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My young daughter has very strong preferences about what she likes and doesn't like. She's not obsessive and her "hot" preferences change often but she voices her opinions and preferences for every activity. Are we spoiling her or letting her be too picky when we let her have her preferences?


- Jay and Marsha, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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Listen to Doctor Katherine's Answer...  

DR. LARSON'S ANSWER:
This is an important question, because identifying preferences is one beginning step for children to take charge of their own life and learn who they really are and what their unique sacred life mission is.

Jay and Marsha, thank you for the question. I love this question because it directly addresses one of the most important Inspired Kids Success Secrets. The skill I call Stake A Claim.™

"Stake a Claim" is about learning to take ownership of our life.

Of course, taking ownership means a child understands that they create their life and reality completely. Teaching children to "Stake A Claim" is about helping children understand that they have 100% responsibility for how they feel, how they think and how they act. They own their life, they stake a claim to it.

And of course, staking a 100% claim to one's life is the only way to achieve true joy and freedom.

So, first I'd say... NO, you're not spoiling her by letting her have her preferences - it's a good thing.

In fact, I'd say, try to let her have her preference as much as possible.

as long as she's also learning that other's may not have the same preference as she does.

That she can't always have her preference.

Help her develop the habit and skills of creating win-win solutions and respecting other's choices.

If all that's going on,

then honoring her preferences is fantastic.

Why?

Because this is how she begins to learn that she is unique, that she has individual passions and is responsible for how she feels and what she believes.

The crucial concept here is that

too many people reach adulthood and never achieve

their dreams and desires

because they failed to figure out

specifically and in a compelling way

what they want. They don't know how they prefer life

to be for themselves. Or they don't feel their

preferences are important.

Knowledge and self-awareness begins in early childhood with learning about who we are as unique people - part of our uniqueness is our preferences.

Unfortunately, too often people

learn to make other

people's preferences more of a priority than their own

or they learn to feel that their preferences are wrong or of lesser value than the opinions others have.

They begin to give up ownership of who they are. In fact, they begin to own other people's preferences... and other people's passions. Their life is not their own.

Parents, especially, have to avoid communicating to their child that their own preferences are correct or more worthy than the child's.

So, part of teaching a child to get in touch with who they naturally and uniquely are

is helping them identify their preferences and what brings them joy and energy.

Not only identify... but celebrate their uniqueness.

So I encourage you to acknowledge your daughter's favorite color, author, joke, singer, etc.

Which means you would not use the word "picky" or other derogative word to describe the fact that your child has preferences.

Inotherwords, validate the concept of uniqueness in an honoring way.
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