Avoid Power Struggles by Giving Your Child Choices

Giving your child some choices is a great way to avoid power struggles.  As you give him the chance to make up his own mind about some issues, you’re also helping him learn how to make better decisions.  Here are some tips on giving your child a choice:


Give a choice when there’s a “no-choice” situation.  In every family, some things aren’t open for discussion.  Kids don’t get to decide if they’re going to do their homework, for example.  But you can ask, “Would you rather eat your snack before or after you do your homework?”


If you’re saying “no” on one thing, try to say “yes” to something else.  You wouldn’t let your child walk to a friend’s because it was too late.  Later, let him do a science experiment in the sink, even if it is a little messy.


Let your child live with the consequences of his choices.  Your son already spent his allowance.  Now he has no money to go to the movies with friends.  Don’t bail him out.  Tell him he has to live with the choice he made last week.


If you do offer a choice, make sure you can live with what your child chooses.


Help guide your child as he makes choices.  “Do you want to get your homework out of the way before practice?  Or will you want to do it when you come home?”

Parents make the difference!

Source:  Jan Faull, Unplugging Power Struggles, 2000