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Nashville, Ark. – Each day we make choices. What to wear? What to eat? What do I buy?
While, some choices are just routine, others can be a little more challenging. How
does a person learn to make choices? It all begins in childhood. Children need practice
to make good choices. The better a child learns to make good choices, the more successful
they will be in life.
Parents can provide choices early in life. Infants can make a choice such as a preference
to eat squash or sweet potatoes. Young children can make a choice of which book to
read before bedtime. As children get older, they can be allowed more freedom in their
By providing opportunities for children to make choices about little things when they
are young, they will be better prepared to make choices about big things when they
grow older. Parents can guide their children in making choices by offering two or
three alternatives, all of which would be okay. For example, deciding what to wear
is more successful if the parent provides two or three options instead of opening
the closet and saying, “What do you want to wear today?” Not only are more choices
confusing to children, but the idea that they choose from a limited number helps them
start to grasp a rather complex concept – that not all choices are available or wise.
Freedom with limits is a good concept to teach. For example, imagine the child needs
new shoes. The parent might set these limits: 1) I have this amount of money to spend.
2) They need to be able to wear them to school. 3) Winter is coming on, so you will
need something warm. Suppose your child picks out a pair that fits all three of these
limits, but you don’t like them. As a parent, you can explain your concerns, but the
child should be able to make the choice. Keep in mind, adults don’t like to be forced
to do things and neither do children. Does it really matter if you don’t like them?
Remember to pick your battles wisely.
There are times parents should let their children live with their choice. Did they
blow their entire allowance on candy when they really wanted to save for a special
toy? That was their choice. Be gentle but firm in teaching them to live with their
choices. Avoid bailing them out or in this case replacing the allowance foolishly
spent. They will not learn from the experience. In fact, they may develop the attitude,
Mom and Dad will always fix it. Parents could fix these small mistakes, but they can’t
fix the larger poor choices they may make later. Be consistent.
As children get older, parents still need to guide their children in making choices.
Limits are still important. “Yes, you can go to the ballgame with a friend. However,
you are not to leave town or ride with someone else unless you ask permission first.”
When a child reaches their teenage years, the choices become even more complicated.
Parents should still set limits. “You may go to the party, but if alcohol is a part
of it, call me. I will come get you.” As children prove their dependability, trust
So, what if your child doesn’t make good choices. Parents should avoid:
Parenting is sometimes a challenge. Keep in mind that good parent/child relationships
form when children know their parents love them and value them. We all want our children
to grow up independent, responsible adults. Providing choices early in life can help
them learn to make good decisions later in life.
For more information on parenting issues, contact the Howard County Extension Service
and check out “Family Time Tips” at https://www.uaex.uada.edu/life-skills-wellness/personal-family-well-being/parenting from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
Recipe of the Week
Need a great after school snack or meal that is easy to make and nutritious? Try these
little pizzas. Be creative and add your favorite vegetables as extra toppings and/or
low-fat sour cream and salsa.
1 can low-sodium refried beans
6 fajita-size whole-wheat tortillas
¾ cup reduced-fat shredded cheese
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1 cup corn (drained and rinsed if canned)
1 cup lettuce
Optional: add cooked chicken or lean ground beef for more protein
Wash hands and preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil for
easy clean up.
Spread ¼ cup refried beans on each tortilla. Lay tortillas on prepared baking sheets
so they do not touch.
Top with corn, tomatoes and any other vegetables of your choice (such as diced peppers
Sprinkle each tortilla with 2 tablespoons of cheese.
Bake 15-20 minutes or until crisp.
Cut into quarters, and top with lettuce, sour cream and salsa (if desired).
Yield: 6 servings
By Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital
or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.