Children don’t do as they are told, but they do as they see.

Yes, children do what they see.


Brene BrownIsn’t it wonderful to see Brene Brown using and promoting the use of Choice Theory in her personal life and parenting. Thank you Brene. If you google the link below you’ll find the full article, and many more if you search Brene Brown and Choice Theory.

For myself, I came to Choice Theory in the early 1990’s, I had just separated, my sons were babies, I was making ends meet, parenting, working, studying, my health wasn’t great, and life on an everyday basis was difficult. To say I was choosing a fair amount of misery back then, would have been an understatement. If we know better, we do better, and this was the best I could do with what I had at that time.

Choosing misery as a response to life’s difficulties was something the world around me as a child taught me. Of course I was going to bring that into my adult life. It was just how life was back then. Children don’t do as their told, but they certainly do as they see! I wanted my sons to have a different approach, tools, and mindset to life than I had growing up in 1960’s Ireland. Knowledge is power, and when I received knowledge of CT/RT, it wasn’t possible to choose misery again without taking responsibility for choosing it.

So I’d like to go back in time and share this little story with you. I come home from work one cold wet wintery evening to do what’s required raising two energetic young boys. My youngest son was about 4 at the time. As I’m cooking dinner in the kitchen I can hear him in the sitting room using the sofa trampoline style. I was by this stage a student and huge fan of Glasserian psychology and was attempting to teach it to my sons.

On my third attempt to save him from hurting himself, and the sofa, and after using Choice Theory with him to no avail on the other two attempts, I re-entered the room and said the deadly words anyone who uses Choice Theory knows instantly was not wise, I said to him, “please Karl, you’re making Mammy angry”. The room went quiet. He stopped short and his little hand went up in a gesture that told me he wasn’t having a bar of this – “no Mammy, I’m not making you angry, no one can make you angry, you’re choosing to be angry”!

That was the day when I seen that my son had internalized the theory. He had just certified in Choice Theory and he didn’t even know it. And that was the end of me using external control on him! As much as I wanted to initially kill him that day for calling me out on my behaviour of blaming, it was also one of my proudest days as a parent. He had a tool now that would greatly benefit him in how he related in this world. No way would he ever accept responsibility for someone else’s misery. Job done! He had just received and cashed in on the only worthwhile inheritance I could give him. His personal power to choose what is authentically right for him, while respecting and relating well with those around him. And the beauty of this is that the generations that follow will be beneficiaries of this inheritance too!

I often share this story with students when they come to us at WGII to learn Choice Theory. Choice Theory is for anyone who relates. And let’s face it, we all relate in this world. Whether as a parent, family member, lover, friend, teacher, counselor, manager, the list is endless, but to survive well in this world it helps greatly when we relate well.

Dr Glasser’s Theory had such a huge positive impact on my life that I teach it to everyone, whether directly or indirectly, who chooses to interact with me. From the counseling room to the classroom to the supermarket. People often ask me “so how do I teach it to my children”? You don’t. You model it.

I loved seeing this article on Brene Brown. I have no doubt, as I’m sure she has no doubt either, that Choice Theory is a huge part of how she relates her wonderful message so well to us all in this world. Perhaps she’d keynote for us at one of our conventions in the future? Wouldn’t that be an inspirational keynote!

Wishing you all a wonderful day filled with great Choices!

Norah Finn,
Alethea Counseling, Psychotherapy, Supervision and Training Services | Faculty – WGII.