This is the third post in a series about the book Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years For other posts in this series, click here.
The second principle of Love and Logic is to share the control. When a child's life is full of "don'ts" -- don't do that, don't touch that, don't cry, etc. -- they feel powerless and frustrated. How do you feel when things are out of your control, such as when you get a flat tire or misplace your wallet? A great example given in the book (pg. 82), is about King George of England and his control of colonial America. He told them how to spend their money, where they could live, what religion they could follow. And what happened? The people rebelled!
The key to this principle is to offer your kids choices. Lots of choices. Especially in things that you don't care a whole lot about! Always offer two options, both of which are acceptable to you. "Do you want me to put your carseat on the left side of the backseat or the right side?" "Do you want to go down the slide first or get on the swing?" "Would you rather carry your coat to the car or wear it there?" "Would you prefer carrots or broccoli for dinner?"
Once they feel like they've had some control of their day, kids will be more likely to be ok with you making big decisions for them -- "It's time for bed. You've had lots of choices today, now mommy gets a turn to make a choice."
Even though Abby can't verbally make choices yet, I've tried this concept a bit just so I can get used to offering choices. Mostly it's been things like holding up two shirts in front of her and letting her pick which one to wear.
As she gets older, I think this principle can become a fun game as I try to think of all the different choices I can ask her in a given day!
Do you offer your kids choices? How has it worked out for you?