Are you giving your child A, B or C options?

If you have had a child you no doubt have ended up in that stressful situation where you want your child to make a decision you want them to make on their own but they can’t or won’t make one.

So many times when I am talking to families the parents will turn to the child and say something like, “Do you want to try karate?” or any other decision depending on the conversation.

Instead of providing your child with an open-ended question that they are not sure how they should answer to please you and themselves instead construct the question in a way that makes it easy for them to give an answer and make a decision.

What we call it is the A or B choice versus a “Yes” or “No” choice When giving your child a “Yes” or “No” choice you are usually looking for them to choose “Yes”. You are probably expecting them to choose “Yes”. Then boom, they choose “No” as soon as this happens you have a debate or argument on your hands because you asked them and they told you what they wanted. Now you have to try and turn their “No” into a “Yes”. Stressful.

Usually what is behind a “No” or reluctance to engage in any new thing is fear of the unknown. Actually, it is not wanting to not do the thing but the fear that outweighs the desire. So it is easier to avoid to agree than to give something a go.

A better option to consider is positioning the answer to be either an A or B option. “Do you want to start karate today? Or do you want to start next Monday? What you are doing is telling your child that we’re going to be doing this but you get a say in the process or a vote in how it is going to happen.

You want to spend some time thinking about this approach when talking to your child, don’t give them “yes” or “no” options. Figure out a different and better way to give them an “A” or “B” which removes arguments and stress when the child doesn’t give you the answer you are looking for. It will take a few practices goes to get the hang of it but by letting them choose “A or “B” you will hopefully get a much better outcome in decisions and choice your child makes more in line with what you actually want.

This approach gives the illusion of choice to independently minded children while maintaining your sanity. This is one of the tips we use at karate all the time. You can do A or B but either way, we are still doing fitness today, (wink)