A few weekends ago, during a busy Saturday of shuttling my three kids from once place to another, my 13-year-old son asked if he could make himself some hot dogs. That was once less person I had to worry about feeding that afternoon, so I told him yes. I went to pick up my 7-year-old, who was hungry and asking what he could eat. I told him what his brother had, and he was good with the same. When we got home, I began to look for the dogs in the fridge. They, however, were nowhere to be found. I asked my son what had happened to them. “I ate them!”, he replied. I could not believe it; he had eaten all six hotdogs. I asked him, “When have I ever made lunch, and served you six hot dogs?”, “Never!”, he sheepishly responded.
I think one of our main responsibilities as parents is teaching our kids about limits. This applies to food, sports, relationships, money and material things. When I think about it, I’m constantly setting minimum/maximum limits with all three of my kids.
I’ve found myself having to limit the amount of time my kids spend with certain friends. While I’m happy they have friends they enjoy being around, I also want them to explore relationships with more than just one or two people. Learning to handle all the different personalities of people, while they are young, will only benefit them as they become adults.
When setting limits with small children, start small, set consequences that make sense to them, stick to those limits you’ve set, and try to keep your cool when those set limits are broken.