Choices, Cookies & Kids: A Creative Approach to Discipline

I watched the brief video “Choices, Cookies & Kids: A Creative Approach to Discipline” by Dr. Garry Landreth. The concept of this video was that you should offer your children big and small choices, based on their development. Big choices should be reserved for older children, and small choices for younger. We should shape our consequences to actions on the basis that children are making a choice. He gave the example of his daughters fighting in the car, and that they were going to make a choice to lose their television privleges for the day if they chose to fight in the car. His younger son had to choose to put his pajamas away in the morning in order to choose to watch his Mr. Rogers episode.

Using this approach, we empower our children to realize they have options and they are making decisions that have consequences. Dr. Landreth reiterated to his children that the moment they made the choice of not obeying, then they had already made the choice for their consequence. Even if a child goes back to fix the mistake, then they still had to bear the consequence (a lost privilege such as television, games, or dessert). Dr. Landreth offered several personal examples of how his children made the wrong choice for a few days but soon remembered and no longer made those same choices because they did not want the consequences.

Dr. Landreth suggested starting this method around 2 years of age, adjusting the size of the consequences and choices as needed. He said his daughter went to the pantry and got a stack of Oreos. He saw her and gave her the choice to keep one Oreo or choose to put them all back. A different scenario is that his daughter wanted a cookie right before dinner. He said she could choose to have the cookie after dinner with ice cream or have the cookie after dinner with a glass of milk- thus redirecting the cookie eating until after dinner. He said to keep choices simple and not to “overdose” on choices. Work on one major thing at a time. 

This is just one approach to discipline, I thought the video was insightful so I should share a brief recap. I do not think that any one approach will be effective with every kid. Just thought I'd share!