Photo (C) Alicia Solario 2009

Setting Limits about Food

Photo (C) Alicia Solario 2009

This morning my daughter had a tantrum because I didn’t give her as much maple syrup as she wanted. She declared she wasn’t eating breakfast and threw herself into some angry crying.

I quieted my mind that wanted to argue with her and say, “You asked for pancakes all morning and you have plenty of syrup!” I now know that all logic washes away when the mind is flooded with emotion. Reason wasn't going to work with her, so I sat on the floor with her and listened as she cried. I reminded myself this wasn’t really about not having enough maple syrup and calmly told her it was okay if she didn’t want to eat right now. Breakfast could wait for her to be ready.

I stayed with her as she cried more, telling me it wasn't enough and she needed more. I held the limit that it was enough and she could ask for more if she ran out. She struggled in my arms a little as I held her until she ended up lying on her back with her feet at my stomach. I continued to listen to her until she settled down.

I leaned forward to kiss her head, but she pushed her feet into my belly, keeping me away. I playfully tried again and again. This got her laughing. Finally, she didn’t push me away and she let me kiss her forehead.

She then crawled into my lap, snuggled and said, “I’m ready for my pancakes now.” Her tantrum only took a few minutes of listening and we ended up enjoying a nice breakfast together. I was also amazed that she ended up having leftover syrup in her container which she offered to me instead of guzzling down like usual.

Get your free ebook on Setting Limits with Children written by Hand in Hand Founder, Patty Wipfler.

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