We hate to break it to you, but making decisions for your kids will do them more harm than good. Here’s how you can nurture your children into becoming independent little decision makers.
As overprotective parents, we often think that it’s easier to make the call for our children. But little did we know that this authoritative parenting style is depriving them of the opportunity to make good choices. It’s an important life skill that should be taught early on in life so they go on to become confident, well-rounded adults. Folks, time to take a step back from the decision-making process and let your child take charge!
For younger children, it may not be a good idea to give them total freedom in making decisions before they reach a certain level of independence. We recommend starting off slow and gradually working your way up as they progress in age and maturity. Take baby steps by making little, age-appropriate choices to help them get into the habit of decision-making.
For instance, instead of letting them pick out their favourite toys at your local Toys R Us, lay out a few choices for them – “Baby shark, dinosaurs or Elsa?” – so they can evaluate their options and settle on what they like best. Even something as trivial as deciding on what time to go to sleep or what they want to wear for the day, is a simple way to boost their self-confidence and make them feel in control. Remember to always encourage your child to think before acting, and to weigh the pros and cons before making any decision.
Get them involved
As they grow older, you can start to involve them in bigger decision-making processes for the family. Start by seeking out their thoughts on how to spend the weekend, then proceeding to let them have a say in your upcoming holiday plans. Try your best to include their opinions in discussions as it shows that you appreciate and value their input, no matter how small.
Not only will they feel good about having a voice, it also gives them a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that will encourage them to make more significant contributions. Besides, these inquisitive little kiddos probably have better and more creative ideas than you do!
Learn from mistakes
Making mistakes is part and parcel of life. As much as we want to shield them from disappointment, treat it as an opportunity for them to reflect on their mistakes and take responsibility for their own choices. Instead of fixing the problem for them, deconstruct the decision and guide them into realising what went wrong so they will be equipped to make wiser decisions in the future. This will also make them less fearful of failure and be more willing to discover new things through trial and error.
As a mum, your role is to offer them support, encouragement and reassurance; it’s up to you to instill good values in your children so they can be well prepared to take on life’s challenges.