Tag Archives: choices

What Just Happened!!mp

Have you ever seen that “Friends” episode where Rachel decides that Monica is going to make all of the decisions for her life.  Because of some bad choices she was making in her life, Rachel decided that was a good idea.

Unfortunately in my line of business, I see this happening quite frequently with parents and children.   Some of the conversations go like this…”Johnny doesn’t want to go to Extended Care today but I need him to go because I have an important thing I have to do and I can’t bring him.  But he doesn’t want to go.  I don’t know what to do”.  Put on the brakes!!  Stop the presses!  What?!?  Here’s what I saw and heard.  An adult person needs to do something important and can’t bring her child with her but asks her child what he wants to do.   What does a child know about important meetings and adult needs.

Here’s another one I hear.  “Sally, don’t run.  It’s a parking lot, you might get run over.  Sally!  Sally!  You need to hold my hand.  Sally!  Sally!  If you don’t want to hold my hand then you can’t run.  Sally!  Sally!”  Put on the brakes!!  Stop the presses!  Here’s what I saw and heard.  An adult person reasoning with a child about their safety.  What does a child know about keeping themselves safe.?

Does this make sense in anyone’s world?  A child does not have the capability to make the right decisions for his/her life.  And a child certainly doesn’t have the capability to make the right decisions for an adult.  God fashioned children to rely on their parents for guidance and discipline.  Hebrews 12:5-11  This is the BEST scripture about discipline.  It says that as father/mothers we discipline our children because we love them, as God disciplines us because He loves us. Proverbs 3:11-12 says it too.  So does Dueteronomy 8:5.  I’m sure there are many more.  It’s in the Bible so many times because God wants us to get it right.  It directly correlates to how a child will grow up, be respectful of others and then will be able to pass on this legacy to his/her children.

Does that mean we never give children the right to choose.  Of course not!  We do it all the time here at the Preschool.  “What color would you like to paint your picture?”  “Do you want to play on the swings first or the monkey bars?”  “Would you rather sit in Mrs.T’s office or play on the playground with your friends?” “Which choice do you want to make?”

At home, the choice could be, “Billy, why don’t you pick where we eat tonight, Chuckie Cheese or Perkins”.  Well, we know how that would go, don’t we?  Or how about, “Tonight, Bobby, I’ll read 3 books before bedtime.  Which books do you want me to read?”  “Do you want to help unload the dishwasher or help fold the clothes.”  “Do you want green beans or broccoli with your meal?”  “Would you like to go to the park or go to the mall?”  “Sally, which dress do you want to wear to church?”  The sky is the limit on ways you can empower your child to make choices.  To help him/her make decisions about their life and take a turn making decisions for the family.  But NEVER decisions that usurp the authority of the adult.  This is a slippery slope and one you do not want to start sliding down.

I’ve raised 2 of my own children and one older teenager and had experience with almost 2000 children in my 20 years of working in childcare.  I know children!  I know what works and what doesn’t.  And when I can’t figure something out about children I go to experts to help me.  If you’re having problems, let me help!  I know together we can work out a solution.

Parents, don’t abdicate your authority to children.  Lead them, guide them, encourage them, discipline them.  This is your right and your duty.  God made it that and he said so in His Word and that’s enough for me!

Stubborn children?

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Image by norfolkdistrict via Flickr

I’ve been asked what to do when you have stubborn children. I’ve thought about it and a couple of things have come to my mind. One thing that must happen is that you as the parent HAVE to win the battle. It is important that a child knows that you are the boss, that you are in control. Children have a need for safety and they want you to have control. Of course if you asked them they’d say a big resounding NO WAY but research into child development has shown that children thrive when they have boundaries and they want and need limits. It makes them feel safe. I remember when I was growing up. My dad would always make

sure the doors were locked when we went to bed. Now, when I was a kid I didn’t think too much about it, just that that was my Dad’s job, I guess. But when I got married I wanted my husband to lock up every night because it made me feel safe and it made me feel loved and taken care of. I didn’t realize that I wanted that or needed that until my husband didn’t do it. Then I missed it. I explained that to him and he began taking that responsibility to lock up the house.
It makes me feel good to know that he cares about me enough to do that. Well, I digressed a little but it is relevant. Children want you to take control so DO IT. Don’t be unreasonable and if you make a mistake, apologize and move forward. But be firm about what it is you will and will not tolerate. Set house rules. Set limits. Give choices so that they have options but options that you choose. And give consequences. This is extremely important. There will always
be consequences to every choice we make so teach them this when they are young and they will begin to make the right choice based on the consequence. Children are children. They aren’t designed to be in control. That creates chaos. Take charge. That probably won’t cure their stubborness but it’ll sure make you feel better when you know you are doing the right thing to help your child to grow and flourish and
become the wonderful person that they were meant to be. I encourage you to persevere. Hang in there. It’ll get better
Just be consistent.

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