14 strategies parents need to know
13. Try Limiting the Choices
One of the easiest and yet most powerful tools of Positive Discipline is "Limited Choices." You can actually guide your children through their younger years by letting them make choices for themselves, so that they build character and individuality, while still retaining parental control of the situation.
Try putting two children in a candy store and asking them to choose just one treat! They are overwhelmed by the options. Each watches to see who got the best or bigger treat, and it ends up being a competition, instead of a simple candy treat.
Now try it with "Limited Choices." Tell the children that each may choose two pieces each of two types of candy, one piece for themself and the other for the sibling. You have let them choose their own, but you have reduced the choices from 50 to two, and you have avoided the competition—all in one sentence. They each end up with four pieces of the same candies.
This strategy can work for just about everything: "Would you like to ring the bell or decorate with the flowers for this morning's puja?" "Would you prefer a glass of water or a glass of juice?" Avoid asking, "What would you like to wear?" "What would you like to drink?" Such questions invite conflict because the child may say something that you do not agree with.
Story: Before each family dinner or outing, Anuradha chose the appropriate outfit for her son and daughter. She would set out the clothes on the children's bed and inevitably face a storm of protest. One of them almost always ended up crying. One day Anuradha was choosing her own outfit for an important dinner. She asked her husband what he liked. He surprised her by picking out two outfits, then saying that she should make the final decision. She quickly picked her favorite and saw how easy he had made it for her. She realized in that moment that she was frustrating her children by not respecting them enough to let them have a say in their choice of clothes. Soon after, while preparing to go to their cousin's house, she laid out three good choices for each child and left the room. No arguing, no tears!
TEXT AND STORY BY KAVITA MARDEMOOTOO
Kovishan couldn't make up his mind which film to watch one evening. When mom asked him to choose between just two films, he was able to decide!