Why is giving children choices so important? Let’s do a few short brain storming sessions to see.
Please take just a few seconds and think about all of the decisions/choices you’ve made so far today. ……
(Let’s see, what time I got out of bed, to do or not do my Bible study, when to take a shower, what to wear, what to have for breakfast, what choices to give the kids, etc).
You’ve made a lot so far, haven’t you!?!
We have to make so many choices in life, that we oftentimes don’t even notice just how many choices we have. I know this is one thing that can really wear me out. There are so many times I just ask my husband to make a decision, because I’m tired of making them.
On the other hand, think about what it would be like if you had no choices. If absolutely everything was decided/dictated to you. If you had no control over anything. (Told what to wear, what to eat, when to sleep, when to clean, etc.) How do you think that would make you feel?
I think that would be terrifying! However, that’s how many kids live. They have no control over anything.
There are so many decisions and choices to make every single minute. Every single choice and decision we make has a consequence (good or bad).
There are so many choices it can be overwhelming, however, the lack of choices can be terrifying and suffocating.
Why would we want to throw our children into a world where they have to make all of these decisions right away, without practice and without feeling consequences?
It’s important to start young and give a few choices. This helps children practice making choices, learn that there are consequences, yet let’s them ease into the decisions without being overwhelmed, while making life less of a struggle (for both children and parents) because there are less fights over control.
Many people (including children) cannot stand the feeling of being out of control. When people feel like this, they will oftentimes do just about anything to gain some control. Same is true with your children. If you are always dictating what they can do, then they are more likely to resist and fight for control in many different ways. The most common ways people try to gain control is by defiance, manipulation, and power struggles.
When we give our children choices throughout the day, it makes them more willing to listen and comply when we have to put our foot down on something and not give them a choice. We can explain it to them as “It’s Mommy’s turn to choose.”
Give It a Try
Week 1: Try to give your children some choices today and throughout the month. Let’s see if over time there are less power struggles, more compliance, more respect and love. When we give our children choices, it is also telling them that we think they are important, that they are capable, that we trust them, and that they are respected. How can that not help a relationship?
Week 2: Having a hard time coming up with choices to give your child? Read my e-book here for some ideas. Continue to give your child(ren) as many choices as you can this week. Write reminders on sticky notes if you have too! 😉
Week 3: Read this blog post about giving children choices and continue to give your child(ren) as many choices as you can this week!
Week 4: Continue giving your child(ren) as many choices as you can this week. Here is a video of examples to give.
What choices did you give your child today?