S2E11 – Using the Choice-Giving Skill at Home: The Key to Reducing Power Struggles

Apr 25, 2024

In this episode, I discuss how to practically apply the “choice giving” pillar from the child-centered play therapy parenting framework. I cover two types of choices to give your kids:

Empowerment Choices

– Give your kids choices just for the sake of letting them feel empowered and in control
– Examples: Let them choose how to get to the car (hold your hand or push the cart), what to eat/drink, what to wear, where to sit in the car, what music to listen to, etc.
– This gives your kids a measure of control within your set boundaries

Enforcement Choices

– Give choices tied to reinforcing a limit you’ve set
– Map the choices to your child’s original desire/want
– Example: If they want to go play before dinner, the choices could be play with friends after dinner or watch TV after dinner

I emphasize using the word “choose” multiple times when offering choices to make it clear the child has the power to decide. Giving choices reduces power struggles, builds self-confidence, and helps kids practice decision-making skills.

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Cochran, N., Nordling, W., & Cochran, J. (2010). Child-Centered Play Therapy (1st ed.). Wiley.
VanFleet, R., Sywulak, A. E., & Sniscak, C. C. (2010). Child-centered play therapy. Guilford Press.
Landreth, G. L. (2002). Play therapy: The art of the relationship (2nd ed.). Brunner-Routledge.
Bratton, S. C., Landreth, G. L., Kellam, T., & Blackard, S. R. (2006). Child parent relationship therapy (CPRT) treatment manual: A 10-session filial therapy model for training parents. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
Benedict, Helen. Themes in Play Therapy. Used with permission to Heartland Play Therapy Institute.

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