THE ISSUE: I’ve always heard how important it is to let children make their own decisions about little things, which I try to do with my three-year-old daughter. (What shirt to wear to school, if she wants to go to the park, etc.) But it feels like it’s backfiring on me! She takes forever to make a decision! She also becomes resistant to anything I suggest, and even throws tantrums when she can’t have her way. Help!
MARY SAYS: When children are young, they need trusted adults to show them how to make wise decisions. Three-year-old doesn’t want to be in charge—it’s too scary! Your daughter’s ability to make her own decisions will mature after watching you make decisions for her. Instead of presenting multiple options, offer her one and tell her why you’ve chosen it: “We’re having oatmeal today because it’s cold outside and it will warm you up!” Gradually, she will ‘get it’ after watching you, and she will be able to make her own decisions with confidence—and without tantrums.
KRISTI SAYS: I'm right in the thick of things with my threenager. If your kids are like mine, they say they want something one way, then change their minds moments later! It drives me crazy! The most important thing is that when a tantrum ensues, do not try to placate your child or "give them whatever they want.” This will only teach them that fits get them what they want. Let them have the fit (in a safe place of course). When they’ve calmed down, they’re much more likely to be reasonable humans. I find that too many choices can be overwhelming. I stick with letting my kids make choices when time doesn't matter, and only giving them two options when it does.
Speaking of Kids
Online phonics program blog: Musings, stories, and tips about teaching, reading, and parenting.
ABOUT MARY FOLLIN
Mary is the author of TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ and ETHYR, winner of the Moonbeam Children's Book Award and the Gertrude Warner Book Award. She is mom to two grown sons and enjoys sharing her more seasoned perspective with parents of younger children.
ABOUT KRISTI CROSSON
Kristi is a professional photographer and homeschooling mom of three small children. She has a passion for helping other moms make healthy choices for themselves and their families. To learn more about Kristi, please visit her website.
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