Your child has to build his own future. He has to make his own decisions. And his decisions will decide how his future is going to be like. So, decision making is one of the most important skills your child needs to develop to become a healthy and mature adult. Teaching your child to make their own decisions has their own benefits. When they make good decision, they gain the greatest amount of satisfaction and fulfilment because they chose it. When they make a bad decision, they may suffer for it; they can learn from their mistake and gain experience to make better decisions in the future. By giving your child the full right to make their own decision in everything is unwise. It is a process based on age and maturity. Don’t give them the full right of making decision regarding everything at a small age as it can be dangerous. But begin to teach decision making in small doses even with very young children. And slowly begin to expand the number of choices you give them to make decisions. With each decision they make, they recognise whether the decisions were good or bad, and they are responsible for the consequences of that decision.
So, here are some tips on how you can build and develop your child’s decision making skills:
1. Give your child opportunities to make choices as it builds their sense of responsibility as well as decision making skills. It is important that the choice is really theirs, so provide options that you will be happy with no matter what they choose. Showing interest in their choices helps to reinforce that you see their decision as important.
2. Involve children in your everyday decisions. Talk to them about the advantages and disadvantages of each suggestion so your child can learn how to thoughtfully evaluate different options.
3. Teach them to identify the decision to be made. Then to think of the options they have. Tell them to evaluate the options and choose the best one. Check how his decision goes.
4. Asking open ended questions that prompt children to think through their reasons for choosing a particular option helps them to learn how to evaluate options and think through the consequences.
5. Let your children to set their own goals to work towards. Encourage child to plan and think ahead. It helps them to understand the link between decision making and taking actions. The goals should be achievable and motivating for a child. Steps needed to reach goals should be clear, small, definite and good for the child.
6. Don’t scold or be upset on your child for making a bad decision. Let them learn by trial and error and experience the result. Let them learn.
7. Set a good example for your kids. You should be the role model for your kids. You should take good decisions and balance your work and personal roles. So, by seeing you, your child will eventually learn and grow.
8. Young children and teens hardly understand the need to prioritize; they want everything now, they want to fulfill their immediate desires now. Responsible decision making is about making priorities. Apart from instilling decision making skills in your child, you must show them the importance of making priorities and how to do it. Teach him to ask questions like why he wants it and what he wants.
9. Simple board games and card games entertain children while providing a structured way for them to make choices and see the consequences of their choices. Keep the activity interesting by choosing a game based on favorite theme, such as dragons, cats, colors. Set up the game and reads instructions together. You can also promote critical thinking and decision making skills by allowing your children to negotiate rules with each other as they decide how they will play the game.
10. Allow poor decisions which will not have dangerous consequence on your kid. He will cry, but he will understand that consequence were due to his own decision.
The more decisions you can let your child make, the better. But remember there is a place for “no”. Healthy decision making requires parents to know they are the ones in power. They provide the structure, and their kids will learn better skills in the long run.
So, ENJOY IT!!