Thought For Today

I am so glad that you have found this site and I hope you will find encouragement and joy as you read through my thoughts on God, family and life.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Allowing our Children to Make Good Choices

Anne, Will and Abby at Disney World

Early this morning Anne and I were sitting on our porch talking about the past.  One topic in particular was in dealing with child discipline.  I am always amazed on how Anne responds to our children when they are upset or when they want something that they shouldn’t have.  Instead of saying, “No, you cannot have this!”  I see her giving them alternatives instead.  Not choices like, “If you don’t do this, I am going to send you to your room!”  Rather, she sits either child down and says to them, “Abby/Will, by you doing it this way, it will bring you into harm’s way and I don’t want you to get hurt.  How about you looking at it this way instead, or you can choose this other option.”  Either direction the child chooses, it is still Abby or Will making that choice.  I have watched Anne endlessly working with our children and I have learned much from her. 

Abby's favorite flower.
By seeking to go this path for Abby and Will, Anne is not taking away their independence; she is giving them choices that they are making for themselves, choices that fall within the boundaries that we set for them.  By allowing the child to make their own decision (within the parameters that you set), it teaches them to think for themselves and establishes a good relationship between parent and child.              `
As a school administrator in working with professional teachers in a particular school district that I had the privilege to be apart of, we set up grade level teacher teams for each individual grade.  Each team had a team leader and the team leaders met with me once a month, or earlier when needed.  Each grade level team set their own policies that they themselves established (within the parameters of the district guidelines).  When it came to the school as a whole, each team leader met with me and we worked on establishing an equitable policy school wide.  The point being is that power was shared with the teachers in setting policies that affected themselves and their students.  In other words, they felt empowered and included in the decision making process. 

God's Angels Painting our Sunrise
Children and adults are alike in many ways.  Our need for being allowed to make choices does not change as we grow older, but in some work environments, unfortunately that right is taken away.  In looking at our world as adults, it then makes sense for us to translate this into seeing how children also want to be able to make good choices as well.  It is a part of growing up that we become more independent.  I remember my dad saying to me when I was about to graduate from high school.  He said, “Son, I believe that when a child reaches your age, he should be able to make his own choices at this point.  If that is not the case, then I have not done a very good job.”  Dad was right in that growing up is a series of letting go for parents, and allowing our children to experience gradual independence by making good choices.  There is an innate predisposition for children to want to be independent.  As a parent we do this in increments as a child matures, so that by the time a child is 18, they are ready to leave the nest and establish their own lives.  

Our fairy meadow.
Have a great week with your children!

Household tip:  I have found that when repairing tiles from countertops or bathrooms, sometimes it works for me in using PL400 glue.  This saves time in not having to buy a full bag of adhesive and mix that portion up for such a small job.  Note:  Make sure you have good ventilation when doing the repair work.