Monday, March 7, 2011

Choices - Gaining Control by Giving Control

Whether it is your 2 year old, your teen, your spouse or your co-worker... giving choices works!

Here are the rules:
  1. Only give 2 options
  2. Both options must be one's you would be totally happy with.  You must be willing to let the other person live with the consequences of their choices.
  3. Do not make one option a punishment?
  4. If a child doesn't choose, be prepared to choose yourself
Ways to use:
  • Do you want milk or apple juice?  (If they say, soda, be prepared with  a smile and "Nice try! What were the choices I gave you?")
  • Do you want to wear your coat or carry it?
  • Do you want to clean your room sometime today or hire me to do it?  (This assumes they have money, and you have discussed your pay rate... good problem solving)
  • Do you want to wait until the end of this show to get ready for bed or do it now (you're getting a sneaky freebie here? )
  • Do you want to wear your blue jammies or your green ones?
  • Do you want to brush your teeth with my toothpaste or this bubble gum flavor I just bought?
The trick is to build in so many choices for them to make (think deposits in an account) that when you have to make a decision for them (think making a withdrawal from the account) you can say, "I  give you choices all the time but this is one of those times when I get to make the choice!)

Heres' and example with your spouse:  "Hon, I have some things I'd like to get done soon.  We really need to paint the bathroom.  Would you rather do that this weekend or next?  Saturday or Sunday?  With my help or should I take the kids and get out of your hair?  Or, would you rather take the kids and let me do it?"

With a boss:  "Which of these items is a higher priority for you? Would you rather have me finish the Johnson report first or the one you just laid on my desk?

With a teen:  "Would it be better for you to stay up late and get your room clean or to get up early and do it first thing in the morning?"  You could add an enforceable statement:  "Feel free to make plans with your friends as soon as its done."

Heres a Love and Logic resource that might help
Helicopters, Drill Sergeants, and Consultants  (CD, Book, or Download)
(Also on

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