Sunday, October 7, 2012

I Can Choose

I've been going through some materials I saved from my previous job recently.  I had some cleaning to do, as well as hunt for a refresher to help me handle the nearly five year old "attitude" I've been getting from Aidan lately.  He's been moody, sassy, and angry, which makes me moody, sassy, and angry right back at him.  I know, how mature and adult of me, I'm the parent, right?

As I dug through copies of trainings I've done, and notes I've taken, I found a couple of books I purchased at a conference that I had forgotten about; I Choose and I Choose Too, written by Suzin Helen Carr and illustrated by her son.  One is geared toward children, the other toward adults.  Both are very simple and short reading material that focus on how we make choices every day, from the actions we take, to the attitudes we project to others.
As I re-read I Choose Too, it reminded me that I ultimately have the choice in how I react to Aidan's behavior.  Do I choose to let it get under my skin, get into a power struggle, and likely make the situation worse?  Or do I choose to stop, take a breath, and remind myself that he is a child, testing his boundaries and his place in the world?

A child's brain can exercise the use of some executive thinking skills, like problem solving and self-control.  But the brain also takes around twenty-five years to mature and fully develop those skills.  That being said, a child most likely does not realize he or she has a choice when it comes to their emotion driven behaviors.  I needed a reminder that I have a choice, and I'm thirty-one!

Aidan saw me looking through the books the other week and asked what I was reading.  "It's about making choices."  I told him.  We looked at the book together and talked about what it meant for us, for me, and for him.  It was a perfect way to take what we'd been battling over and make it neutral.

I can choose to observe what triggers his attitude.
I can choose to be aware of what triggers me.
I can choose to teach him what appropriate tools are available to him.
I can choose to teach my child that he has a choice, instead of forgetting to focus on what's more important!

What do you do to remind yourself that you have a choice?  How do you help teach your children that they have a choice?

**Check out the link under the image above if you're interested in finding out more about Suzin Carr's books.  This post was not sponsored.**


  1. Great post, so true! I always say (to myself) you can't change unless you're honest about it with yourself, first!

    I love that the drawings in the books you listed were done by a child!

    1. I agree Lisa, it's such a hard thing to do, I have to work at it every day!

  2. Love it! I'm always reminding myself (and my husband) that we can't be in control of J's behaviors, only how we react to them. I find that my attitude totally contributes to J's attitude, so I try to stay calm. I fail sometimes, but I try. I really like your list of things you do have a choice on, like noticing his triggers and teaching him coping skills. Thanks for the reminder and the great post!

    1. I have to work at it every day Amanda. Sometimes I feel like it's harder as he gets older because he verbalizes his thoughts and feelings so well that I have to remind myself he's only 4! Then I also have to think about how no matter how old we are, other people's attitudes and feelings can affect our behaviors whether they are positive or negative.

  3. GREAT POST. I am sharing it:)

  4. really great post, one we can all reflect on and learn from. Thanks so much for sharing, I'm pinning this to the Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board and featuring on Taming the Goblin's SPP post this week

  5. Such a great post - and I love the being aware of triggers. thanks for sharing this week at The Sunday Showcase.


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