top of page


  • Writer's pictureCate Robinson

Love and Limits

Why do we give children boundaries and limits from such a young age?

We do this because boundaries and limits create security.

Young children have no idea about their newly forming brains, or their physical and emotional needs, nor do they have any way of understanding that what they learn now is forming a character that will influence their future.

Good parenting might be described as providing security through being present, responsive, loving, and providing guidance, teaching, and the setting of boundaries. This is no easy task, indeed it takes determination, patience, energy, and consistency between parents and carers to stand firm in the face of tantrums and say no. With limits and boundaries young children start to learn what is and is not possible. They learn that everything that they think they want they will not always get, and they learn that tantrums, crying, and screaming will not necessarily change this response. However, when they are a little older and they fall off their bike in the park, or when the school bully is nasty to them, or when the teacher tells them off for talking, who do they turn to? They turn to the person who is consistent and who does not let them run away with their own demands, meanwhile loving them regardless of what they do. These are the invisible boundaries around a child that create the safety they need when they start to experience the world independently. They are the lessons of self regulation, patience, self discipline, disappointment and determination to try again or try something different. They are also the lessons in relationships, compromise and trust, forming their understanding of how they negotiate and connect with those around them.

Unfortunately when children and young people have not had these early experiences of good parenting it is much more difficult to provide them with boundaries later in life. They quite rightly question - 'what makes you think you can tell me what to do now?' Hence the major challenges that all types of workers face when they are caring for a child or young person who is no longer able to live with their birth family.

Two of the greatest gifts we can give children and young people regardless of their age or stage of development are love and limits. Love to feel accepted, secure and understood, and limits to feel safe, contained and cared for. When love and limits are given consistently over time we can reframe a young person's view of the world. That job is difficult with toddlers...and it is much more difficult with teenagers, however it is possible.

Are you in a daily battle with a teenager trying to set down limits with love but feel that you are not making much progress?

If so coaching might be an alternative way for you to reflect on what you are doing and find new strategies that lead to success. Taking time to talk to someone about what you are doing and how you are doing it can often allow us to see things from a different perspective. Cate at Wings for Success Coaching and Consultancy will work with you to assess your current needs, strengths, wellbeing and goals. This is a holistic assessment that helps you develop an all round plan of action for change. The coaching is designed to support you to draw out and use your strengths, meanwhile improving wellbeing for yourself and the children and young people in your care. Change becomes more possible when all parties are involved and it may be that the young person themselves could benefit from mentoring as they too need to feel listened to and understood. If this looks like it could be a step in the right direction for you email Cate today at to arrange an initial consultation.

bottom of page