Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Helping your kids to make decisions.

My husband, God love him, has a terrible time making decisions. If there are more than two choices of toothpaste at the store, he will spend at least half an hour reading labels to find the one that does the job. Going shoe shopping with him is a nightmare and I will no longer accompany him on those kinds of shopping trips. I know that his parents made all his decisions for him when he was a child and so now he really does not have the tools needed to make quick decisions.

Because I know how important it is for my kids to learn decision making skills I have always allowed my children to make their own choices. If they make a choice on their own and it is something I do not agree with, I will say so and suggest something similar but much more appropriate. They still get to make the initial decision but sometimes they need a little help. Case in point, my daughter, who has Asperger's, has to decide if she is going to continue with her singing lessons. I know that she is very talented and I would really like her to continue, but the last few times she has been a little ambivelant on whether she will turn up for her lessons. If she has a bad day or is a bit tired she will refuse to go and no amount of cajoling or threatening on my part will change her mind. So I have decided to let her choose and as long as she knows the consequences if she chooses not to continue, I will support her decision. If however she chooses to go she is going to have to put a lot more time into her practices and she will have to go to every lesson and recital unless she is ill of course. When she makes the decision she is going to have to sign a contract with herself and stand by it. While this may sound a little harsh, with my daughter, it is the only way.

I think kids need to also know that their decisions may affect other people. When my daughter doesn't show for her lesson it is a waste of time for her teacher who has to drive quite a distance and this time of year the roads are not the best. She also has to understand that I paid for the lesson in advance and the money is non-refundable, so that is pretty much money out the window.

If you make your kids understand that the decisions they make may affect other people and may have consequences you are giving them the facts that they may need to make an informed decision. While having your children choose what they would like for lunch or what colour socks will match their outfit may seem a bit trivial to you and sometimes it is just easier to choose for them, you need to know that these small choices will increase your child's confidence and self-esteem, while helping to hone their decision making skills, so they will be able to make better decisions when it really counts.

Happy Parenting,


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