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Friday, March 5, 2010

It's their choice

When they're one, two, three and four it's;
Apple or Orange?
Juice box or big girl/boy cup?

When they're five, six, seven, eight it's;
What kind of cake do you want for your birthday?
Who do you want to invite to the sleep-over?

These seem like simple questions to us but for our little one's these can be tough choices.

Then when our children get to be a teenager the choices/questions get harder. The nice thing for them is we are there for them to guide them in making the right choices. But we can't in the end make the choices for them. And that is where it is hard for us as parents!

The girl knows what she wants her career to be upon graduation but the getting there has to be her choice. When I say that I mean what classes to take in what year. She needs to make sure she has all the prerequisites for University, yet she doesn't want to over do it, so she is too tired from studies and in the end decides it's not worth it.

I can guide her but I can't make the final decisions for her. She knows what her real limits are and it is hard to have to let her make those final choices instead letting her take the easy road and me making them for her. It really will not help her in life.

It was so much easier when it was apple or orange with lunch... sigh
How do you handle choices in your home? Is it really their choice or are you telling them what to choose?

Contributed by; The Mind of a Mom


sandy said...

The balance is tough, and too many parents don't realize they have a job to do. Kids should not always get to choose. Sometimes they need to be to do something because it's in their best interest. They can be a part of the decision making process; but until they're no longer living under your roof; what they do, when they do, and if they do really is not their choice. In my opinion that's way far too many kids are still living at home when they are adults and not out in the world making their way. Parents have let the kids pick and choose far too much, and as a result they are not prepared with life skills, they've not taken the right classes to be employable, they've not learned to cook and take care of themselves.

Parents are suppose to be parents, not best friends. When they become older, you can be their friend.


Mom said...

Soccermom -

I agree that it is very important to give your child the opportunity to make choices. Teaching your child independence and decision making skills is an important part of parenting and preparing them to live in the world.

Sandy - Why must children be forced to live on their own? In many societies, families actually live together with multiple generations living in the same household.

website design company said...

Firstly thanks for the post.This is a matter of great concern specially if you are a parent.I personally feel children should be given the freedom to choose but the parents should also have a role to play before the final decision is taken.In my house we always have a candid discussion before reaching a final decision.

Mom said...

I think it is very important to distinguish between important choices and not so important choices. There are some choices that need parental intervention, while other options can be dictated solely by the whims of the child.

For example, if my girls want to wear mismatched socks - that's okay. It isn't a big deal if they have one blue sock and one pink sock. In fact, few people even notice unless the girls point it out.

If my girls want to wear a summer dress in the dead of winter - that is not okay (unless we're not going anywhere and they only wear the dress in the house) because it puts their health at danger.

If they want to color, they get to make the choice about what to use - crayons, markers, or paint pens.

The key is to give them as many opportunities to make choices so they can learn that their choices have consequences. (If I choose to eat the muffins now, I won't have muffins after dinner. If I choose to go to one park, I won't get to go to the other. If I choose macaroni for lunch, I don't get chicken nuggets.)

In this way, they learn that every choice they make has a counter-choice that has to be given up. They learn HOW to make choices. If they don't learn these valuable lessons early, then they won't be able to make effective choices later.

When they do get older, their options for making choices should also change. Let them make a few of the harder choices. Unless it is life threatening or really important, then leave it up to them.

Examples of teen choices: Clothing options (with guidance - no hooker wear, no inappropriate advertising), Hair style, entertainment (nothing illegal), friends, room decor, etc...

**With clothing, we let our oldest daughter choose most everything. We would not allow her to purchase or wear any clothing with Playboy or Alcohol advertising on it. She was not happy about it. She even argued that it was her money she was spending. We held fast. Also, any new jeans or skirts had to pass the "bend over" test. If it was too tight or too short - she didn't get it. **

TulipGirl said...

Good post. . .

I find that as the kids get older I'm less prepared in some ways -- but I'm okay with that -- more focused on relational parenting and less worried about doing everything "right."

But still. They are getting big, so fast. I almost don't recognize them day to day.