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Janet Lansbury: IT’S KIDS’ JOB TO TEST US…to know their boundaries
presents episode 281: Janet Lansbury

Janet Lansbury, in her book

-typical discipline techniques
do not work
-Kids’ job is to push limits
-as they struggle to
become more autonomous
-successful guidance provides:
~safety & comfort they need
to flourish
-when boundaries work…
~don’t need to be tested
as often
~kids trust their parents &
therefore, their world
-when setting limits, the
emotional state of the
parent almost always
dictates the child’s reaction
-if we lack confidence
-or clarity
-are unsure or tentative
-or tense
~this will unsettle our kids
and lead to more
undesirable behavior
-at the core of my parenting:
~babies and children
are whole people
-natural learners & explorers
-able to understand
language & abstract ideas
-clinical research has now
confirmed this core


Toddlers are good at ruffling
our feathers, but

mean no disrespect

testing our limits is a positive
behavior on their part

They are seeking answers:

-am I safe?
-do I have confident leaders?
-is it ok to want what I want?
…to feel what I feel?

Testing is asking a question…

-something being repetitively
-they still have not gotten
the answer they need

-infant going to dog food
-first time is exploration

-then they notice parent:
~acted nervously, or
~scolded them

“this has so much power

Now I have to test this again…
-is this a big deal, or
-am I rocking their world?

Ideally, our answer is clear:
“oops, that is dog food,
I can’t let you do that”

Perhaps we remove it…
-or, we sit there and
-calmly, not giving this power

“yes, that is interesting!
but, this is not safe”

Children just need an answer,
-not trying to wind us up
-just haven’t gotten clarity
that they need

-maybe because we reacted
emotionally, when
-children are just doing
their job: learn & explore

Very interesting for them to…
-what do my leaders do?
-what gets them upset?
-what has power?

Going to our cell phone…
-not being mean to us,
“you have not been clear
to me on this”

“I really need you to have a
calm reaction…

“I’m just doing my job”

No Bad Kids book
Unruffled podcast