Kids grow up so fast. One day you’re singing them a lullaby, then the next thing you know, they are full-grown adults trying to sneak out of the house or already living on their own. As they mature and gain real-life experiences, they eventually figure out how to make choices. But, no matter how simple it is to pick anything from A to Z, they can never really know the best choice, especially when they are in a tough position, without a little guidance. At times, they will only get to realize the right choice after the damage has already been done. When the time comes, you definitely want to have peace of mind that they know how to make decisions that are both wise and safe. You need to prepare your kids to get through these tough situations by teaching them how to be good decision-makers. Of course you want them to grow independently and responsibly in the future and being able to make wise judgments will sure guide their way. So, how can you make sure that you are raising wise decision-makers? Here are 5 simple ways you can do it!
Whether it’s choosing a good restaurant or deciding how to respond to a noisy neighbor, your kids have front row seats to how you make choices. Show them how you maneuver a situation by articulating what is going on inside your head. Guide them on how to pause, think, reflect, and evaluate until you reach a decision. Then, train them with the simplest encounters. Ask them from time to time: Which pair of shoes do you want to wear? Do you like the blue shirt better than the gray one? Do you like this flavor of the candy? These questions will help them exercise their brains and practice the whole decision-making process.
Every choice a person makes has an attached reaction or consequence and your kids need to know this. As a parent, highlight the fact that when they make a choice, it can either have a beneficial or a harmful result. So, how can you explain this to your little ones? You can start with house rules! Sit down with your kids (their involvement is very important) and create a list of house rules with a corresponding consequence or win. Point out what will happen if they do it or if they do not. The presence of both positive and negative outcomes is important for them to really understand the impact of their decisions.
Experience is the best teacher. Thus, let them experience life at its best and worst and allow them to make mistakes. It’s totally normal to allow them to make mistakes in order to learn. So, whether they are experiencing heartbreak from puppy love or a bad day in school, let them go through it. We know it will be an eyesore for you as a parent, but resist the urge to always rescue your children. Let them fall and stand up on their own. Remember, you are training them to grow responsibly, independently, and be prudent.
There are times you can step out of your parenting shoes and be their friend. Help them process their emotions by validating their thoughts and asking them why they feel that way or what situation made them feel certain emotions. If your kids do open up, make sure not to judge them. Put your motherly opinions on pause, take advantage of the chance to connect with your children, and allow them to have an opinion based on their own understanding of the situation. In time, they will learn how drive their own steering wheel.
Lastly and most importantly, you have to be a good model. Remember, it has to start at home. Kids are very observant, especially with their parents. From how you take care of yourself to handling your finances, they see your every move and mirror your actions. So, try and be the best example for your kids. Indeed, it is challenging. At the end of the day, you are just a human being, and you will make mistakes. That’s okay. Show them how you embrace a challenge and rise up from bad situations. By doing this, you will learn to be stronger for yourself and help your children prepare for real life.
All Pro Dad, 10 Ways to Teach Your Children to Make Wise Decisions.
Carson Walker, Are You Teaching Kids How To Make Good Decisions? Here’s How to Be Sure.