As parents, we are willing to go miles to take the onus of every aspect of your child’s well being. Right from when they are born. The dependence on us is absolute.
Over the months, basic skills such as learning to hold and eat from a spoon are learned through repeated trial and error and effort. (and a colossal mess). But, if you rush to rescue them, everytime the food failed to make it to your babies mouth, you would be spoon feeding them (literally) for a long time.
Why – The Need
Empowering your child is vital to their growth. A study conducted on over 400 children showed that children who weren’t allowed to decide for themselves, and had controlling parents, developed poorer social skills, and also had a dismal academic performance, and that excessive adult intervention can conclude into a passive, unmotivated and anxious young adult deprived of the long-term basic ability to make their own decisions.
Letting children take their own decisions, may actually help them identify what is right for them. For instance, nagging a child incessantly to finish his homework, may cause him a lot more harm, than good. Instead, letting him decide not to do his homework, and then let him face the adverse consequences at school. Or even wearing shorts on a winter day, face the weather conditions and self realisation will occur. He will thus, understand through cause and effect, the results of bad decision making and do his homework, or wear appropriate clothes, willingly, the next time. Or may be something as simple as choosing a banana rather than an apple for tiffin. Unless, safety, security and hygeine comes in play, and thats probably where you should put your foot down, we parents need to learn the art of “Let go”.
Once your child has made a bad choice, or a decision, that is when you step up and help him overcome the failure by giving him direction and helping him evaluate his decision. Not by saying “I told you so”. Discuss how he could have taken a better calculated decision, and gotten better results. This will help him cope with the failure and also, your acceptance of it, will make him more confident in the future.
A part of helping your children gain experience with making decisions involves making them critical thinkers. Good decision making is complex and takes years of experience to master (no one ever really perfects it; even adults do stupid things occasionally).
Because children lack experience and perspective, they tend to make decisions that are impulsive and focused on immediate gratification. But making mistakes is necessary to help him develop his problem solving skills.
Children also do like to feel in control, its a natural human desire. But somewhere, we assume that we can control our children. Tantrums arise as a reason of lack of control. Its because of an underlying feeling of lack of power. So help your children develop a sense of autonomy by helping them make guided choices.
Where do you play a role
You can help your children learn good decision making by coaching them through decisions, mainly by asking quality open ended questions. This guidance allows them to see how a decision is thought through and arrived at. During these discussions, you can help your children identify key factors to the decision and take the right steps to the decision. Help them make choices in a safe and secure environment and they will be ok.
Finally, part of your child’s learning process to make good decisions is allowing him to make poor ones. If handled properly, bad decisions can play a vital role in your children becoming good decision makers. Yes, they should be held accountable for their decisions by providing them with consequences, not punishments. But children must also be required to explore their decisions, understand why they made a poor decision, and ensure that they “get it” so that they don’t make the same bad decision again.
Thank you Veera for choosing me as your Mumma <3