Home > Kids > Values and Responsibilities > Fostering Independence > Teach Your Child How to Make Choices

Teach Your Child How to Make Choices

Behave Yourself!

Why so negative? It's better to plan for success, rather than failure (It's been said that people who expect success are more likely to achieve it than people who expect to fail). Provide choices that will work for your child.

It's a Good Idea!

Take a deep breath, step back, and trust your child's choices. He is learning what he wants, needs, and values—these things can't be forced. Model your values, then let your little bird fly.

Choice Expands with Age

As an adult, you have free choice about many aspects of life. You've earned that. Children start out unable to handle anything but the simplest choices. Think of the challenge faced by the kid in the ice-cream shop: “Chocolate or vanilla?” As kids get older, the choices become more complex, and they should.

Free Choice?

No matter what you say, do, or try to control, your child does have choices. Yes, they can be restricted choices, but your child can always choose noncompliance. I say it's better to provide a variety of choices instead of letting the extreme choice of noncompliance be a child's only option. You'll do best and be happier when you embrace choice and learn how to work with it (since it exists, you might as well make it work for you). When choices and the choice-making process are made explicit, there is less room for misunderstandings to occur.

Choice Builds Strength

The world has its dangers, and try as you might, you cannot protect your child from all of them. A child's best defense is the ability to make safe, wise choices, and this is a skill that takes practice. Help your child by guiding her through the choice making process. That's really all you can do, and that's often more than enough.

<< Previous: Teaching tips

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to a Well-Behaved Child © 1999 by Ericka Lutz. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

st. patrick’s day

Celebrate the
luck of the Irish
with recipes
and activities.



10 Best Creative Apps for Kids
Looking for apps that foster creativity? Check out these top-rated art and music apps for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

A New Intergalactic Reading Adventure!
Get your reluctant reader hooked on an irresistible new story, Galactic Hot Dogs! Join the Book 1 reading marathon, and get behind-the-scenes tidbits on the official Galactic Hot Dogs blog. Also, print this cool Galactic Hot Dogs reading log to keep your bookworm excited about reading!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks