No Choice Situations: Primary Decisions & Secondary Choices

All of us have situations in which there aren’t any choices, like living life. There are responsibilities that must be done. Children need to learn that they don’t always have a choice.

Many times decisions are made by parents or other adults. For example, parents are responsible for their children’s safety. For example, children can’t play with everything, like the stove or burner controls when helping make brownies. 1

Sometimes children can’t do something because of time constraints, like when parents need to drop the children off at pre-school or get to a medical appointment. Parents make the primary decision, it’s time to get ready, but then children can make subsequent, secondary choices, like what to wear.

A secondary choice for baking brownies is whether they want to pour in the water or crack the egg. Dr. Grossman, a child development expert, adds, “When children know that they will be given sufficient opportunities to choose for themselves, they are more willing to accept those important ‘no choice’ decisions adults must make for them.” 1

Today, when you have responsibilities you must do, make a primary decision. Then how can you allow your children to make secondary choices?


  1. “I did it myself!” Kate Southwood, Parenting, May 2006, pp. 118-120; 122-123.
  2. Image: choices-5230400_1280 []

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