Using SODAS To Help Your Children Make Decisions

Having to make the right decisions is a problem our kids are faced with every day. And although we would love to be there to make all the decisions for our kids, they have to learn to make decisions on their own. We can, however, teach our kids how to make the right decisions by using a method known as SODAS.

In , Common Sense Parenting, authors Raymond Burke and Ronald Herron explain how this method works. SODAS stands for Situation, Options, Disadvantages, Advantages and Solution . It can be used by kids (and adults) of all ages to solve problems, both big and small. Here are the steps involved:

First, define the situation. You can’t very well solve a problem unless you can first put into words what the problem is. You can help your kids to define the situation by asking open-ended questions (not ones that require a “yes” or “no” answer), teaching kids to focus on the entire situation as opposed to just a part of it and summarizing the information for them.

Step two is to have your child think of what options are appropriate for the situation. If the situation is a friend who is using drugs and trying to encourage your child to also take drugs, for instance, options might include, not being friends anymore, telling the child’s parents or telling you. The goal is getting your kids to think and come up with their own solutions.

Next, you want to move on to discussing the disadvantages and advantages of each option. You want to get your kids thinking about why each option is good or bad and why they may or may not work. Once this is done it’s time to solve the problem.

The final step is choosing a solution. Once your child has come up with several options and weighed the pros and cons of each, it should be easy to come up with a solution to the problem. One thing to remember and to point out to your kids is that decisions are hard to make but in most cases, the final solution will be for the good of all involved. In the example above for instance, your child may worry about losing a friend if he snitches on his friends. But in this case, he also risks losing the friend permanently to a life of drug addiction or worse. Run through a couple of possible scenarios with your kids to get them solving problems using SODAS and pretty soon they will be able to solve problems on their own.

See also:

Teaching Good Judgment

Helicopter Parents: Are They Going Too Far?

Helping Children With Making Decisions