Posts Tagged: Alyson Schafer

Dealing With the Toddler Who Dawdles By Refusing To Make a Decision

Are you frustrated by a child who keeps you hanging while they refuse to make a decision?  We are supposed to give children choices but do we have to sit like hostages while they make up their minds?  Their indecision does not come from uncertainty, but rather from a sense of power and control they feel when they dawdle and keep you in their service.  Below is the script of what to say to ensure your child both gets the respectful opportunity to make their own choices, while also respecting your time too.

 

Day One (the current way)

Mom:  Ben, do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt today?

Ben: (No answer, ignores mom – jumping about on the bed refusing to make eye contact and fooling around)

Mom: Ben, listen to me! Ben, stop fooling around and get dressed.  Come on – which do you want? The red one or the blue one? Get off that bed this minute and come choose your clothes! (This goes on for 20 infuriating minutes.)

 

Day Two (the suggested improved way)

Mom: Would you like to choose your shirt or shall I?

Ben:  (Continues ignoring and playing)

Mom: I see you’d like me to choose, here you go – I’ve picked the blue one for you.

Ben: (Suddenly freaks out on mom): No, no, no I want the red one!

Mom: I am sorry, the time for choosing has come and gone, you can choose next time.

Ben: (Continues having a hissy fit on the floor)

Mom: I am happy to stay if you want help getting dressed, if not I’ll go start on breakfast.

Ben: (Still flailing about)

Mom:  Looks like you’re choosing to get dressed on your own. I’ll see you downstairs.  Come find me if you need help.  (Mom leaves)

 

Day Three

Mom: Ben, do you want to wear the brown pants or the blue pants today?

Ben:  (No answer, ignores mom – jumping about on the bed refusing to make eye contact and fooling around)

Mom: Would you like to choose or shall I ?

Ben:  (Remembering his mother offering him this choice yesterday and knowing now that if he doesn’t answer he is forfeiting his option of choosing for himself, Ben decides he’d rather make his own choices.) The blue pants!

 

You can adapt this to suit a variety of situations: 

Would you like grilled cheese or macaroni?  Would you like to decide or shall I?  I see you’d like me to decide, lets have macaroni.  Sorry you’re disappointed, the time for choosing has come and gone, you can try again tomorrow.

Would you like to read Flopsy Bunny or Good Night Moon? Would you like to decide or shall I? I see you’d like me to decide, let’s read Good Night Moon. Sorry you’re disappointed, the time for choosing has come and gone, you have a chance to choose again next time.

 

Give it a go and let me know if you find this improves matters by sharing your stories in the comment section.

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schaffer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t MIsbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

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