It’s 20 degrees outside, and my
five-year old tells me she wants to wear her sundress to
preschool when I ask her what she wants to wear. What do I
It is hard to say no to your child. One way to be able to say yes often
is to only give choices that are acceptable. A key phrase to
remember as a parent is “freedom within limits.” Instead of
asking your child, “What do you want to wear today?” you
might ask “Do you want to wear your green sweater or your
purple shirt to preschool today?” You are allowing the child
to choose what to wear, but you define the range of
permissible choices. Using this strategy consistently
throughout childhood for topics from clothing and food
choices to deciding which extracurricular activities to
pursue can make both you and your child happy.
Source: Deborah B. Smith, Ph.D., Sociology, Family Studies Program, University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Last update: Wednesday, May 13, 2009