Friday, February 03, 2012

the power of choice

My eldest child is extremely strong-willed. There's no getting away from it, or prettying it up - she's liked being in charge, and getting her own way.  Believe me it causes some challenges and some grief - not least because her mother is kind of the same....

She understands that I'm the head of the house (well, most of the time she does...) and she accepts that there are going to be decisions made that she's not necessarily going to like.  But one of the things I've learned over the past few years (the hard way, mostly) is that things go a whole lot more smoothly in our house when she feels like she has some control over the things going on in her life.  She's barely 9, but I am conscious that she is wanting to feel some independence.

So I have started allowing her some choice.  She can choose what to wear  -  made easier because I decide what is in her wardrobe in the first place so there's nothing inappropriate.  This is a biggie as at times she would happily wear a fur coat in summer and a t-shirt in winter.  Sometimes I have to bite my tongue... :) She can choose what to eat for lunch, as long as I vet the lunchbox before it goes in the school bag.  She can choose where to sit at the dinner table.  Whether to bike or walk to school.  Whether to read or draw before bed.   How her hair is done and when it gets washed (my only requirement is once a week, she picks when).

I've also starting allowing some small freedoms.  Choosing lights-out time (within reason).  Going for a bike ride on her own.  Using the phone.  Some screen time playing games she wants to play rather than for homework.

It seems like small stuff - in fact it IS small stuff, but it has gone a long way to making her feel like she is part of the decision making in our house.


And that has made for a happier household.


3 comments:

Katrina said...

Heh heh - ah it's gonna be fun over the next few years - I have a very strong willed child too - it's a challenge but it's also fun....one good thing with this type of temperment...they don't get let astray by others...they are strong enough to make up their own minds about things...

susan said...

yes I'm hoping that for mine...as long as she doesn't turn out to be the one leading the others astray:)

LG Under the Apple Tree said...

Strong willed daughters are a blessing in disguise. It took me 16years to realise I could have the last word under my breath.