We often make decisions for our kids, instead of working with them on important decisions and listening to their wishes and preferences.
It’s often easier to take things into our own hands, as we want to spare our kids the heartache of messing things up. But in the process, we actually rob them of the opportunity to learn how to weigh the pros and cons, and take responsibility for their choices.
Good decision-making requires practice and learning from mistakes. Here’s how we can support our children through the decision-making process.
1. Let them make choices in safe settings
Let’s say you are planning an overnight camping trip. Give them the responsibility of packing their own things but provide them with key information to guide their decisions, such as, “It will be hot in the day but cool at night, so you may need to pack a blanket or sweater.”
If they choose to forego the warm clothing, they may have to bear the consequences of their decisions. While you don’t need to rub salt on their wound by saying, “I told you so”, it is a good idea to remind them that this is a valuable lesson to learn and that it often pays to heed a trusted adult’s advice.
Read also: 4 Secrets to Raising an Independent Child
2. Let them make small budgeting decisions
If you have school-going kids, let them decide how to spend and save their money. Giving them a weekly allowance will enable them to decide how to spend their money wisely.
For example, if they buy extra food during the week and some stationery at the bookshop, and have nothing left when Friday comes, run through with them how they can avoid such situations in future. Money sense is an essential skill that children need to develop as they grow.
3. Get them involved in family decisions
It is good to involve the kids in making certain family decisions. Start small, such as how to spend the weekend, and then after some months of practice, let them have a say in your upcoming vacation plans.
After deciding on a destination, your children can help plan part of the itinerary and places to go. Come up with a list of options for them to choose from, and talk through together which options make the best sense for your family. You can also check out family blogs or travel sites together while making these decisions.
Making decisions is never easy. But by letting our children in into the thinking process early on in life, we are empowering them with the tools and experience they need for making even bigger decisions later on. They will be better equipped to take on the challenges of life ahead.
Written by June Yong
© 2018 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.