Do you struggle to set limits for your autistic child?

Does your child have this uncanny ability to press your buttons- and leave you feeling helpless?



Do you wish you could control him better so that there is peace in your house?



Do you feel emotionally enmeshed with your child’s distress and can’t untangle yourself?



Do you feel that your child is forever saying ‘no’ to you and your advances to engage her?



Do you get exhausted and find yourself giving in to your child’s demands, even though they’re unreasonable.



Do you find it difficult to say, ‘no’ to your child?



I struggled with some of these myself. I wish there was somebody to clarify it for me at that point of time.


Don’t worry. You’re not alone. I’m here to let you know that you can overcome this. You can learn to set limits through practice. I did.





When I talk about setting limits, I’m not talking about corporal punishment or forcing compliance.

It’s not about tying young people to chairs to stop them doing something (I know this happens, hence I cite this example)


I want to share about Respectful Limit Setting.


Do you have these questions running through your head?



1. What exactly is limit setting?



Limit setting is letting your child what he can and can’t do. It’s more about what he can’t do. It’s about your child being able to accept a ‘no.’

It’s about you being able to say, ‘no’ and following through on your decision.



2.Why do I need to set limits?


Here’s an image I shared at a webinar.


image 1


Limit setting has tremendous benefits for your child as illustrated above.


3. How does limit setting benefit me?



Limit setting will not only benefit you, but it will benefit the rest of your family.





The benefits to you are too huge to ignore right?


4. How to set limits effectively? Sometimes my child listens and

sometimes she doesn’t?


Yes, that’s an incredible questions.


You have to be clear with your child. You’ve got to be consistent and you have to follow through.


Here’s how you can do it.








And you’ve got to be consistent too.

See the slide below to see if you’re consistent in setting limits.









Another key point for setting limits is the follow through.

Do you consistently follow through?





5. Why do I feel so bad emotionally when my child misbehaves?


That’s a great question! As parents we’re emotionally enmeshed with our children.

It’s important to separate our emotions from the action we need to take.

Remember, this will help your child in the long run.

It will help him to regulate and become an emotionally stable person in the future.


Work on yourself first.

Be prepared that your child will test you. And more importantly, be prepared to follow through.


6. Do you use consequences while setting limits?


Yes, consequences need to be used judiciously.


Check out the consequences used most frequently.




To clarify- consequences need to be respectful to the child and parent.

Even if we have to leave a child alone in a room in case of severe aggressive behavior, it needs to be under total supervision. Somebody needs to watch and monitor.



If you feel the need to set limits and if you need to be guided through it, please reach out to us at

We’re starting up a short, one month course for a limited number of parents.

We will practice techniques hands on. It will be a group class so that parents can learn from each other too.


Remember: You’re not alone. We’re here to support you.









Kamini Lakhani

Kamini Lakhani is the founder and director of SAI Connections. She has been providing services in the field of autism for more than 25 years and is the authorized director of Professional Training for RDI in India and the Middle East. She is also the mother of a young adult with autism.


  • Krishna Mahathi says:

    Ma’am is limit setting to be different when it comes to handling special interests or stimming?.For instance setting limits on screen time when the child loves his iPad or kid who spends time building models and then refuses to come for homework.. ..I know these help them regulate and maybe they need it more than typical kids .How do we draw a line there

  • We need to strike a respectful balance, Krishna.
    Give them time to engage in activities that regulate them.

    They also need to be able to hear a ‘No.’
    The purpose of setting limits is also to regulate the child and make it easier for the child and family.

    Hope this answers your question.

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