Is Your Child a Limit Tester?

I have a young “lawyer-type” child at home.  If there’s a verbal loophole, my son will find it – and use it.  As much as I admire his creativity and tenacity, some days this can be exhausting. I would like to think that some things go without saying; such as, when I say “please feed the puppies” I just assume they’ll get fresh water, too.  My bad.  When I ask later, why the puppies have no water, I’ll get something back like, “you didn’t say to give them fresh water, you only said to feed them”.  (Really?!)

The challenge for me is to, first, avoid a conflict.  My son and I both have a very strong sense of justice and fairness.  However, a child’s initial perception of what is fair tends to be more like “what is fair to me?”  I think the greatest challenge for many parents, myself included is to avoid getting upset and launching into a lecture.  After an in-depth discussion, my son and I can usually arrive at a understanding of what is fair for everyone involved.

How to avoid no-win power struggles

Do you have a child who follows the letter of the law, but violates its spirit entirely? How do you respond when your little one defends her defiance with thinly-veiled justifications and argues with the cleverness of a courtroom attorney? Does her insistence on testing limits push you to the point of exploding and saying things that damage your relationship?

The “Reality Rub” is an intervention used by parents and professionals trained in the skills of Life Space Crisis Intervention, a six-step process that helps turn crisis situations into learning opportunities for kids with chronic patterns of self-defeating behavior. The Reality Rub is recommended for use with kids like Tina who manipulate reality to test limits.

The goal of the Reality Rub is to help kids re-organize their thinking and clarify reality by discussing their blurred, distorted, or self-serving perceptions of an incident (Long, Wood & Fecser, 2001). Kids who chronically test the limits of their parents’ rules and are experts at exploiting language loopholes are most apt to benefit from this approach that teaches parents to:

This article gives some great advice on how to handle your limit-tester. It brings up some great points.

Read the entire article by clicking here

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