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How do you find a balance between showing your children 'who's boss' and letting them have their independence/make their own choices?

(8 Posts)
ceebee74 Sun 31-Aug-08 13:28:42

This has been puzzling me for a while.

DS is 2.1 and has very strong opinions on what he wants to wear (i.e. has to have Thomas/Percy/James on it [grin). Very occasionally, and with long negotiations, I can get him in something else but I tend to save this for special occasions rather than everyday as it is just not worth the tantrums that ensue if I force him to wear something he doesn't want to.

But, when I have told people this, I get a lot of comments like 'who is in charge in your house then??' etc.

To me, I am giving him his independence and, as I am not going to be picking his clothes for him when he is a teenager, I don't really see the harm in letting him choose now if he has such strong feelings about it.

But is this wrong - should I be showing him who is boss??

beansmum Sun 31-Aug-08 13:34:36

I let ds choose where possible. So he chooses what to wear but he has to wear a jacket if it's raining, he chooses how much to eat but I choose what I put on his plate, he chooses when he wants his hair cut but he has to keep it out of his eyes. He's not the boss but I do get funny looks when I explain why he has hair down to his shoulders and is wearing his trousers back to front.

PortAndLemon Sun 31-Aug-08 13:35:46

I want my DCs to be adults with the confidence to know their own mind and make their own decisions, and they aren't going to manage that if they never get to make a decision or be in control of any part of their own lives.

So, if it doesn't matter (e.g. what DS is going to wear today) then he gets to make the decision. If it's something important or impractical, then I get to make the decision. Stuff in the middle we can discuss.

MorocconOil Sun 31-Aug-08 13:36:29

I let my DC choose their own clothes. They sometimes look odd but they're developing their own style, and learning by trial and error about weather appropriate clothing.

They have tried to make their own food, which I have allowed unless they try to use the cooker or sharp knives.

It's good to let them develop independence skills and a sense of control, unless they put themselves or others at risk of danger.

Not sure that answers your question though.

Mamazon Sun 31-Aug-08 13:39:00

I get this from my mum when DD (3.11) turns up wearing something less than bodenesque.
i say "she picked it herself" and i am responded to with "well she is not yet 4, you should be choosing what she wears"

if we go shopping for clothes i will show her teh items i pick up and if she says she doesn't liek them we dont get them.

As long it isn't too terrible (swimwear n december) then she can wear what she likes.
if we need to go somewhere and there is a specific outfit she needs to weari pull out the outfit and another that is totally wrong and say ooh what shall we wear today? i quite like this nice pretty one..or maybe this other one here? what do you think.

she will alwyas pick te one i describe as pretty.

Miggsie Sun 31-Aug-08 13:40:06

I take the view that some fights are important for you to assert yourself in, mostly the safety stuff, such as "don't touch the iron" "don't play with scissors" and animals such as "don't pull the cats tail".
If DD decides she MUST wear a dress and NO socks, and NO coat on a freezing day I let her, but take warm things along with me. I say beforehand "you may get cold, tell me if you do, I have warm clothes".
That way, she has asserted her independence, and she always then does ask for the coat and keeps warm, so we both get our own way and honour is satisfied.

From her point of view (and your sons)they are at the mercy of you/me the all powerful giant, who makes all the rules and tells them what to do a LOT, and she/he gets annoyed with this (who wouldn't?) so I let some things ride. It's a question of deciding what is important. Non matching socks are annoying, but not important; learning not to whack fellow diners over the head while in a cafe IS important and she gets told off.

Why not let him decide what to wear (I bet you buy the clothes!) if he wants, it may be his only real personal bit of expression that day?!

The only thing I would draw the line at is what my SIL does, as her DD will only wear ONE T-Shirt so each night SIL washes, dries and irons it! I wouldn't do that! I do washing twice a week and that's it!

pgwithnumber3 Sun 31-Aug-08 13:41:38

I too let (within reason) DD1 choose what she wants to wear. For a couple of years all she would wear was shorts in summer (soft ones) with T-shirts or vests and tracksuit bottoms in the Winter. I could get a dress on her at a push.

Now, at nearly 6, she is starting to get really fashion conscious and is starting to figure out what looks right with what. I think they need to develop their own sense of style.

ceebee74 Sun 31-Aug-08 13:47:47

This has made me feel better that I am not letting my DS walk all over me.

Miggsie - shock at your SIL - I would definitely draw the line at that!! If I tell DS a particular t-shirt is dirty and in the wash, he does accept that and picks another (Thomas) one - in fact that is one of the tactics I use to get him to wear something else occasionally wink

I do prefer to keep the 'fights' for more important stuff although it does make me sad to think of all those lovely clothes I bought for him sat in his drawer unworn <sigh>

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