Saturday, October 3, 2009

Give them a choice

Mommy Tip of the Day: When disciplining your child, give him the choice between 2 options that you are ok with. You get the result you want every time because he can't make the wrong choice.

This one works on the toddlers through the teenagers. Everyone wants to have some control in their life. Imagine how frustrated you would be if you never got to make a decision, and how much more relaxed when you are in control and getting to decide what happens.

The same is true for kids. Giving them the power to make small decisions about their lives goes a long way towards stopping power struggles. I don't know about you, but I definatly believe the world would be a better place without temper tantrums.

This works the same way if you are dealing with teenagers or toddlers. The only thing that really changes is the thing that they want.

For my toddler....She really likes to be in my sewing room when I am working. The problem is that she also has a few toys that a really big and loud and not the best for using in a smaller space. (Thanks again, Grandma) Of course there are times when she wants to play with this annoying toy in my sewing room when I am trying to work. This is not a good combination. I could take the toy away from her and put it away, but that would just start the melt down. Burning it in a fiery abys is something that would rather do many days, but she really would miss the toy. So that I can keep my sanity, still be productive, and keep a happy child, I give her a choice. I let her decide if she wants to play with a calm quiet toy in the sewing room (look at a book, play with stuffed animals, etc...) or she can go into another room and play with the loud noisy one. I am happy with either decision she makes, so she can't make a wrong one.

For your teenagers...say they want to stay out late on a school night to go to a haunted house after it gets dark (or any other late event) I would give them the option to go to the haunted house after dark on the weekend when they may have a later curfew, or to go earlier so that they can be home before their curfew. This option puts the control in their hands. They get to make the right decision because they only have right choices to choose from. Because teenagers tend to be a bit stubborn and really want things their own way, I may offer an 3rd option if they want to argue with the 2 choices. The third option is that they are not allowed to go at all.

Not only does giving your kids a choice help give them some control and diffuses arguments. It also helps them learn decision making skills which is an invaluable skill to master.

Next time you find yourself in a power struggle try this and let me know how it works.

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