Decisions That Empower Toddlers Can Ruin Your Life

April Peveteaux

toddler decisions
These kids can't be trusted
When my daughter was hovering around the 2-year mark, I started doing that parenting thing where you offer your child two choices: Do you want oatmeal or Cheerios for breakfast? The pink jammies or the ones with elephants? It's a good way to take the stress out of mealtime, bath time, bedtime, or anytime when you have a toddler with a burgeoning desire for independence. But I think I'm going to stop doing this temper tantrum stopping trick, because some days I feel like throwing a tantrum when my toddler makes a crappy decision.

In fact, some authoritarian measures need to be taken around this house, or the sh*t is going to hit the fan. I don't want my daughter going to one more soccer game dressed in her bathing suit; therefore, this craziness called a "democracy" has got to stop. So listen up kids, here's where I'm going to let you make decisions (with a lowercase 'd') and here's where you're going to do what you're told: 

5 Decisions My Kids Can Make:

  1. Toothpaste -- As long as you're brushing your teeth, I really don't care if you use mommy's minty fresh version or your (disgusting, by the way, but hey, go for it) strawberry flavor.
  2. Mealtime -- You are free to choose from broccoli or cucumbers. There, do you feel empowered now?
  3. Playtime -- Knock yourself out kid, it's all you. Just don't forget I told you so when your brother runs over you on the scooter.
  4. Birthday Presents for Other Kids -- I wouldn't get a 4-year-old a Barbie, but if that's what you think he really wants ... don't worry, you'll get full credit for this one.
  5. After-School Activities -- Because there's no way I'm forcing a toddler to "play" if he doesn't want to.

5 Decisions No One Is Making But Me:

  1. Bath Time -- Yes, you must wash your butt. No, not before you wash your face.
  2. Decor -- I'm sorry, but if one more Dora the Explorer sticker winds up on your bedroom wall, all stickers will be banned from the house. That's right, I said ALL stickers.
  3. Lunchbox -- We tried it your way, and now you're iron deficient. It's all fish and whole grains from here on out.
  4. Vacations -- Because we all know you'd go to LEGOland every single day if it were up to you.
  5. Clothing -- Sorry, you blew it when you insisted on wearing a dress every single day for two years. We'll talk again when you're in high school.

Enjoy your few freedoms, kids, that's all you're gonna get.

Do you let your toddler make his own decisions?

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