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Teaching kids to make good decisions

9 August
Posted by:
Michael Grose

I’ve written and spoken often over the years about how important it is to give kids some determination over their own lives. That means giving them chances to make little decisions about a whole bunch of stuff that impact on them.

Not only is this good practice for later on, it’s also about developing independence in kids too.

Independent kids are more likely to make decisions for themselves, than those who are always directed by adults.

But it doesn’t just happen. Here’s one way parents do decision-making with kids:

Parents rule: There are many BIG issues that are in parents’ domain revolving around health, safety, education & kids’ well-being.

Kids decide: There are some issues that kids can decide. Usually parent help is needed though. This will differ for many families but I personally like to give kids latitude over bedroom tidiness; the amount of food they eat; how they spend pocket-money; what they wear; their choice of leisure, and the like. Hint: Imagine you had a large family. Your kids would be making lots of decisions about personal issues!

Family decides: There are times when everyone has some input into how the family operates. Kids have input into routines, sorting out joint problems (e.g what to do with wet towels left on the floor?) and family rules including how mobiles, televisions and computers are used.

You start out as a parent when kids are young in Parents Rule mode. Your aim is to move to Children Decide mode!

You know they reached real independence when you stop telling them what to do as they are responsible enough to make their own choices and capable of recovering from poor ones.

Along the way, you involve kids in family decision-making processes so that they feel part of the family, and learn how to belong to their group through positive contribution.

That’s the theory! Putting it into practice is tricky! That’s were the work comes in. But it’s well worth the effort!

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