What are choices?
They are an empowering way to give your kids some control and some freedom in the relationship. You might be thinking that this sounds crazy. Why would we as parents want to give any control to our kids? Aren’t we supposed to have all the control as parents?
We see this answered in the beginning of the Bible when God created Adam and Eve and the two trees. One to eat from and one to leave alone. He was giving them the freedom to choose Him or to reject Him. Meaning that God doesn’t want us to be robots, He designed us to be able to have freedom to follow Him.
We still have authority as parents, but we don’t need to have all the control. Learning to model after the culture God created will change our home. We want our kids to be raised in an environment of freedom.
Taking all the control is like drawing a line in the sand and then daring them not to cross it. We’ve all seen it when our kids seem to only want to do the very things we have asked them not to do. This is because they are screaming for some freedom in our relationships!
This is applicable for all ages and all relationships. I don’t tell my spouse what to do all day and if I did we wouldn’t have a very healthy and connected relationship. It is the same with our children. Nobody wants to be in a relationship with someone who is telling them what to do all day long.
Why will choices benefit your home?
It teaches your kids to use critical thinking. They begin to think for themselves and take responsibility for their own actions. Rather than just being told what to do their whole life they are being offered choices that equip them to think for themselves. You get to empower your kids to become respectful and responsible adults! When they leave your house and you aren’t around to tell them what to do and what not to do they will know how to think for themselves. You want to raise them in a way that they don’t need you as caretakers after they leave.
Don’t worry you still get some of the control in the relationship when you offer choices, yet you are also giving some of the control. Allow the Lord to stretch you and make you uncomfortable in this.
You still get the obedience and outcome the you desire. You pick option A and B for your kids and then they get to choose from there. Your kids won’t be allowed to run all over you they actually will begin to have more respect for you. Kids tune out parents who just order them around with demands and commands.
Kids that have deep connections with their parents will obey them. We see this correlation with our relationship with Jesus. When we fall in love with Him we can’t wait to listen to Him, to follow Him, and to obey Him.
The more you foster your connection with your kids the more they will love, respect, and obey you without you even having to require it.
This is huge as your kids get older and have relationships, phones, and jobs. You’ll know you can trust them because you have built a connection with them. That connection leads them to honor and respect you even when you aren’t around.
How can you begin implementing choices?
Always give two options that lead to the same outcome. There is a third option that isn’t said but is known. The third option is that if they don’t choose or if they don’t pick one of your two options then you get to pick one.
“You choose or I choose.”
“Do you want to walk to the car, or do you want me to carry you?”
“Do you want to do your homework before dinner, or after?”
“Do you want to unload the dishes, or take out the trash?”
“Feel free to watch your TV show after you’ve unloaded the dishes.”
“Feel free to go out with your friends after the homework is done.”
This engages them, allows them to think for themselves, and figure out what they want to do.
It also removes you from having to be the bad guy because they are now choosing for themselves meaning that they pick the consequences. If they choose to listen then they will receive the rewards at the end. If they don’t choose option A or B then they will receive the natural consequences the come with that. It will always lead to obedience.
Remember to never introduce sarcasm or anger. This will ruin your connection and it will also ruin what you have started doing by implementing choices. Watch your body language, eye contact, and tone of voice. Be loving and empathetic even when you are discipling them.
Try it out and let us know how it goes!
If you have specific questions email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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