I know many grownups that cannot choose. It just so happened they were kids who could not choose and their parents did not help them overcome this. Not being able to choose is being overwhelmed by choices. Sometimes, it is so severe they struggle even when they have only two options to choose from. For some, it is a character trait (those kids seem to be procrastinators), but most have just had no chance to practice choosing and enjoy the ride.
The best way to get over this is to teach kids strategies for making decisions and to give them opportunities to practice. The most wonderful thing is that you need to do it systematically only for three weeks to start noticing change. Many of my clients, even those parenting babies and teenagers, say their kids have fewer “tantrums”, they express themselves better, it is much easier to communicate with them and they are more confident, more decisive and less “hormonal”.
Kids need to learn to make choices and it is our job to give them opportunities to do so in situations that are not so critical to allow them to gain confidence and learn that there are advantages and disadvantages to the options in front of them. You can give your kids opportunities in many areas of life.
In our home, we have been creating systematic ways to give the kids opportunities to make choices regarding food. They can choose what they want for dinner, what to make (if they are making it), what to buy from the market and how much to put on their plate.
When I was a girl, my mom used to serve us food and we had to eat whatever she put on our plate. Sometimes, she would put too much and we were forced to finish it. I never liked it and always thought it did not show respect to us kids and did not help us make our own judgment about how much would make us feel full. Kids can always have “seconds” and no one likes waste. Gal and I decided that in our family, the kids would serve their own food. When they were too young, we put a little bit and asked them, “One more spoon?” or “Would you like some more?” before putting it on their plate. Kids need to learn to say to themselves “That is enough for me” or “That is too much for me”. Let them serve their own food.
Read more about how to give your kids choices…