Giving Children Choices Cultivates Independence

Here’s a great idea …

In his book, Between Parent and Child, Haim Ginott says, “Give children a choice and a voice in matters that affect their lives. Children are dependent on their parents, and dependency breeds hostility. To reduce enmity, a parent provides children with opportunities to experience independence. The more autonomy, the less enmity, the more self-dependence, the less resentment of the parent.” (p. 202)

In other words …

If we want our children to grow up to be good decision makers, then we need to give them practice making decisions. We can give them a sense of control by giving them a choice between options that we approve of. We might let them choose whether they would like jam or honey on their toast, whether they’d like to wear the blue shirt or the red one, or which book they would like to read at bedtime.

How you can use this idea to have a better life …

Find ways to give your child some control over his or her life. The more you allow your child to make their own decisions, the more they will realize that their opinion matters and the more they will respect you.

To find out more …

about parenting, check out The Parenting Journey or See the World Through My Eyes programs at, follow us at or contact your local county Extension agent. You can also read Ginott’s Between Parent and Child.

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