When I was a child, I didn’t get to make a lot of choices. No one asked me what I wanted for dinner. No one wondered what I felt like wearing or when I wanted to wake up. The list goes on.
I had piano lessons, became a Girl Scout, took art classes, went to ballet class, and summer camp. This was the plan. I didn’t need to like it. If I balked, I had a mother who often used the phrase, “Because I said so.”
In the last few generations, dramatic shifts in parenting practices have taken place.
I find it odd to ask a toddler what he or she wants for dinner, but that is more prevalent than it used to be. Still, I applaud choices and work hard to stay mindful of them.
Sometimes, just to reinforce the power inherent in my choices, I remind myself that I vacuum when I choose. I notice when I am choosing to wash my clothes and deciding when I eat. Knowing I can steer my behaviors, thoughts, and actions brings me some authority over my life.
My choices create my life. I try to remain aware of which ones are available to me. After I am aware of my choices, then I can turn off a well-trodden path and embrace something different if I want.
Do you let your children make choices? Do you believe it empowers them? Do you notice any element of overwhelm in the number of choices you present to them?
I suspect we can achieve a balance. A middle ground may unfold for our future generations. A healthy balance between open-ended options and some limitations exists.
Have you already created this in your life or in the lives of children?