Consequences of the lack of limits for children: why do they do what they want?

The Children need their parents to set limits to be able to coexist socially and have social relationships, but at the same time we must make our children feel that we trust that they will be able to carry out the norm so that the limits are really effective.

Setting standards and limits for children is not part of an authoritarian style of education, children need those limits to know how to act and to obtain recognition for having strived to achieve the objectives set. Permissiveness as an educational style that does not apply norms nor limits can be understood as a lack of responsibility on the part of parents because it has negative consequences on children.


Why does he do what he wants?

When children begin to have more autonomy and, at the same time, more criteria to know what they like or do not like, and what they want to achieve is when they most need parents to set limits. It is natural for children to pretend to get what they want at the moment and it is just at this moment when parents must teach them that one of the main limits lies in that what they ask is not perhaps what suits them, and that you need to have patience to achieve your goal.

Thus, the limit is in the way in which they try to achieve it. Generally, they respond with inappropriate behaviors (tantrums, shouting, verbal demands ...) that have to be stopped, that is, not allowing and, in turn, teaching them to act correctly in these situations.


It is also important to make them aware of the other, and that they must take into account their neighbor. That is, to convey to them that there are certain rules of social coexistence and respect. The way that can be easiest to transmit these rules is through play and interaction with their peers and with the family. They are old enough to acquire certain responsibilities and tasks at home that make them understand the system of standards in which they are growing, and the importance of carrying them out, as well as the effort involved in achieving them.

Rewarding your effort and recognizing achievement is fundamental

When you are teaching a standard it is very important to always value the effort you have made to achieve it. Once you have achieved it you must also recognize the achievement. This recognition, always social, will help them appreciate the importance for us that they carry out and how beneficial it is for them. But once it has been taught and the child has achieved it, it is no longer necessary to constantly reward its achievement, since it is necessary to teach them that their task is to apply that norm. The reward is implicit in the application of the norm.


To apply the rules successfully, it is necessary:
- Explain them in a clear, concrete and calm way.
- Demand obedience in few things: it is not advisable to apply many rules at the same time. They will not be able to learn them all at the same time and parents will be constantly demanding and asking for something they can not do.
- Try to motivate them so that they obey and apply the norm to the first one: for this it is necessary to explain to them the needs to obey and the advantages that supposes for them to carry out that norm.
- Recognize your effort so they tend to repeat it.
- Teach them to comply or not with the rules They have different consequences.

Consequences of the lack of limits in the education of children

- Insecurity: A child without limits does not know what he can or can not do, and he needs to know to cope in life.

- Low self-esteem: their own insecurity will make them have a low concept of themselves.

- Lack of self-control: the limits also mark the limits of oneself and teach the responsibility of our behaviors. They must learn to refuse from kids.

- Check out: The fact that an adult limits him and makes an effort to explain it to him is because he cares for him and wants to protect him. If they do not exist, they feel unprotected.

- Difficulties in their social relationships: if they do not know the limits, it is very likely that they will overcome the barrier of respect towards the other and they will not achieve good relations.

Tips to teach limits and standards effectively

- We have to back our words with our acts. If we say "order your room after playing" and after we are the parents who ordered the room, the children receive an unclear message about what our rules are.

- When we let go of bad behavior, We are really saying that they are acceptable. Not acting is putting limits by omission, since our passivity transmits a message about the rules.

- Patience is something that you must exercise continuously with your children always, but more at these ages. You need a lot of patience to get children to assimilate the rules, patience that must be accompanied by affection.

Do you always reward your son every time he has obeyed?

We propose to praise him, applaud him and in some cases, offer him a candy or a bauble, every time he has obeyed, even if it has cost him. In this way, we will reinforce the behavior and strengthen your will. If we only dedicate ourselves to pointing out what is wrong, there is a danger of fostering in the child insecurity in his actions.

Marisol Nuevo Espín
Advice: Carmen Martínez. Director of Educational Centers Kimba

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