Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Choices have consequences

Ok world, I need your opinion.

Twice today, my dd (who is 3 yrs old) made a decision, only to renege on it a few minutes later and then proceed to pitch a fit. For example:

Me: What do you want for breakfast?
DD: Yogurt.
Me: Big one or small one?
DD: Big
(I open the big one and hand it to her)
DD: Nooooooo! I want a small one. I don't want this one.
Me: You told me you wanted a big one so that's what I opened. Now you have to eat it.
DD: Nooooo. (more whining, etc.)
Me: No more whining. You said you wanted a big one, I opened it for you and now you have to eat it. I'm not getting something else for you for breakfast.

Typed out it sounds a lot harsher than I think I delivered it but that's another story altogether. Later in the day she decided she wanted to try strawberry milk (yay for trying since she's a VERY picky eater) but when she chose it, I told her that if she didn't like it, I wasn't going to buy another one. Of course, she took about 4 sips, told me she liked it, but then refused to drink any more. She then decided to plead with me that she was sooooo thirsty and please would I buy her regular milk to which I told her no.

Choices have consequences. But is she too young to learn that or for me to try to teach her?


  1. Not sure if my advice has any merit whatsoever at my age, but as someone who has worked with children for a few years, babysat extensively, and taken child development and social psychology, I've learned a thing or two. My opinion is that she's not too young to learn this - if you were to give in to her, she'd develop the psyche that Mommy will give me whatever I want. She is merely trying out her boundaries and testing you to see what she can get. It's a purely psychological process here: she makes a decision on instinct (she wanted that big yogurt), but then realizes she had the power to change things if she so desires. So she tries. "No, I want the small one instead." And then when she isn't successful, she whines to change it and get attention.

    When you stand your ground, you teach her that she can't act in that she is going to get what she asks for. If you give in, she learns (by operant conditioning) that she'll get her desired outcome by whining and pulling you along.

    So my idea is no, she is not too young to learn that...and you should definitely teach her to avoid future problems and spoiled princesses. :)

  2. Good for you. Our motto was eat it or wear it. Our daughter did wear one meal. Never again. She was a teenager at the time. When I was growing up there were no choices. You ate what was put down to you and liked it.