Questions about giving choices... - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-07-2003, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have always heard you should give kids only 2 options, either one being ok with you. First question, what do you do when they say, "I'll think about it" & don't make a decision (when you need to know pretty soon, like which shirt to wear, which toothbrush to use, etc). Second, what about food? It is also said that they will eat what they need if given the option, but how many options can you give? If you say, "do you want this or this for lunch?" & they say, "No", what do you do?

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Old 01-07-2003, 12:23 PM
 
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I would add to the "only give choices you're comfortable with" rule one about not giving choices if you are in a hurry. I also don't think it's neccessary to give choices about everything all day long. I think some things can be non-negotiable. I feel too many decisions can be overwhelming. At our house choices can be made about what to have at snack time..but dinner is what I put on the table. I do try to keep in mind everyone's likes and dis-likes..I also encourage them to help with meal planning.
I know "giving choices" works for many families, but I have seen it taken to the extreme, where the Mom's whole day is spent "in negotiations" The child ruled the day and the Mom seemed like she couldn't decide anything for herself.


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Old 01-07-2003, 01:49 PM
 
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That's a tough issue, and one I haven't quite figured out. I thought I knew it all before DD was born, but those rules just don't work in real life!
DD is not a picky eater, but if she says she does not want something, she won't eat it. Since her weight is always an issue in the back of my mind, I usually cave and give her something she does want as long as it's not junk food. Dinner is a different story, she at least has to try a few bites of whatever I made for the rest of us. As long as she tries a few bites, I will go ahead and offer her something else I know she will usually eat. If she won't eat the second option, she just isn't hungry and there's nothing I can do to force her to eat when she doesn't want to. I'll wait a couple hours and try to feed her the same food again.
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Old 01-07-2003, 03:22 PM
 
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I just throw in the if you don't make a choie then I will. It may be that a choice is too overwhelming right then, or they may just be tesing. I mean, the choice is for their benefit, if they don't make it then they choose for you to do it.
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Old 01-08-2003, 02:20 AM
 
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I agree with both Peggy and Khrisday. I do tell my kids that some things are "not negotiable" or "not optional", i.e., washing hands before dinner. In that instance then, the choice becomes "to eat or not to eat", but when they decide to eat, their hands will certainly be washed. And I also give an unspoken time allotment for making a choice if none is made. I then say, "If you don't choose, I will." And I do. And sometimes ds freaks out. Then I console him and tell him that I know it's hard. Just yesterday we went through this during bathtime, and you can bet that tonight he made his choices. lol He's such a hoot, that kid!

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Old 01-08-2003, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input! Next time dd says, "I'll think about it" I'll say, "Just don't think too long or I'll choose for you". As for the food, I usually do end up serving her what we are having for "meals", but she does snack a lot too, so I don't worry too much if she doesn't eat it.
Something I do have to work on is giving in after I've said "No". Lately, I often find myself saying "No" to a request or asking dd not to do something, then giving up when she does it anyway. I don't want to deal with her having a fit, but she doesn't do it with dh because he doesn't let her. If he says it, she knows he means it. I just feel so mean sometimes, but I know it's for the best & she needs me to give her some limits. A lot of the problem is probably that most of the things really aren't worth enforcing, so I shouldn't be saying anything in the first place, like wanting to wear her new shoes in the house or taking her socks off. If she wants to get cold feet, that's her problem.
What are your thoughts on this?
Helen

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Old 01-08-2003, 06:23 AM
 
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Helen,
I sturggle with that, too. One thing that helps me, is when the kids ask me something, to take a breathe and ask myself "Why NOT?" If I can't some up with a good reason, the answer is yes.
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Old 01-08-2003, 10:35 AM
 
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Have as few "No's" as possible and the ones you do have ..stick to them..she will have a few "fits" but will soon realize you mean what you say. It will be much less frustrating to hear "No" if she's heard a lot of "Yes's" .
Like khris said think about "why not?" first.


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Old 01-08-2003, 01:48 PM
 
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You've received such good advice from these women that I don't have anything to contribute.

Good luck!

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