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Setting Limits, Part II

Part II

Welcome to the second part of a series in setting healthy and effective boundaries! These steps work well for any relationship however, we will be concentrating on the toddler years. To read Part I or review it, click here.

When your toddler throws a fit, bites, hits, kicks or yells “I don’t like you!”, it is hard not take it personally. You may be tempted to want to MAKE it stop as soon as possible! It is difficult to not have a “knee jerk” reaction. Your brain is wired to react quickly when under duress. It is not that you are a bad parent. You are experiencing a bad moment.

Reacting with the following reaction statements will only leave you and your child feeling upset:

  • 😡 “You are making me mad" is a type of blame statement.

  • 😤“You are acting like a spoiled brat" is a shaming statement.

  • 😠“Go to your room if you can’t behave" is a type of punishment.

  • 🤷‍♀️“I’m going to leave you" is using fear or threats to achieve what you want.

In order not to be reactive, it is helpful to reframe why your child is acting the way they are. Understanding their behavior helps us not to take things personally and view your child differently. Instead of viewing them as brats or disrespectful you can be more curious, compassionate and not feel so overwhelmed by their big emotions.

Why do kids test limits?

It can be an attempt to tell you that they can’t function. They may be tired, hungry or frustrated. It is unlikely that your child has the ability to verbalize these things directly yet. Ask yourself what they need at the moment.

They may be testing your leadership. They are looking for where the power lies. Toddlers are wanting to know the answer to “What will you do if I do such-and-such?” Try to be consistent and demonstrate that you are unthreatened and not shocked by their behavior. The most effect leaders lead with confidence, humor and calm. Don’t worry if you don’t get this right. Your kids will give you ample opportunity to practice!

Children tend to test you more in public. This is because they are trying to determine if your consistency extends beyond the home. They want to know how far they can take it in an external environment. Make sure your response is the same whether you're at home or out and about. This can be difficult when you feel you have eyes staring at you and you are embarrassed.

Or they may have feelings and stress they need to release. During these times, hold your limit while demonstrating an “all feelings are allowed” attitude.

The messages of love that matter most are heard through our respectful leadership when we are patient, accepting, empathetic and when we take the time to really know our child.

Pushing your limits can be the quickest and easiest way to get your attention. Negative attention is better than none. Make sure you are giving your child enough attention when they aren’t testing. Reassure your child with lots of hugs, kisses and “I love you” statements. The messages of love that matter most are heard through our respectful leadership when we are patient, accepting,

empathetic and when we take the time to really know our child.

In order to embody setting healthy and effective limits, you will need to practice…not just read or hear about the concept. In this 4 part series, we will give an assignment that is short and easy to practice support you in your process.

Your second assignment is to reflect at the end of your day on one situation where your child was pushing your limits. Ask yourself, “What might have been really going on with them? What would I do differently if this happens again tomorrow?”

For a deeper dive into setting limits, check out our course here.

Think of anyone in your life who may need to hear this message? Forward this link or follow us on Facebook to share from there!


Now Available!! The new edition of the "Redirecting Children's Behavior" book is now available! You can order the book at Amazon by clicking on the book picture below. There is a ton of new material to help you discipline in a way that connects you and your child during an altercation rather than you and your child walking away feeling empty, frustrated or angry.


Redirecting Children's Behavior Instructor Training If you love helping parents with their parenting skills and you want an extra stream of income, you may not want to miss out on this training. Getting certified in this researched-based course may be one of the most fulfilling things you do. Click here for details.

Next course will start on August 9th for 8 consecutive Tuesday mornings from 11:00 a.m.-12:30- p.m EST, for eight consecutive weeks.


If this message today spoke to you today, share with me or your friends how it affected you and follow us on our social media!

Kathryn Kvols

Author, Lecturer, Parenting Coach

(352) 494-1581

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