As children grow older, they become more assertive about exercising their discretion. However, their decisions may not always be right and harm more than doing them any good.
As parents, you want to keep your children safe and want to make decisions for them. Unfortunately, you are also robbing them of becoming independent and developing decision-making as a life skill.
This blog will help you navigate through this parenting challenge.
The Right Age to Allow Children to Make Decisions
A child as young as two years can make independent decisions. But, they lack emotional maturity. So, you can let them make simple choices such as whether would they like to eat a carrot or a cucumber, do they want to play with a toy or read a book, etc.
When your child reaches the tweens and early teens, you can allow them to decide how they want to spend their pocket money, what outfits they want to buy, whether they would like you to accompany them to watch a movie, etc.The period of late teens to adulthood is the time when your child can decide more serious decisions such as what career path they want to take.
Should You Let Your Children Make Their Own Decisions?
Your child’s brain continues to mature till they reach adulthood and they are vulnerable to act impulsively. What they think is right may not be right for them, especially when it comes to teen issues such as dating, drug abuse, bullying, social media exposure, etc.
You can work with your children together to guide them make informed decisions.
Listen to Them
You need to respect your children’s voices. Let them speak up their mind and logically explain why you should agree with their decision. Do not interfere when they are speaking. Give them your undivided attention.
Present Your Viewpoint
If you don’t agree with what your children say, it’s only fair that they should know why. State your reasons and the logic behind them. This will help your child understand your perspective instead of rebelling or feeling let down.
List Pros and Cons
You can’t expect your child to make an informed decision unless they know the good and bad of it. You must state the facts and truth as they are without beating around the bush. So, if your child wants to become a social media influencer, explain to them all pros and cons. Ask them how they plan to deal with the cons. This might get your child to reconsider their decision before taking any unplanned step.
Be There for Them for Consequences
There might be times when your children will make a bad choice and it may have poor consequences on their life. Some mistakes such as teen pregnancy or drug addiction can change their life forever. However, this is when your child will need you the most instead of being punished emotionally or physically. Be there for them – your unwavering support will keep them grounded and keep them away from making any further rash decisions.
When you give autonomy to your children, it boosts their confidence, increases their trust in you, and gives them a sense of responsibility. You of course have a final say in their decision making but not before honouring their views and opinions and giving them all information they need to make a decision.