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Behavior: help stabilize a child by setting limits

Date: August 13th, 2015
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: Every single person needs limits. It’s a human condition. And the most out-of-control people need the most limits.

If nobody ever puts the box around you, puts their foot down, or puts limits around you, then you will continue to push to see where those limits are. And that is what a lot of our students are doing, pushing to see where their limits are! Especially if they’re struggling in life! If these kids have had difficulty with their family, divorce or whatever, then they will raise the stakes even higher for limits, because they need them even more.

It’s like being in downtown Boston with no traffic lights or stop signs. If they weren’t there, then we would be berserk and would be screaming for someone to put them in. And that’s exactly what our students experience.

The more we don’t allow those limits, the more they will push, and the worse their behavior will get. This is why I always say to teachers and to parents, “Say what you mean, and mean what you say.”