Tricks That Will Change the Way You Discipline

How Creating Enforceable Limits for Kids Will Change Your Life as a Parent!

It was a long day. My husband was working late and it was too cold to go outside. So I was stuck inside with two toddlers for over 12 hours. It seemed like the day that would never end!

Finally, the kids were in bed and I could sit on the couch in peace. As I reflected on the day I soon felt guilty. I’d spent most of the day yelling at my kids and barking empty threats. Saying things like…

“I’m not going to tell you again…” 


“Why does this need to be so difficult?”

Have you ever said something like this to your child?

How do you discipline kids without losing your temper? You can get your kids to be good listeners without losing your mind. Here is a practical parenting tip to save your sanity and correct misbehavior.

Many days it’s so easy to go about my day and do whatever it takes to get my kids to comply. Sometimes I just don’t want to hear any more crying!

Things needed to change. And fast. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sustain this cycle and my kids weren’t benefiting from it either.

RELATED: The Secret Reason Your Toddler is Struggling to Follow Directions

I slowly realized my attempts at yelling for compliance and even gentle parenting tactics were only making me more frustrated.

I remembered something my sister told me about before I had kids. She is a middle school teacher and a GREAT one. Her students are remarkably good listeners. She told me about creating enforceable limits for kids.

This post contains affiliate links for parenting tools we love.

I didn't want to be the parent who yelled at my child to listen, but I didn't know what else to do. How do you get a child to listen without yelling? You MUST try this amazing parenting tool: setting enforceable limits with kids. Based on Love and Logic use this tool to discipline without screaming.

What is an Enforceable Limit?

First, what in the world is an enforceable limit? Enforceable limits can be applied to teaching as well as parenting. It’s a technique from Love & Logic.

A quick side note, this is not a sponsored post just something I truly believe in. As a former parent who easily lost her temper I am firm believer of the techniques from Love & Logic. They make sense and they work.

RELATED: Setting Boundaries With Kids

So back to enforceable limits. A big take home message: The more perceived control a person has, the more likely he or she is to cooperate and listen.

Instead of always telling your child what to do, try telling them what you will do instead. 

Examples of Enforceable Limits

I’ll give you a new toy as soon as you put your blocks away.
I’ll take you outside when you ask nicely and wait calmly.
I read stories before bedtime to children who are sitting quietly.

If they are crying and it’s starting to get to you, say the request calmly and walk away to recollect your thoughts. You don’t want to lose your cool as that won’t do anything to help with compliance.

*The biggest thing is to follow through! After you give an enforceable limit, wait until they are actually doing what you asked before you do your part of the equation.

In this article I give you examples of things you can actually enforce.

Instead of shouting “CLEAN UP YOUR TOYS RIGHT NOW” or “YOU’RE GETTING ON MY LAST NERVE, JUST STOP!” you can set an enforceable limit.

Parenting Tips! Tired of always yelling at your kids to behave? Try setting enforceable limits instead. This is a great parenting technique based on Love and Logic.

We can’t MAKE our kids do anything (if only!) and many times when we raise our voices it actually makes things worse. Instead of listening to what you are saying, they hear your anger or frustration.

They tend to concentrate on the anger instead of what your pleading heart is asking for. This in turn can aggravate the situation even more.

Again, I’m not saying all this to make you feel bad! We all need reminders to calm down and think before we talk.

Our words are so powerful. Why not use them to our advantage? Want more information on how to stop yelling at your kids, read this!

Want to become more effective in your discipline? Instead of yelling at your children to listen try this instead! Using enforceable limits will change the way you parent.

Why Enforceable Limits Work

So why should I care about this? When you create enforceable limits you provide a structure for your children to live in.

Your children can then choose to live their lives how they want or in the structure you provide.

You are giving them a choice when you say “I’ll serve you lunch when you are sitting quietly in your chair.” They can continue their tantrum and loudly demand food and get nothing or they can sit quietly and receive lunch. The choice is now theirs.

I know it seems simple, but it truly works. We don’t always need fancy sticker charts or elaborate techniques to get our kids to listen. Setting firm and understandable boundaries makes a huge difference.

Try using it with your whiny child. See what happens! You may be surprised how it can fix a whiny child quickly.

Also remember, this is just one parenting technique. Of course there is a time to say no and a time for consequences, but I think this is a great tool for setting up expectations and boundaries for our children. I know I do better when I have structure and I truly believe kids do as well.

So what about you? Have you tried using enforceable limits before? How do you deal with your whiny 2 year old? I’d love to connect with you in the comments below!

Have you used enforceable limits with your kids? What happened?

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  1. Thank you so much!!! this kind of opened my eyes and I’ve been feeling defeated and overwhelmed by my 3 young children im going to start this rightaway. I pray God gives me strength to change myself.

    1. I’m so glad you found this helpful! I’ll be praying for you. Parenting is hard, but you can do it!

  2. I tend to be over controling more like a drill sargennt. One example is my 23 mo old grandson starts to throw a tantrum I immidiately pick him up carry him into his bed and say babies go into the crib and walk away until he stops fit then I come back and ask are you ready to be a big boy now ? If he says yes I take him out of his bed and return him to what he was doing before the fit. Another example is my 3 year old granddaughter speaks in a whiney voice I tell her I cant understand her when she speaks like that and pretend not to understand her until she speaks nicely. I do not allow the any disobedience or inappropriate behavior this at times causes power struggles.

  3. I’d never heard the term before, but that’s the method we use with our child. She’s 20 months old and she can perfectly understand what I am saying, so her dramas don’t last any long. Thank you for the advice because I never consider it as a method by itself!

    1. That’s awesome to hear! It’s unrealistic to think crying or tantrums will never happen, but as you said you can extinguish it quickly with the right tools!

  4. Thanks alot for the great peace of advice, will try and see how it helps me, because many times I feel like am bursting out due to being angry at what my 2 under fives do. God bless you.

  5. How would this work for older children? (Age 4, 7 and 10 – I think my 13 year old is beyond this) I find myself very frustrated with sibling squabbles and delaying completion of schoolwork (we homeschool) and chores as well as the drama and repetitive questions of my ADHD child 😩

  6. I am a parent who gets angry and frustrated with my children and then yells at them. I am going to try some of the ways to say things differently rather than yelling at them. Thank you for the tips! It is greatly appreciated!

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