The illusion of control


Kate, from What Kate Says, is here to tell us why giving your kids some control, or rather the illusion of control, makes our day-to-day life easier.  And I can attest to this! I learned this invaluable piece of information at the start of Cali’s treatment and my current day-to-day with the girls is night and day different!!!


Here is how it works:


Tips & Tricks for Using CHOICES with Children

by Kate

(based on the Love and Logic philosophy)


Parents need to learn how proffering choices puts them in the power position. Many potential power struggles are avoided simply by giving choices before the child has the chance to say “no” to a request or an order. (Love and Logic)


Love and Logic Rules for Choices


1. Never give a choice on an issue that might cause a problem for you or for anyone else.


2. For each choice, give only two options, each of which will be OK with you.


3. If the child doesn’t decided in 5-10 seconds, decided for him or her. DO NOT negotiate!!  Decide for them and don’t look back.


4. Choices must come BEFORE the child says “no”.


5. DO NOT give choices when life or limb is in immediate danger!! (i.e. When a child is running out into the road, it is not a time to give choices. “Do you want to be round or flat?”, “Do you want to run across one more lane or try to make it across another?”) Use safety judgement.


It is often a good idea to give them more than you’d  like them to do. For instance, a child has pulled out an enormous tub of Legos on the family room floor. When it is time to clean up, the child immediately groans. The mom replies, “Oh, didn’t I tell you, you only have to clean up half the Legos. You can clean up this side of the room or that side of the room. It’s your choice.” The same could apply for other chores around the house, etc. Either way the child is doing the amount you wanted them to do, but now they feel a bit relieved and they feel they have some control in the matter.


The illusion of control is often more important than the control itself.


Negotiation is very different from choices!


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  2. I’ve done this often with my kids with not much success. I have never read to only give them 5-10 seconds and then decide for them. I’m definitely gonna try it. I also like the “which side of the room do you want to clean up”? Getting them to do half is better than me doing it all. Thanks!

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