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Too Many Choices ~ Parenting Tip

Updated on November 10, 2011

Mothering Tip~

When my children were young, I use to think I was the best mother. Every morning I would make sure that they had so many choices asking them what cereal they wanted, cherios, shredded wheat, or corn flakes. Then I'd ask what kind of juice they wanted. Apple juice, orange juice or cranberry. Would you like the blue cup, the red cup, yellow, purple, green, or orange. Then we'd move on to what to wear. I'd lay out a variety of different clothes giving them a choice of what to wear and while we dressed I'd ask them what they'd like to do for the day. Shall we go to the park or the library? I thought that of course this is what a really good mother did.

While this was at times fun, sometimes tedious and exhausting, I really thought I was such a good mother. No wonder it came as quite a surprise and was baffling to me that when I asked my children to clean their rooms or take a nap, eat what I had prepared for the family for dinner, go where we really did need to go, that they actually thought they had a CHOICE!

This is when someone told me about this amazing idea of "Too Many Choices". It really made sense. So, I decided after a long weekend that I would start Monday morning not giving my children any choices. I explained to them that I had been wrong in giving them so many choices .  I would be making their choices for them until they were able to accept my choices for them. It was a little rocky at first. I had their breakfast ready for them when they got up each morning. No choices. I chose their clothes and what we would do. No choices. I still tried to make things fun however.  A few wimpers here and there which I directed into other areas and told them how proud I was of them for accepting my choices for them. It got easier as the days went on and in a week we were past the biggest hurdle.

It was absolutely amazing. I found that after two weeks our children were taking naps, eating what we put in front of them and following instruction without complaining. This is when I decided it would be fun to give them an occassional choice. I kept it to a minimum so that it would remain "special" and it did. From then on our children loved those special times when they got to decide special events and make decisions about what crazy things we would eat, places we'd go and what they'd wear.

I'm so glad that some wise Mother told me about "Too Many Choices". I just had to share it with you! If your child is having trouble accepting your choices for them, try this, it just might work!


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    • SherrieAnne profile image

      SherrieAnne 6 years ago

      phoenixarizona~sounds like you are a supportive wonderful friend, not a discipline nazi to me. just encourage your friend as much as you can and remember that while your friend may not be acting like she's listening your example will be noticed. "long after they stop listening to what they say, they watch what you do"!

    • phoenixarizona profile image

      phoenixarizona 6 years ago from Australia

      What a wonderful hub!

      I've seen so many parents (one a close friend) make this mistake of giving their child "too many choices", Or asking their child "what do you want?". As nice it would be to let our children have their own way all the time, it makes it harder in the long run.

      You have set this out in the best way possible as I often have this conversation with my friend and she calls me the "discipline nazi".

      Voted up!

    • SherrieAnne profile image

      SherrieAnne 6 years ago

      allisaroberts I'm so glad you enjoyed this little tidbit. We moms all love to give choices and have been do indoctrinated to think that it is the perfect way things. I so hope you enjoy trying this new effort. Thanks for your positive comment!

    • alissaroberts profile image

      Alissa Roberts 6 years ago from Normandy, TN

      I kept nodding my head as I was reading your hub. I am so guilty of too many choices with my little ones! Thanks for bringing this to my attention :) Voted up!

    • SherrieAnne profile image

      SherrieAnne 6 years ago

      Mommygonebonkers~It does sneak up on us doesn't it! Have fun with it these next weeks~

    • mommygonebonkers profile image

      mommygonebonkers 6 years ago

      So true! and what a great reminder! Sometimes it sneaks up on you and you don't realize how many choices you are actually leaving up to your child every day. My husband is the worst at this!

    • peaceismypurpose profile image

      peaceismypurpose 6 years ago from USA

      Thanks for sharing.