Regardless of the situation, the stimulus, or the impulse, people choose their responses. To do otherwise would be to operate from compulsion. This is the beauty of being human. Unlike animals, we humans need not succumb to our reflexes or emotions.
Furthermore, the less we succumb, the less we are driven by tyrannical obsessions. Therefore, one of our most important tasks as parents is to teach and model choice-response thinking—that even young people can be in control of their choices.
So as not to fall back on previous habits and approaches, it is necessary to become aware of our options. You can do this very simply by teaching your child a procedure. Have the youngsters say, “I am choosing to…” before taking an action.
For best results, this should be said out loud the first few times. Teaching young people to use this self-talk is one of the most effective lessons we can share.