Keys To Establishing Norms and Limits in a Democratic and Effective Way

In families there are different ways of establishing norms and limits, depending on the parenting style exercised by the parents. This parenting style constitutes an essential element in the development of the minor, since it influences their construction as a person and their way of locating themselves in the world.

Establishing norms through an appropriate and consistent parenting style
How are rules and limits established in each parenting style? And what consequences do they have for minors? In the authoritarian style, parents adopt a role of excessive control over their children , giving them little autonomy. They tend to impose the rules in a unidirectional and inflexible way, without dwelling on the specific needs of minors. In case of non-compliance they frequently resort to punishment. They often feel unheard and important, with a perception of low internal control. They have little critical capacity and difficulty to negotiate or resolve conflicts assertively. On the contrary, they tend towards imposition and submission.

In both the permissive / overprotective style and the negligent style, parents set few limits and norms , and set them inconsistently. In fact, they are often set by the minors themselves. The main difference between the two styles is that while in the first there is a high level of expressed affection, in the second there is a lack of care, affection and protection for the child, delegating the upbringing to third parties.

What consequences can it have on your children? In both scenarios we are faced with insecure people, since they do not have a structure of limits that provides them with stability . Also, having been exposed to few “no’s”, they have a low tolerance for frustration. However, in the first case, children tend to be self-centered, hoping that the world will grant them the same prominence as their m / parents, while in the second they perceive themselves as un-valuable people.

Finally, in the democratic style, parents are a healthy figure of affection and authority. They set rules and limits in a respectful manner, and resort to negotiation when deemed appropriate. They carry communication as a banner, and enhance the autonomy of their children. Also Read: Anxiety Disorders in Children

What consequences can it have on your children? Minors are perceived as being listened to, participating and, consequently, important. They have healthy levels of self-esteem, adequately tolerate frustration, and are able to negotiate and express themselves assertively and respectfully with others, because they have been able to learn from optimal role models.

As can be guessed, the democratic style is the most recommended of the four , since it provides the child with a series of resources and tools that allow him to adequately deal with conflictive situations that occur in his day-to-day life.

How can we approach a democratic parenting model?
In families, it is convenient that there are (a) issues that the parents decide, (b) issues that are negotiated between parents and children, and (c) issues that the minors decide independently. All these issues have to be adjusted according to the age of the children, giving them control and granting them, consequently, greater autonomy, confidence and decision-making capacity.

1. Select the necessary “no’s”:
It is convenient to limit the use of “no” to central or essential aspects , and that we know that we can comply. We often end up giving in by being unable to comply with all our refusals and, in this way, we reduce the credibility of our “no’s.”

2. Offer options:
As far as possible, substitute the “no” for alternatives and negotiation, transferring control to the minor . Instead of “You can’t play” try “Of course you can play, as soon as you’ve finished cleaning up your room.”

3. Allows there to be topics on which the child decides freely:
Of course, they should be topics that do not compromise your safety and security , such as your physical appearance, the games you embark on, or your extracurricular activities.

4. Be clear, precise and respectful when setting rules and limits, explaining them to them:
We can substitute “Be good” for “Honey, please wait for me sitting down and talking softly, there are quiet people in the waiting room and we don’t want to disturb them”.

5. Be consistent:
Being flexible and respectful of their needs does not mean that we constantly redefine the rules, or that they always “get away with it . ” Children require a clear structure that allows them to anticipate what is allowed and what is not, what are the conditions that they must meet to have access to a certain pleasant activity or what are the consequences of breaking the rules. Consistency gives them security and control.

6. Strengthens:
It is essential that, when the minor respects a rule or limit, we value or appreciate his behavior.

7. To finish:
Finally, remember that educational styles speak of trends and are dynamic . That is, we can work every day to get closer to the style of motherhood that we want to exercise based on our personal and family values.

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