Do I breastfeed or use bottles? Should I take the new job in another city or stay where I am? Pepsi or Coke?
From a very young age, as soon as we are able to think for ourselves we earn a very special ability – the ability to make choices.
When my son was about two and a half years old, he began to display the typical attitue of a terrible two tot (I want my way and I want it now!). One day, he was refusing to eat his dinner and kept insisting it was time for dessert. My husband explained that he would get dessert once he ate his fill of dinner but this, of course, wasn’t good enough. This resulted in my son getting very upset and, for whatever reason, I went beside him and said “Sweetie, you have two choices. First, you can choose to eat your dinner and be rewarded with dessert afterwards, then you will be happy. OR, you can choose not to eat your dinner which means your tummy will be empty and you will get no dessert, then you will be sad. What do you choose?” Surprisingly, he calmed down, ate his dinner and earned his dessert in the end.
Giving my kids choices, and explaining the consequences when applicable, really helps throughout their day. Allowing them to make simple choices such as what to wear (no matter the style chosen!) or which fruit to put into a smoothie helps boost their confidence and self esteem. When it comes to behavior, I find that explaining the choices in a situation helps to diffuse the tension. Rather than having a screaming/crying child, they are more calm as they weigh their choices and consequences.
When you really think about it, most problems in our lives can be whittled down to what choices we make in life. Good choices lead to good things and bad choices lead to bad things…it’s as simple as that. That’s why it’s so important to make good choices.
Not only should our choices be good, but they should also be educated as well. The old excuse “I didn’t know” is just that…an excuse. If you have multiple options, all aspects must be considered. For example, let’s say you’re choosing between two schools for your child to attend. Which school has a better bus route? Which school has the morals and values you want taught to your child? Does one school have smaller classes? Take time to write down everything you can think of so that the facts are in front of you. Ask for the opinions of your loved ones if necessary, but make the choice that’s best for YOU (or your little one of course!).
What happens if you make a wrong/bad choice? Try not to stress! Let me share one of my favorite sayings with you – “Learn from your mistakes but never regret. One day you will realize that sometimes the wrong choices will bring us to the right places.”
By the way…the correct answer is Pepsi! LOL!