In our last post, we discussed the article in Atlantic Monthly:
In this article, the author decries the use of giving kids choices. I asked my fellow Positive Discipline Instructors to weigh in on this important topic. Here are some more of their answers:
Kendra Martin says:
What a great post…it’s caused us to think! I read the article (thanks for including it) and my take on it was that the problem was not with choices, but with the amount and scope of choices being offered as a way to appease kids and avoid unhappiness or discomfort. I have never read a PD book that approaches choices in that way. In fact the article mentioned limited choices as being preferred…same thing we teach in PD. I know that everyone who reads an article like that will read something different into it, but I understood the issue to be permissiveness and rescuing…not limited choices offered by parents in appropriate situations.
I thought much of the article supported PD…and even if it didn’t, I wouldn’t second guess myself because I have seen it work in my home and in others.
Julie Knight says:
In addition to these great responses, I would like to add that choices are most powerful when the parent uses them strategically to empower their kids and to teach the child his/her likes and dislikes. For me, I always remember that I have to first approve of the choices I give (ironically, I need to choose the choices for my child) The buck stops with me and not my child. I don’t give my child a choice on whether or not he brushes his teeth but I can give him a choice on which toothpaste he wants to use. We all have to make choices (big and small) in life so when choices are used properly it teaches a very valuable life skill.
Kelly Pfeiffer says:
In my classes, I try to stress that by giving limited choices, I mean age appropriate choices. I follow up by saying that giving children too many choices is overwhelming AND can be a bit scary for kids. They still need to feel that we’re “in charge” in a way that keeps them safe and asserts our role as parent/teacher. Too much power too soon is definitely scary for kids.
Stay tuned for more answers to this most important question…
Let us know what you think!