If I could get everyone on Earth to be okay with allowing other options and choice, I think there would be world peace in a matter of minutes. When we try to overpower, control, and manipulate others, it leads to only rebellion, dissension, and resentment…even on a small scale.
As a parent, yes, there are times we must be the ones in charge especially if we see our children headed to difficult situations. However, 99% of the time, we can offer the refreshing opportunity of choice and options. Why? 1. The old parenting paradigm of top-down parenting is outdated, and frankly, quite useless on the enlightened, empowered humans entering bodies these days. It just doesn’t work. “Kids these days just aren’t what they used to be.” Yes, exactly! We need to alter the ways we parent them. 2. Everyone loves choices. It’s natural to want to choose. This Earthly experience is filled with choice everywhere. That is what makes it so awesome to live on this planet! We all naturally want choice. So do middle schoolers. And, 3. It is important to provide decision-making opportunities so that your child will be a decision-making adult.
Use as little as possible: must, ought to, and should. These limit, restrict, and narrow one’s life so use them only if necessary. “You should get clean before bedtime because you’ll feel better while sleeping.” “You could get clean before bedtime because you’ll feel better while sleeping.” Both have the same message. The child knows what you want in both sentences, BUT, one demands it. One gives the opportunity for the child to choose.
In this scenario, whether the child showers before bed or showers in the morning probably has little effect on the overall quality of his or her life. It is, however, a great opportunity for decision-making. The natural consequences of the choice will surface and be the teaching agent as the child may feel dirty, gross, and oily during the night. Yucky, stinky sheets may soon be evident. Or, on the other hand, the child will experience how nice it is to feel fresh while sleeping and the improved sleeping experience will be evident in the morning.
Either way, the child was afforded the opportunity to choose and experience the freedom of options. By eliminating these words: must, ought to, and should, you offer your child much for the preparation for adulthood.