Hello again! This next guest post comes from our friend Crista Nezhni. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of providing choice to your children:
The Power Behind Giving Your Child Choices
It’s easy to become Mama or Papa Bear and make decisions for your kids. After all, we have more real-life experience than they do. How did we get this understanding though? When we were younger we made our own choices, regardless of what our parents, coaches, and mentors told us to do. Also, consider this: when we were told not to do something at a young age, what do we do? Typically, without all the necessary education and experience to explain the “Why” behind the individual’s demands, we don’t take the other person’s advice.
Giving your child options does not mean you are giving up your power as a parent. Instead, it just means you can give them a multitude of healthy choices they may have otherwise not thought of. This allows both of you to maintain control of child and parent dynamics.
What are some benefits of giving your child choices?
- It decreases the frequency of temper tantrums. This is because tantrums tend to happen due to the child feeling a lack of self-control. Think about any of your romantic relationships. When do most arguments happen? Most likely it’s when you feel out of control; you’re not in the know about what your partner is doing, you’re financially in the dark or struggling, or you’re expected to read your partner’s mind. Basically, you feel out of control.
- Options encourage creativity. You cannot become inventive without being inspired by a multitude of options.
- Choices demonstrate responsibility and thus increase your child’s confidence. Your kid cannot blame you for his or her decisions when they are his or her own. Hence, when your child can see that he or she made a good decision, he or she will feel better about his or herself. This can also give your kid a sense of value.
- By having to weigh the pros and cons behind all of one’s options, problem solving skills are developed. Furthermore, deciding for themselves also aids children in learning consequences to their actions. As adults, we do this with decisions that we don’t make impulsively.
What are some helpful tips when you are providing your kid with options?
- Provide healthy choices and work with your child to develop their own healthy morals and values. You cannot always be there for your children as they get older. Instead, coaches, teachers, mentors, and peers begin to spend more time with your child. Consequently, a whole spectrum of values and morals begin to surround them, including less healthy choices.
- While your child is younger, give him or her limited choices to avoid overwhelming him or her. This still gives your child all the benefits mentioned above while allowing him or her to maintain focus on the provided decisions. Either/or choices are great options if your kid gets very easily flustered.
- For choices regarding options such as homework or other not-so-fun chores, offer options that include healthy and fun rewards. This can include creative bonding activities between parents and children, play time, or letting them listen to their favorite song.
- Provide reasons behind the choices. Work with your child to help them better understand consequences as well as pros and cons behind all their options and decisions.
Crista Nezhni is a Team Member of Kids Creative Exploration, an organization that encourages kids of all ages to express themselves creatively in a safe and positive environment. She also works with children and adults to facilitate natural health practices such as proper nutrition and regular yoga practice.
Thanks for reading! For more from Crista, take a look at some of her previous guest posts here and here. Also, don’t forget to become a member of our mailing list to learn about all new posts and book releases. See you next time!