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Too much choice for the grandchildren?

(101 Posts)
Janeymar12 Fri 30-Jul-21 19:34:49

My GC are 3 &5. I notice their parents seem to give them so many choices: choices of food, choices of what to wear, where to go and what to do. Whatever happened to an easier life where us the parents made the decisions? My DIL seems very stressed with it all, but I don’t feel I can say anything. Is it me or has parenting changed so much?

MissAdventure Fri 30-Jul-21 19:37:11

I always gave choices.
"Be quiet, or go to bed"
"Eat it, or go without".
That kind of thing. smile

Sara1954 Fri 30-Jul-21 19:40:59

I still do that with my grandchildren, works wonders.

MissAdventure Fri 30-Jul-21 19:44:08

I do think children can be given too much choice.
It's easier to say "it's cold out, so do you want to wear your red trousers or the blue ones?"

Luckygirl Fri 30-Jul-21 19:46:28

MissAdventure grin

Shelflife Fri 30-Jul-21 19:49:40

Parenting has indeed changed . Children are given choices and IMO it happens too much . Nothing wrong with giving children options - occasionally! However many children are overwhelmed with the pressure of making decisions . Would they like this , this or this for tea !? Would they like wear to this or this . Children often feel safer having decisions made for them . Of course children do appreciate having the opportunity to make their own choices but this should be a privilege not a right . Old fashioned I know but I do think many parents are of the opinion that to consistently give their children a choice they are showing respect for their children. I feel the present generation of parents are forgetting that children are not mini adults!

Tangerine Fri 30-Jul-21 19:49:55

I think too many choices can be confusing for children. A bit like too many things to choose from in a restaurant. You end up not fancying any of it.

ayse Fri 30-Jul-21 19:51:48

Now my grandchildren are 6 they get more grown up choices such as ‘it’s wet outside, I suggest you wear wellies otherwise your feet will get wet. If you decide not to we are not coming home to change”.

It generally only takes one lived experience and very wet and cold feet to get one of the twins, who always knows best to take note for next time. It’s so useful to say “do you remember last time …….”

MissAdventure Fri 30-Jul-21 19:52:12

Then you end up eyeing up everyone else's dinner, wishing you had chosen what they're having.

Deedaa Fri 30-Jul-21 19:56:45

You need to offer some choice because it will help to avoid a flat out "NO" and the ensuing arguments. "Put your shoes on" instantly invites a "No" Would you like to wear your shoes or your trainers ?" means they will hopefully agree to one or the other. The same with clothes and food. "Would you like sausages or fish fingers?" is easier than just saying "what would you like to eat?" It's finding a balance between too little choice and too much.

Galaxy Fri 30-Jul-21 20:01:12

Are you sure this is what is making your DIL stressed?

MerylStreep Fri 30-Jul-21 20:02:29

It’s not so much my grandchildren’s parents that are guilty of this but their Grandfather.
When he asks them what they want to eat it’s almost as if they are presented with a restaurant menu.
The joke is they nearly always stump for carbonara.

Hithere Fri 30-Jul-21 22:18:48

They are parenting their way, as you did your own different way

No, kids deserve to have choices in what they eat, do, dress, etc
They have their own personalities and tastes, help with being assertive and know who they are

Kids are not puppets, they are people

MissAdventure Fri 30-Jul-21 22:23:10

The choices need to be age appropriate.
In other words, give a small child too many, and it overwhelms them.

Hithere Fri 30-Jul-21 22:29:53


Not at all.
I ask my kids: what do you want for dinner? And they know very well the answer.

GagaJo Fri 30-Jul-21 22:32:47

My grandson responds well to a choice (the blue socks or the red socks?). He's hilarious when he verbally thinks about it, 'Ummmm. Ummmmm.' It does defuse the not wanting to put his socks on argument. His mum does the count to three if he still doesn't cooperate. I just put him on my lap and wrestle the socks on.

MissAdventure Fri 30-Jul-21 22:38:41

I disagree, hithere, as does 'psychology today'.
Whatever works for you, though. smile

Chewbacca Fri 30-Jul-21 22:43:39

I agree with MissAdventure in that a limited, age appropriate choice is best. Too much choice and squabbles break out because they all want something different. Too little choice, or no choice at all and there's usually a sulk because that's not what any of them wanted. Choice of 2 and that's it.

Callistemon Fri 30-Jul-21 22:52:34


I always gave choices.
"Be quiet, or go to bed"
"Eat it, or go without".
That kind of thing. smile

I did enjoy that post MissAdventure!
It cheered me up no end before I went to bed and I certainly needed it.


And this:
I do think children can be given too much choice.
It's easier to say "it's cold out, so do you want to wear your red trousers or the blue ones?"

Yes, those are the best tactics, the child thinks it has some autonomy but in fact it's limited.

MissAdventure Fri 30-Jul-21 22:56:05

Glad to have cheered you, Calli

Callistemon Fri 30-Jul-21 22:57:33

'What would you like for dinner?'
'Spaghetti bolognaise with garlic bread please'

'Oh dear, I've run out of spaghetti and we've no garlic bread'

A 2 or 3 year old might have a tantrum, a 9 year old might shrug and say 'that's ok, anything you cook is lovely'.

Callistemon Fri 30-Jul-21 22:58:06


Glad to have cheered you, Calli

Thank you

Grannynannywanny Fri 30-Jul-21 23:09:31

I tell my grandchildren that when I was a child I had 2 choices every dinner time.. take it or leave it 😀

jenpax Sat 31-Jul-21 09:17:58

A couple of dinner choices are fine, but you have to be careful you don’t end up running a restaurant if there is more than one child! My DD has 3 DS and if asked they would all pick totally different options.😱

halfpint1 Sat 31-Jul-21 10:20:30

I brought my 4 children up on a smallholding in france in 90's onwards. No choice,ever.
Today 2 are vegetarian and the other 2 semi vegetarian.
As children they learnt that something had to die if they wanted meat on their plates. They are now passing this on to their offspring
.Job well done!