Choice Redirects Behavior

Here is an example of how choice can be used to redirect an impulse toward more responsible behavior—even with a very young child. It is part of a communication from a friend.

“I marvel at what my grandson understands and how he manages to communicate. The other night his parents went to dinner, and he started to cry real tears and scream. I picked him up and gave him a hug and proceeded to explain to him that mommy and daddy went to dinner and they would soon come back. Then I asked him if he wanted to keep on crying until they returned or play with his trains. The tears shut off like a switch! He loves Thomas the Train.

“I realized that I gave him the choice of taking responsibility for his behavior in that situation. Pretty cool, huh! He’s all of 28 months old!”

What choices can you offer children—both young and old—to help them choose responsible behavior?