Thursday, September 10, 2009

Choices, choices

THE MYTH

Here's a very useful parenting tip:

To give your young child the feeling of being somewhat in control, whenever possible you present them with two choices and let them decide. The key, of course, is that you have to be happy with either option.

THE REALITY

This strategy might have worked for me once or twice. Mostly, though, when I use this technique, the conversation goes something like this:

Me: "Do you want to leave the playground now, or in five minutes?"
Kid: "NEVER!"

Me: "Which vegetable do you want, broccoli or carrots?"
Kid: "NEITHER! I HATE VEGETABLES!"

Me: "Would you like to wear your red shirt or this blue shirt?"
Kid: "I AM GOING TO WEAR MY SWIMSUIT, A STOCKING CAP, AND DADDY'S SUNGLASSES!"

Of course, I then follow up with a very calm "Sorry, that's not one of the options. You can either wear the red shirt or the blue shirt. Those are your choices."

To which the kid replies, "Oh, okay. In that case, I'll choose red."

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiigggggghhhhht.

In reality, the kid usually responds by throwing a massive hysterical fit.

It does make me feel a little better if I tell myself that my kids are just too brilliant to be tricked into believing there are only two choices in any given situation.

2 comments:

lucythevaliant said...

I don't know about my own personal child, since she can't speak yet, but I gave up on the whole 'choices' thing with my students during my first year as a teacher!

Cassie said...

I guess it all depends on the choice. Vegetables or no vegetables would have gone over muuuch better. I guess my kids are also too smart for that.