Setting Limits for Safety

My son,  Julio age 4, is frequently the youngest kid in the group of our family friends and with his cousins.  He’s very coordinated for his age and high energy.  He loves to run free and try new feats – causing me to constantly assess his safe boundaries and help him stay within
them.

On a recent sunny day the big kids were playing on the dead end road in front of the house on skate boards, bikes and scooters.  Julio and I walked down to the adjacent empty parking lot with his scooter. We talked about holding hands crossing the road and I pointed out the safe places for him to ride on his own.  That was good for awhile.

He scootered down the sidewalk and around the two levels of the parking lot.  But the big kids had a better decline going down the road and he couldn’t resist moving his scooter over to the edge of the road.  I moved in and put my hand on the handlebar of his scooter and reminded him that he needed to stick to the sidewalk and parking lot.  He started to get angry and cry.  I crouched down next to him and put my arm around him while still keeping my hand restraining his scooter. After a few minutes of raging he suggested the sidewalk on the other side of the road. I agreed and he scootered down that side.  But it was a very short stretch and soon enough he was back to trying to go on the road.

I moved in again to put my hand on his scooter to hold the limit.  He threw himself down on the sidewalk and raged and cried some more.  I decided that a good staylistening session was in need and wanted to move to a better spot for both of us.  I picked him up – leaving the scooter for my friend to pick up.  I found a hold allowing for us both to be safe from his swinging arms and legs and headed inside the house.  We settled on the couch and I held him while he wailed, stormed and cried the upset away. After about 15 minutes of tantruming he went on to have a very peaceful, cooperative evening and bedtime.

Karen Murphy, Certified Parenting by Connection Instructor in Oregon

Join Karen in her Building Emotional Understanding course on Monday afternoons, starting May 13.

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