Thoughts About Love & Logic: The Choices Technique
The beauty of offering a child a choice is that the child exercises control of his or her behavior with the parent’s blessing. The parent must be able to live with either choice the child makes. The first formula is a straightforward choice between two options. In the second formula, a positive consequence is proposed to the child if she makes one choice, and a negative consequence is proposed if she makes the other choice. In this way the child chooses the positive or negative consequence freely, freeing the parent from the blame for inflicting a punishment on the child.
Although the Love and Logic course presents several ways to phrase the choice, some of those ways actually sound like threats. The one that I think is by far the best is really not emphasized, but I find that has a power that the other formulations do not. Thus, I believe it is important that the parent start both options with “Would you rather…..” In this way the two options are clearly presented to the child as her choice. (The child essentially answers the question that is posed by saying, “I would rather do A instead of B.”) It is also important that both options be something the parent can live with, and can actually enforce without the child’s cooperation.