Thursday, February 11, 2010

Do you want to Empower or Disempower your children?

"Parents can't choose the mates of their children or the behavior of their children. You actually can't choose anything for your children without disempowering them." - Esther Hicks

I will be back later to share my thoughts on this. I just wanted to post the quote before I forgot it.

Brownie, you are right there are times (most of the time actually) when it is good to let your kids make choices. I figure they will be better able to make good choices later if I let them gain practice now. I also allow natural consequences to let my kids know when they didn't make a good choice. For example, Cam didn’t want to put her shoes on a couple of weeks ago when it was time to leave her preschool. I tried to talk to her about how it was cold outside and that her feet would be cold without shoes. She didn’t care and didn’t want to wear shoes. So I said ok and out the door we walked Cam bare footed. I knew it would be uncomfortable, but I didn’t want to force her into shoes. We made it halfway to the van and she decided she didn’t make a good choice and wanted her shoes. I handed her the shoes and she put them on. Next time she didn’t choose not to wear her shoes.

I don't let them into danger or to be rude, but if they want to argue something and talk about it with respect then who am I to tell them “no you have to do it just because that’s what I want”. Now there are occasions where I have to say, I'm sorry but this is not something you have a choice on. Because let’s face it there will be times in the real world when they won’t have a choice. I do try to limit this to situations where a choice really isn't possible. I also make sure we talk about all the things that mommy and daddy don’t have a choice on too. I validate their frustrations.

1 comment:

  1. Well, you know how I feel about this. :-) I decided years ago that I was willing to put up with a little "disobedience" in order to have my children know that THEY are ultimately in charge of themselves. Nothing makes me crazier than to see parents who have the "my way or the highway" mentality with their child, but then they turn around and want to know why their child isn't more independent and willing to stand up for themselves. If we want our kids to get the idea that they are powerful individuals with good judgement and useful skills, then we have to let them BE those people! So yeah, my kids "talk back" sometimes, but it's in the spirit of discussion and negotiation. Or they may not eat exactly what I'd like them to, but it's because they want to practice their autonomy and choose for themselves. Am I going to let them wander in the street to figure out they'll get hit by a car? No. But will I let them argue with me in order to change their situation? Damn straight. How else are they going to learn how to do it well?