, As a Family and Individually, they will start to feel the lack.
- Try setting aside each day for some one-on-one time with each kid. It doesn’t have to be long or extravegant.
- When kid’s feel forgotten or pushed aside, they may test boundaries just to get attention.
When my third oldest son was 2, he was in the middle. It seemed as though he was always pushing the envelope at that age…
Come to find out, he was feeling a bit forgotten in all the daily life hustle and bustle. When I re-vamped our schedule for some special one-on-one, he was a different child.
Toddlers, especially, want to see how you’ll react to them.
First of all, kids will be kids.
Secondly, they want to know how you’ll react to them “being kids”. They need too see what you’ll do, find out if you really will dole out a punishment, or if you didn’t even notice.
Consistency also plays a role in tampering down unwanted behaviors. You’ll simply be able to iron out some things by reaching in a calm and consistent manner.
Children are intensely curious, and they are very interested about how you, their mother, factors into everything.
Sometimes, when something frustrating or out of the ordinary happens, all of my children will look to me immediately wild-eyed as if to say… “What will mommy do now?“
Start brainstorming rules to make your family life more peaceful, connected, and strong!
Children want to understand the family rules and boundaries.
This starts young. You say to stand on the blanket so they go to the edge. Then they put one toe over, then one foot over, then everything but one toe off the blanket.
Is that okay?
Did I go too far? You might be thinking, “These kids are testing me!” And you are 100% right. Not because they are trying to make you nuts, but because they want to know exactly where they stand.
They are… well… kids
Kids will do all manner of things that seem inconvenient. Like wear, diapers, cry, throw tantrums, grow out of shoes too quickly, and need frequent trips to the dentist.
They are going to push the boundaries because it’s part of development. It’s how they were made.
Kids know when they are doing something that isn’t allowed. But sometimes they just want you to acknowledge their feelings. To agree that it’s hard or it sucks or there might be something more fun.
They are kids.
They will push the boundaries.
Our job is just to hold them.