Setting ground rules

Psychologist Rebecca Eberlin, PhD, shares advice for parents on how to set effective ground rules for your children, and why setting limits and boundaries is important for child development
Setting Ground Rules For Children - Why Limits Are Important For Kids
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Setting ground rules

Having ground rules and consistent expectations for your children are really important for a number of reasons. First, what we see in children that know what is expected of them, we see that they feel more safe and secure; which makes them more competent and confident children. Ground rules are really important because it sets the framework for the boundaries that the child knows that they can act in. When we see a child that knows the limit, we see a child that comes right to the limit and usually stopping. If they cross the line, it is usually pretty little. That's because they know what the consequence is and what the expectation was. When we have families that don't have limits or expectations set that their children are aware of, we see children acting out. What they are asking for is to be contained. In small children, that's going to look like temper tantrums. You want to set the expectation for that toddler about what's appropriate and what you need from them. As children grow into that, sometimes scary, adolescent phase, you want them to really know what the expectation is. If they don't know it, they are going to push your buttons until they find it. We want to see children feeling successful, feeling secure, and feeling safe and not feeling like they have to push those buttons or push those limits to find out where it is. We encourage families to think about the rules before they need them, not after. Let their children know what those rules are and that they are going to be consistently enforced. What those boundaries are. At the end of the day, the kids that know, tend to stick with them.

Psychologist Rebecca Eberlin, PhD, shares advice for parents on how to set effective ground rules for your children, and why setting limits and boundaries is important for child development


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Rebecca Eberlin, PhD


I am a California state licensed psychologist, who specializes in providing evidence-based treatment and assessment to children, adults and families with a variety of emotional, behavioral and developmental challenges.

A proud Wolverine, I graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Political Science. I then returned to California and completed my Doctoral training at Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, an APA accredited pre-doctoral internship at Sharp HealthCare, and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Children’s Health Council.

I relocated to Los Angeles in the summer of 2011 to conduct prevention-focused research at UCLA’s Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the Global Center for Children and Families. During my time at UCLA, I became the lead psychologist and Director of Services and Operations at the UCLA Family Commons in Santa Monica.

Throughout the course of my career, my research and treatment interests have included working with children, adolescents and adults who struggle with behavioral and emotional challenges, such as depression, anxiety, impulse control disorders, developmental disabilities and other family-based issues. I also conduct parent education seminars that focus on a wide variety of issues including resiliency, stress, relationships, social media and friendship and bullying.

While my primary location is West Los Angeles, I also have offices in Northern California. If you are interested in obtaining coaching or cognitive testing services in the Bay Area, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please please visit my website to learn more about me, my practice and how therapy can work for you.

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