Kids like choices. In control and independent they feel when you let them decide.
I take full advantage of this and pull a parental fast one on my daughter using the weapon of choice.
The brat's giving whinny-lip about eating Brussels sprouts? Give her a choice.
"Hey little punk, I'll let you pick the side tonight. You want carrots or broccoli?"
She probably detests both, but let her decide and she'll pick broccoli with only mild hissing.
I extend the choosing game to the grocery store, she helps shop meals. If we come across something she pretend vomits at, I let her pull a healthy alternative. Girl is more likely to eat raw spinach when she's the one plucking it off the shelf and arcing it into the cart like a b-ball.
Pigtails has her own library card, which opens a heap of healthy choices. Rather than fighting to finish a book, I let her pick out 5 items at the library, books and movies. She's more motivated to sink a book if she checked it out. Or maybe she just likes the self-checkout lane and the beep-beep sound it makes when she swipes her card.
Girl doesn't realize I limit her choice range.
I enrolled her in a school where her friend selection list is mostly made up of kids with involved parents. Involved parents often leads to good kids. She chooses her friends, but I had a hand in the overall friend pool by the school she's in. Schoolhouse expects students to dress in a respectable manner, which stifles clothing spats. Pigtails knows the dress code: khakis and polo. Bam, end of story, no arguments. The kids look sharp, even the high schoolers. No droopy ass-crack jeans. They'll get an infraction if missing a belt, bubblegum is prohibited, and don't even think about bringing a cell phone to class. I like that.
I hope my daughter will let me help her choose college in 10 years. Young adults often find their eventual spouse there, so I care about where she enrolls.
Loving dad or sheltered upbringing that could backfire. What say you?