One thing I like to remind parents is that when nothing else works and you have been trying hard, try giving your child a choice. Sometimes in our desire to help our children or accomplish an objective we forget that we are dealing with small beings who have their own feelings, wishes, and needs. And if our children have experienced some trauma in their life, the ability to handle stress and decision-making is that much harder. Giving children a choice let’s them know that they matter, that you believe they can make good decisions, and you respect their free will.
Giving children a choice does not mean free reign, or having a choice over everything. When children hurt themselves or others, we have to step in and correct and build up our children. However when we say to a child, “Are you going to fill out your job application Thursday or Saturday” we are saying that we believe they will make a right choice, but it’s up to them when they will do what needs to be done. A lot of teenagers I work with say how much they hate when their parents nag them. I think offering them a choice of how or when they do the dreaded task can help to avoid the repetitive questioning from parents and gives them a chance to shine.