The ability to make good choices and decisions is imperative. Yet many children do not learn this valuable skill. Parents can help teach their child good judgment by letting them make choices at a young age. Letting your young child choose what to wear, movie to watch, or food to eat gives them practice in making decisions within the safety net of home. Sometimes parents need to let their child make a choice and face the consequences. The other day my daughter wanted to eat a green onion. I told her that she wouldn’t like it but let her eat it anyway. After the first bite she spit it out. But I let her make the choice. Next time she will listen to me.
As your child reaches the teen years let him or her make decisions on their own. You can talk about the positive and negative consequences of their decision then leave it up to them. (Unless of course their decision will put them in physical danger.) If they have been taught good judgment they will most likely make the right choice. If not they will reap the consequences or feelings of guilt and when faced with the same decision again will make a different choice. Too often teenagers are given free reign without guidance or are not allowed to make decisions. Without guidance teenagers might not know the choice that they should make. If they are not allowed to make decisions they will not learn to trust their own instincts and make decisions or they may rebel.
Children need to be taught to make decisions based upon their own morals or principles. Give children morals that they can make their own. The best way to do this is to talk about the moral values and then live them in your own life.
When my son was six he was invited to a birthday party on Sunday. In our home the Sabbath is considered holy and we do not shop, play with friends, or engage in outside entertainment. My son knew this. We talked about why he shouldn’t go to the party and then I told him he could make the decision himself. Although the decision was difficult since as he said, “You know I really have a sweet tooth and like cake and ice cream,” he chose to stay home. As a reward I made a cake.
It is important that our children learn good judgment. This can best be achieved by giving your children choices, discussing the possible consequences, and then letting them make a decision for themselves.
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