As children grow up, they have to be taught to be independent and allowed to make decisions. Independence gives them the freedom to make choices and by letting them do this, we show them, we trust them and have faith in their ability to make the right choice.
The first step is giving information, so that they can make informed choices. Often, teenagers don’t always foresee the result of their decisions and this is where the knowledge comes in, helping them make good decisions especially when we are not around to do their thinking for them guide them.
Making decisions is not easy even for us as parents as we risk being over-protective or being too lenient with freedom. Our duty is to make sure they have the processes in place along with the opportunity to actually make those decisions, then explain the steps involved, and give practice.
How do I do this?
I’ve always learned by example and follow the same thing with my son. I give him examples – or case studies. I tell him to ask himself the following questions:
- What is my goal?
(To prepare for an exam)
- What do I need to do to reach them?
(study well, and this involves planning the portion I will cover every day, setting aside a time for each chunk to cover)
- What are the advantages and shortcomings of these options?
(advantages – great plan if followed. Shortcomings – if there is extra school work due the next day, it will cut into study time)
- Which is the best one?
(follow the plan. Wake up an hour earlier every day)
- Assessment time – what went right what went wrong?
(skipped study hour some days and couldn’t wake up an hour early some days)
- How can I improve?
(work in an hour of daily study to go through what was taught in school so that studying before exams is easier)
This is only a basic example – but you get what I mean! It also works for working on school assignments, projects and any other event that needs preparation.
Along the way, this also develops self-study skills and a sense of responsibility since, they will be able to decide for themselves and prioritize their work – so you don’t have to hang around with them or hound them to study.
When my son was younger, we helped him develop decision making skills with the following:
- Help him make a shopping list (planning) and then let him shop, choosing between similar products
- Telling him stories that involved decision making and asking, what would you have done and why
- Menu planning – make him prepare a time table for the week’s menu and build the shopping list for ingredients
These are great life skills too. And children just love to be grown up, don’t they? Leverage it, help them grow into smart people! After all, decision-making is a life skill that helps people live with purpose rather than wander aimlessly.
How do you teach your child decision making skills? Please share!
Vidya Sury is a happy work-at-home Mom, freelance writer, business blogger, aspiring author and social media explorer. She takes one day at a time and enjoys sharing what she learns. She loves coffee, books, music, cooking, DIY, people and life. Her hobbies are collecting smiles and inspiring happiness. She hopes to find the cure for infobesity. She blogs at Vidya Sury, Coffee With Mi and Your Medical Guide and tweets as @vidyasury
Editor’s Note : Team Parentous wishes Vidya Sury, a Happy Birthday and every success in the coming year.