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Monday, July 1, 2013

Choices

If you missed me raving about Positive Discipline, then here it is again - so excited about this.

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When I moved into my house I knew that it was *fine*.  It wasn't perfect; it needed work; but it would get us by (design-wise).  What I totally underestimated was my desire to CHOOSE everything in my house.

The wallpaper in the kitchen was *fine*, but I didn't choose it, so...it had to go.  

The wall color in the guest bathroom was neutral and *fine*, but it wasn't a color that I would have chosen, so...it had to go.  

The carpet was new (albiet extremely cheap), and it was *fine*, but I began feeling so trapped by it, so...it had to go.

I like choices, and I don't think that's abnormal.  Lack of choices makes us feel trapped and out of control, and pretty soon we freak out.  

What I've also learned in my old age is that.....wait for it.....

KIDS LIKE CHOICES, because, THEY'RE PEOPLE, TOO!!!

It's true!  I don't know how many times we've had this exact conversation in our house: 

MAMA: Okay, it's bath-time!
TODDLER: NO! I no wanna take a baff!
MAMA: Well, you have to, so let's go.
Mama procedes to take baby kicking and screaming to said baff OR Mama gives in and baby goes to bed with no baff.  Which is it gonna be - depends on the night and how much energy Mama has.  

The solution, you ask?  CHOICES!  

MAMA: Alright, it's bath-time!  Do you want to use your Spiderman body wash or your Jake and the Neverland Pirates body wash?
TODDLER:  DAKE!!!
MAMA:  Sweet, let's go get it!

I'm not exaggerating, either.  I swear to you that works 99% of the time.  It's like a Jedi mind trick or something. 

We can give our little kids choices ALL day long.  And giving them choices shows them respect and kindness.

We don't have to control every little thing and make them into little robots whose wills we've broken (I have actually heard it taught that you have to break a child's will - kills me).  Nor do we have to give them free reign.  

We can give them the framework to make good decisions but still let them grow their choosing muscles because it gives them confidence, self-assuredness, and a healthy will.  This will help them for life.

Here are some more choices I use daily:

Would you rather get dressed yourself or do you want me to pick out your clothes?  
The Tiger, especially, ALWAYS chooses to pick them out himself, and this solves the dilemma of getting out the door in time (and I get the joy of seeing just what he comes up with when he walks out of his room and asks me if he looks handsome - which he ALWAYS does).

Do you want oatmeal or toast and eggs for breakfast?
Suddenly they can't just dream up something else that I don't have time to make because they're preoccupied making this choice. 

Do you want yogurt or peanut butter on your pancakes?
If the option isn't given, then they don't even think of syrup.

Do you want to climb in your carseat yourself or do you want Mommy to help you?
When he has that choice to make, the option of roaming the van until we're late is suddenly off the table.

Do you want to walk into gym or do you want Mommy to carry you?
It can be either, but the option to not go is not there.

Do you want to turn off the light (at bedtime) or do you want me to?
He usually wants to, and if it turns into a game of strobe light, then I tell him that I'll turn it off if he doesn't want to. 

Kinda fun, right?!  I swear it works.  If you don't do this already, try it consistently for a week and you will SO see the fruit of PEACE in your house - I promise!!!

Anyway, I hope this helps some of you out there that are at your wit's end.  Parenting with kindness and firmness is where it's at.  ;)

Do you practice giving choices in your family?  What's the most common choice you give daily?

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