Limit-setting is the process parents use to teach their children the rules of the family and the world – what is expected of them, how far they can go, and what happens if they go too far. In the short term, limits stop unwanted behaviors, ease daily transitions, and provide safe boundaries. In the long term, limits help children become responsible people willing to accept the consequences of their actions. Reasonable limits provide a secure structure within which children can make choices and act with freedom. Unreasonable limits over-regulate the child or are so broad as to be meaningless. [Read more…]
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This blog is written by the clinicians at Jonah Green and Associates, a mental health practice based in Kensington, MD that provides quality services for children, teens, families, and adults. It is intended as a resource for families who are seeking to expand their knowledge about mental health and mental health services, and also as a resource for families who are seeking quality mental health services, especially in the mid-Atlantic region. Please feel free to post questions and comments on any of the entries as well as on any topics or articles from our companion web site www.childandfamilymentalhealth.com.
My last post introduced positive time-out. Positive time-outs are intended to interrupt problem behaviors and to help children calm down and gain self-control. When children are young the time-out both teaches them how to do this and gives them an opportunity to exercise those new skills. As the child gets older, time-out is both a reminder to the child to regain control over himself and a push to do so.
Here are some tips for using positive time-outs with the different age groups of childhood.
Wardens, coaches and parents all use time-outs. In prisons, inmates are placed in solitary confinement to reprimand and punish. Athletic teams use time-out to recover, regroup or strategize. For parents, the athletic style time-out can be a useful strategy for stopping problem behaviors in the moment and fostering self-control in the long term. Using the penal style time-out with children is sometimes effective in the instant, but over the long term it tends to backfire. If we tell someone, adult or child, to sit in the corner for five minutes and think about what he did wrong, he is far more likely to be nurturing his anger and resentment than reflecting on his mistakes and considering how to atone. [Read more…]