Choices

Parenting is kind of a double edged sword sometimes. On the one hand, we're told that giving our children choices helps to make them more independent. When you're getting them dressed to go somewhere you can say, do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt? That way you're in control of what's going on but the child still has a say and feels more like they are making the choices. This works unless your child insists they don't want to wear EITHER shirt.

So onto the next thing we've learned as parents - giving children choices also gives them the opportunity to say one of their favorite words: NO - which is okay in some situations, not so much in others. In the case of getting dressed, they have to wear a shirt so "no" isn't really an option. Sometimes you just have to tell them what they're going to be doing. For instance, going to the doctor or to bed - or some other thing they might not enjoy. Giving them a choice in these matters can end up with a huge fight, tears and tantrums and is generally unnecessary because it's something they're going to have to do anyway. You wouldn't say, do you want to go get a shot today? No, obviously not! So in those situations sometimes it's best to not give choices.

We had a situation like this earlier today. We overslept and I was trying to get my son ready for school in a hurry. He doesn't do well with quick changes & disruptions (especially sleep) and was definitely letting us know about it. He did the "limp rag doll" routine when I was trying to get his shoes, shirt and pants on and kept yelling about how he couldn't go to school. He normally loves school and I think it didn't help that when I woke him up I asked are you ready to get up and get ready for school? I imagine he immediately thought NO, I was sleeping & you woke me up! You've disrupted my schedule, woman!

So you're supposed to give choices but sometimes you can't give them choices, right? I think the best piece of advice is to use your own judgment in each situation with your children. You know how they'll react. And sometimes kids just get in moods - like everyone else - and are unpredictable. If all else fails, just know that I've been there and so have most moms. I won't laugh if I see you out & about with your half-dressed, tantrum-throwing child. Well, I may laugh...but only because I've been there too.

Zeke having an angry moment....

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