Your child comes to you, right before dinner and excitedly asks, “Can I have one cookie please? “. You respond, “No sweetie, not before dinner” and she asks, starting to become defiant “Why not? Just one!?” and you stay strong and respond with “Because it will spoil your dinner”. She questions again “Why!?” and you finally reach impatience: “Because I said so!”. This is probably followed by crying and a not so pleasant, half-eaten dinner.
In setting the limit, keep in mind that the importance of the limit is to teach self-control and appropriate social behavior. My three rules for success are:
1. Setting a limit
2. Giving a reason (without over-explaining)
3. Following through!