Huge news at the N. Y. Times parenting blog. Turns out kids like having boundaries set. They feel in control when they know their parents are in control.
Whoa. Life-changing if you're a pseudo-hipster yuppie parent in New York city.
Bibi Boynton, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in play therapy for children and parent coaching and has a private practice in Park Slope, calls the hesitation to set limits with children a “well-meaning mistake,” but stresses the importance of issuing directives and sticking to them — and emphasizes that parents can do so in a loving way. “By setting limits with your children using clear and nurturing language, you are in actuality providing children with the safety and consistency that they need to have all the freedom you want them to have,” Ms. Boynton explained. “That doesn’t mean you have to bark orders, and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t sigh and commiserate when your child balks at tooth-brushing.”Good luck to you, mamas and papas.
It's pretty simple. 3-year-olds don't really know what they want, much less what they need. Help them live life, experience experiences, and maybe when they hit the mature and ripe old age of five, they truly know whether they want to go hang out with so-and-so for an hour (what sparked the Times post was an epiphany after a failed play-date that she made the mistake of asking her kid if he wanted to go to).
This is simply confirmation that parenting requires wisdom, not methods. It can be difficult to know what wisdom looks like, although it is a most worthy pursuit, regardless. What is usually not difficult is knowing what foolishness looks like.
"I understand you're feeling upset," I heard a mother tell her toddler at a playground in Prospect Park. "Just hit me as hard as you want until you feel better."