Have you ever noticed how people talk about limits in an all or nothing fashion? "No limits" is a slogan designed to empower, but like most things, life is not as simple as that. Sometimes limits can be a good thing. If we didn't curb our tendencies, we might never get things done! I look at this photo of my beautiful daughter from a few years back, and think what a difference three years can make! From down time to sleep, exercise, to what we eat, limits allow us to find the balance between doing too much and not enough.
The photo above was from a summer road trip to Flagstaff, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Sedona and home. Screens did not play a role in that trip but today is a different story. My now sixth-grader is completely enamored of her wi-fi enabled iPod, social media and who likes and follows who. Almost all of her friends have phones, but my husband and I have tried to walk the line between doing what everyone else is doing, and finding our own path. In other words, we have limited outside influence but tried not to penalize the little person we are raising. It's a grey area and a parental sticking point, to be sure.
How can we teach our child about limits? Good limits. The kind that keep us moving forward, taking pause and letting go of the external BS that is pervasive in modern life? We have to model the desired behavior. Honestly, it is easy to get caught up in the interwebs and lose track of time. My go-to strategy is to use association. I have a time I walk the dog, so coffee, email and web surfing have an end point in the morning. I throw a load of laundry in and write my blog, update my college course page and stay focused by allowing the sounds of the wash ending to keep me on track. We eat dinner together as a family and do not allow technology at the table. Finally, I silence my phone, put my computer to sleep and end my day with a little family snuggle. Yes, maybe some TV, but no devices.
Limits are hard! Teaching them, modeling them and living them. It requires self-discipline, focus and motivation, but these skills translate to every aspect of our lives. From getting enough exercise, not eating too much, making time for social interaction (in person) and getting enough sleep, to name just some. Limits can be the way to manage our day-to-day lives. Self-limiting beliefs are a whole different story. Any time we tell ourselves we can't do something, it is imperative to ask ourselves why? But in our daily lives, saying "no" to some things is an absolute must, or we drive ourselves crazy! So, what about you? Are there some limits you should have and some you should let go of? It's tough to be a parent, especially in the digital age. Check out the web site of the week for more info.