"It's my choice. I can do what I want" - Common parent-child arguments and what to do about them

Parentree-editors 2009-10-12 10:22:09

Your daughter asks you for something and you say that she cannot have it. Her response "It's my choice. I can do what I want"

Typical example:

"I want to eat my kheer before I eat lunch"

What you are tempted to do or say

  • No you cannot have it. I told you already.
  • Say "Sorry, you don't like what I said" and then walk away
  • Get angry and shout her down

What you should do

  • Try to give her other choices
  • Distract her attention
  • You can also ask her to "Give me a few good reasons why you want to do it rather than claiming its your choice. I am willing to listen to your reasons and reconsider the decision".
  • And sometimes say "Sorry you cannot have it". Walk away and ignore further pleas.
  • Do not give in to pleas, threats and whining.

Is there a silver lining to this type of behaviour?

If you are getting frustrated by this type of behaviour, remember this scenario does have some long term benefits to it.

  • Decision making - Your daughter has realized that she can make her own decisions (Of course, in your mind, the question is whether she can make good decisions or not!). But in the long run this will help her.
  • Choices and tradeoffs - She learns to balance multiple choices against each other
  • And of course, she is learning assertiveness, which in the right measures is a very good thing.


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