Setting Limits When Parenting 

setting limits

Every parent has pondered the topic of setting limits at one point or another. Teachers have asked the same, having the extra challenge of governing several children within a classroom. There is a delicate balance between freedom and restriction. This balance improves the quality of life when we approach it in the right way. Adults can respect this, but children may find this difficult. Observation has shown there are better ways to strike a perfect balance between limiting and allowing privileges for kids. In this article, we discuss the different types of parenting styles and look at how kids might react in light of them.


Different Parenting Styles


The different types of parenting may be summarized into 4 unique styles: Authoritative, Authoritarian, Disengaged, and Permissive. If you’re a parent or a teacher, your way of engaging with kids will fall under one of these styles. They’re worth some clarity, so here’s a brief overview of each style:



  • Authoritarian The words that best describe this style of parenting are “my way or the highway.” Authoritarians believe that children should be seen and not heard. These are “helicopter moms” who put order and law before everything else. Kids must simply follow the rules their authorities give them. Nothing more. Those who break the rules will face consequences. This style of teaching tends to be cold and strict.
  • Authoritative This style of parenting is all about setting rules and expectations together with children. It follows a simple motto of, “if x, then y.” A responsible understanding of cause and effect is glorified with this style of leading. These parents are non-judgemental communicators, explaining the importance of routine and structure. Parents support their kids and expect them to flourish independently, fully aware of their actions and their consequences.
  • Permissive Parents of this style set few rules, and are not tough enforcers of the ones they do set. They can lean toward bribery or trickery when trying to persuade their young ones. These parents prefer to be seen as friends instead of authorities and will avoid confrontations with their kids at all costs. They may let the wrong thing “slide by” in order to avoid drama. As long as they keep their children pleased, they feel satisfied as a parent
  • Disengaged This style of parenting pays little concern to the actions or behavior of their children. They set almost no rules, and pay very little attention to their children. These parents would rather the child grow up on their own and by their own accord. The needs of the child are neglected or often ignored



If you’re a parent or teacher, you’ve probably recognized which of these styles sound most like you. These 4 styles of parenting are what behavioral psychologists have named to be the most dominant among parents. As you may have noticed, the limitations and governances decrease with each style on the list.  Authoritarians are much more likely to hover watchfully above their children than permissive parents. Those who are disengaged pay far less attention to the actions of their children than those who are more authoritative. Each style has its own amount of limitation — so how does setting limits affect children?



How Setting Limits Affects Children


Setting healthy & necessary limitations teach self-discipline. It’s the way children learn to be responsible for their actions. They also learn how their actions affect others. This kind of discipline is necessary when functioning within a society. When children grow up with parents who set reasonable limits, they feel more cared for. Once parents can take care of the child’s emotional needs,  they become leaders of their own lives. They learn to see the importance of the overall balance of things.


An utter lack of limitation, or, too much limitation can have the complete opposite effect on kids.  Those who were unschooled to a great degree may be harsh and uncaring with others. They may not take responsibility for their actions, even when they hurt themselves or others. Sometimes they respond to stress with aggression or indifference. Those who are guided by a more authoritarian approach may not appreciate their own decision-making power. They often become afraid to express their ideas and depreciate their self-worth.  They have a tendency to feel depressed or withdrawn from the world.




In the end, it is probably more beneficial for yourself and your child to set limitations responsibly, and leave enough room for error. Be willing to compromise and give them what they want sometimes. Offer better alternatives every time you have to say “no.” Remember that their journey can be tough, so introduce regulations a little at a time. The process of self-discovery is an integral part of the growth of a child, which does well with parental aid.