What Kids Need: Decision-Making Skills

I remember clearly my younger sister and me standing at a lunch counter when we were on a family vacation trying to decide what to order for lunch and unable to determine.  I realized then that we both lacked decision-making skills in part because we had not learned assertiveness skills.  The two go together nicely and can be pair to complement each other.  As parents, when we take time to sit with our kids and help them with decision-making skills, we are helping them to develop respect through their feelings and opinions.

So often, parents are quick to jump in and make decisions for kids when they struggle.  Take time instead to help them see the pros and cons of a decision. By helping them to ask questions when they are struggling, kids learn to clarify their choices, resulting in a more precise choice.  This ability also closely aligns with self-confidence, which I lacked when I was a youth.  Help kids to apply that decision and then to stick with it and follow it through.  If there were blind spots, then help them to see those after the fact and to learn from them.  By asking them questions such as, “How could you have learned this?”  or “What questions could you have asked that would have given you insight into these choices?”

I caution parents not to get hung up on the process of deciding because then we allow others to decide for us.  Help kids to see that making a decision is choosing with quickness and accuracy and then moving on that decision confidently.  If the decision was a poor one, then help them to backtrack, analyze things a bit, and then to move on.   These are essential skills that will serve kids for all their life, well into and throughout adulthood.

I challenge parents today to talk with kids about decision-making skills and help them to learn the skill of solid choices.  It will increase their self-confidence because they know that they have the skills to make solid choices without adult help, and if the decision is wrong, they will learn from it.

Yours for Better Parenting,