Do you and your child fight over choices? Does your child scream and do you grow weary? If this is happening in your home, embrace it as an opportunity. No, I'm not nuts.
Listen, you are at an important cross point. Either you are the parent, reasonable, kind, and firm. Or your child is the parent and she is training you.
"I don't want to break her spirit," you say. Neither do I. So what does this mean for you?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is anyone in the family modeling this unwanted behavior?
If so, ask that person to change.
- How have I handled this in the past?
- What worked best?
The answers to these questions could help you decide what to do. If you handled choices in a way that turned out well for you and your child, you might want to repeat that behavior.
To give your child 2 choices without giving up being the parent ask questions like these:
- Do you want to wear your blue outfit or your pink outfit?
- Do you want to dress yourself or would you like some help?
- Do you want to brush your teeth after dinner or before bedtime?
- Do you want to take your nap after lunch or after a story?
Questions like these help your child save face because even kids have pride. These questions don't break your child's spirit. They put you in charge. They give your child a little power too.
What's more, if you are consistent, reasonable, and kind, your child is more likely to co-operate. Finally, stay away from arguing and talking too much. If you argue, your child wins. If you talk too much, your child won't listen.
Help your child save face. Encourage your child to choose between 2 choices. Stay in charge and be the parent. You can do it. I know you can.
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