RULE OF PARENTING #4: Decision Making Skills: 4 Tips On Letting Your Kids Make Decisions

4 Tips On Decision Making Skills

Rules Of Parenting - # - Mother Daughter Reading RelaxedChildren face choices and problems that need to be thought through each day. This offers a great opportunity for acquiring vital decision-making skills they will require in the course of growing up and even as adults.

Here are some tips on how you can allow your child to make responsible decisions:

1. Start With Baby Steps

Admittedly, it is not easy for any parent to cede the power to make decisions to her child. Yet, it is essential that you start presenting choices to your children even when they are young. Does he want an orange or an apple? As children grow up, the range of decisions that they can make for themselves will also expand. They can decide what to dress or what sport to participate in.

The rule of thumb is to take things slowly. Consider your child’s age and their level of responsibility. Give some space for decision-making, but remember you are the parent.

2. Teach How To Prioritize

Young children and teens hardly understand the need to prioritize; they want everything now, they want to fulfil their immediate desires now. Responsible decision-making is about making priorities. As part of instilling decision-making skills in your kids, you must show them the importance of making priorities and how to do it. Even as young as four years, your child should learn to ask himself various questions in order to prioritize his wants and needs. Teach him to ask why he wants what he wants, what the choices on the table are, and what the consequences of choosing a certain way are. Then, he can make the final decision.

Teaching the value of prioritizing may take years but it will save your child a lot of heartache caused by irresponsible decisions.


3. Help them To Understand Consequences

To teach consequences, there needs to be set expectations. For your kids to make responsible decisions, they need to understand what is expected of them and what values your family cares about. The challenge therefore is to always tell your children what you expect in various situations; this way, they will be able to realize whether they are making a bad or good decision weighed against your expectations.

For example, tell your child what you expect when it comes to school — you want him to perform very well. He will understand that if he decides not to study and instead plays video games then performs poorly, he might be grounded or his games may be taken away. With clear expectations, your child is able to develop foresight and he can make a thorough evaluation of consequences.



4. Solve Problems Together

Some decisions are not easy to make. Choosing college majors, coming to an agreement about curfews, or advising on the types of friends your child can keep can be tough decisions. Often, these decisions end up into running battles and acrimony between the parent and the child. However, instead of putting your foot down adamantly when faced with the tough decisions take some time and listen to your child.

Understand why he is making a certain decision. Take turns to exchange your thoughts amicably and then ask if you can come to a compromise. Always encourage your child to weigh his priority and to understand the consequences before he can make a decision.


For parents, helping your child acquire the necessary decision making skills means getting out of the way and simply allowing your child to think for himself.


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