Life is about a series of good choices and bad ones which we all make on a daily basis. Every choice you make has a positive or negative impact on your own or your child’s life. Choices are unavoidable. We have to make them every day, hundreds of times a day.
“Decision-making is one of the most important skills your children need to develop to become healthy and mature adults,” explains Jim Taylor Ph.D., a psychologist who specialises in parenting.
Choices are one of your child’s first introductions to responsibility. Giving children choices helps them feel like they have some power and control over what they do. It gives them a possibility to assert themselves and their unique personalities.
Giving children choices teaches them how to make decisions, builds their self-esteem, develops problem solving skills, independence and makes them feel more powerful and in control of their lives. It teaches them to take ownership of their choices, the value of sacrificing one thing for another and makes them feel that their point of view is valued.
Start With Simple Choices That You APPROVE!
Don’t give them too many choices. Otherwise it can be overwhelming. And actually can be paralyzing to kids. A good way to start giving children choices is to select two or three things and let the child choose from them. Keep it simple. With small children, you can start with choosing what to wear, what to eat or what to play. As the child gets older one can offer them a broader range of choices.
Let Them Mess Up
Usually, you make good decisions because you have learnt from making bad ones. When your children make bad decisions, they may suffer for it, but they can learn from the experience and make better decisions in the future.
Show them that you can still trust them even when they mess up. As much as you’ll want to step in and fix it, resist the urge to rescue your kids from the consequences of their choices. And let them learn from their mistake. No matter how frustrating or disappointing our kids’ mistakes may be, let them happen. Otherwise, our anger only tells them that the consequence of making a mistake is making adults mad.
Love your child unconditionally and accept them for who they are, even when they make wrong decisions. This helps build a relationship of trust , and they’ll be more likely to open up to you when they are in a dilemma.
Make Sure That You are Ok with All the Choices You Give.
Dr. Khrista Boylan
, child psychiatrist, says to start teaching a child how to make decisions, the parent needs to ensure the choice is manageable and realistic for the age of the child. The choices need to be realistic, appropriate and acceptable, something the child understands, and the options need to be acceptable to the parent. Do not offer a choice if one of the choices is not acceptable.
Choices are good for children because it gives them lots of practice in making big and little decisions. It is also a parenting technique that is relatively easy to implement.
Show interest when they are making choices and don’t forget to respect their decisions!
Our biggest job as parents is to raise future adults. And hopefully, these future adults of ours will know how to make good choices, regardless of reward or punishment.
But they can only learn to make those choices if they practice it, starting in childhood. We can help them by withholding critiques and instead making suggestions in a grateful, loving way.
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