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See, setting boundaries can do the trick
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I have long maintained that the happiest kids are also well-behaved and vice versa. That assertion is supported by common sense as well as research into parenting outcomes, which shows that children raised by loving parents who are no-nonsense when it comes to discipline score the highest on measures of adjustment. A story submitted by a reader underscores the point:
A mom in Minnesota writes, “As a result of reading what you’ve written on the need for a boundary between mother and child, I have a new rule for my 29-month-old. After he is done with his lunch, he must stay out of the kitchen. This allows me to eat lunch in peace, since his ventures into the kitchen often end in fussing, misbehaving and so on. It is a simple (not always easy, but simple), consistent way to establish and enforce a much-needed boundary between us.
“Mind you, I’m not completely unresponsive to his needs and requests, but I’m not catering to his every whim, either. And here’s the thing: He seems much, much happier this way. When he’s bugging me in the kitchen, neither of us is happy. When he’s playing by himself (and I do mean playing, not watching TV or pushing buttons) in the next room, he is engaged and content.
“This practice extends to other situations as well, like when he doesn’t want to eat what I’ve provided for a meal. If he wants to eat, he may come into the kitchen, take his place at the table, and eat. Otherwise, he may not be in the kitchen at all (which prevents him from whining, making a mess with his food and so on).”
I share this story in the hope that “Minnesota mom” will serve as an inspiration to a generation of moms who’ve been intimidated by psychobabble into feeling they don’t have a right to establish boundaries between themselves and their kids. As this story shows, such boundaries are good for both mother and child.
And other misbehavior demon bites the dust!

Rosemond, a family psychologist, answers questions at his Web site:
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