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The Three L’s of Parenting

Forget the three R’s, the three most important things in a child’s development are the three L’s – Love, Limits, and Liberty. Regardless of age, children’s needs can be understood in terms of the three L’s. What do they each mean?

Love – unconditional positive acceptance, children knowing that they are the most important people in the world to their parents, paying attention, being present, listening, feeding, clothing, housing – all of that is love.

Limits – providing boundaries, routine and structure, helping children feel safe in the knowledge that there are rules that will be enforced.

Liberty – enabling children to explore, develop, grow, and gradually become independent, providing children with sufficient freedom that they can try new things and safely make mistakes while discovering their capabilities and extending themselves.

So a two-year-old needs love (hugs, playing games, food), limits (to be told “No” and have it followed up with action), and liberty (opportunity to try new skills while playing) as much as a 15-year-old needs love (listening, advice, food), limits (rules, curfews), and liberty (responsibilities, socialising).

Parenting is a challenging and difficult job, but if the three L’s are always present you will be on the right track.

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