How to coach your child to make the right choice.

Limits are crucial to life. Acknowledging your child’s feelings helps them feel understood and develops their ability to identify emotions. Setting limits for your child is very important. As you may remember, communicating the limit is ideally done without judgment or anger, in a plain and matter-of-fact tone. It is best shared using this type of format ”__________ is not for _________.” Then list two or three alternative behaviors acceptable for the situation.

There will be days that your limit setting skills are strong, but your child’s will is stronger. As an adult, choices are hard and they are even harder for children. Often times, choices are a good way for both the parent and child to feel in control. Parents can offer opportunities to practice this life skill, making choices in several ways. In fact, in times of limit setting, offering choices is truly helpful.

3 Benefits of Giving Your Child Choices

  1. Offers a feeling of some power and control.
  2. Helps children feel as though they have a say in what happens next, which immediately reduces stress and tension.
  3. Removes blame from the parent, and shifts the responsibility onto the child.

Help them to understand there are options

The infamous choice involves either the child leaving the situation or an item being removed from a situation. Present the options in this format; “If you choose to continue _______, you are choosing to (leave/have item removed), instead, if you choose to ______, you’re (leave/have item removed), instead, if you choose to ______, you’re choosing to (stay/keep item), it is totally up to you”.

Teach Valuable Decision-Making Skills

Giving your child space to make this decision, and then following through with their choice, is key. We want the child to learn that the moment a decision is made, is the moment the consequence follows. For example, if pulled over, a police officer might feel, the moment the driver chose to go 30 mph over the speed limit, was the moment he/she decided to get a ticket. In life, there are times when no amount of pleading/promising will rescue you. We want our children to learn that now.

This limit setting instills invaluable life lessons all children should know: insight, emotional intelligence, decision making, and self-control.

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