child reading a book

Why Let Children Make Decisions?

Children do not often have the opportunity to make decisions. Most of the time, the adults around them are choosing on the behalf of children.

Adults have a better capacity to make decisions. After all, they have the experience, education, and cognitive ability to choose the right option. However, sometimes, children also should be given the chance to also exercise their decision-making skills.

There are benefits to letting a child choose, even if it is as simple as letting them decide what to wear or pick a fruit to eat.

Instill the Importance of Responsibility

There are many values that are necessary for adulthood that can be taught to children as early as possible. One of them is the sense of responsibility.

Responsibility means that children do their best to meet commitments. They are not playing video games when they should be taking private drum lessons or practicing their lines for a school play. They can also face the consequences of their actions and behaviors. Children who are responsible can apologize when they make mistakes.

When the child is given the opportunity to choose, they understand what responsibility means because they are given the chance to manage their decisions and the subsequent outcome.

Builds Confidence

A child who gets the chance to make decisions, no matter how little, gains confidence. It shows that the adults around them trust them to do the right thing and, therefore, feel pride, especially if it goes well.

By allowing children to make decisions early into their young lives, they build confidence as they grow up and mature. By the time they are adults and in the workforce, they can make decisions with ease.

Stops the Power Struggles

A power struggle happens when a child refuses to do something that their parents have told them to do. It may be getting dressed before school or eating vegetables at dinner. No matter how much the parent insists, the child will say “No.” The more the parent forces the child to do the task, the more tempers flare from both sides. It will only end when either person complies which, usually, means the parent.

A power struggle is frustrating and, if it is not addressed, can become a habit. Sometimes, children will do it to get a reaction from their parents.

However, among very young kids, a power struggle may be discouraged when they are given a chance to make choices. It makes them feel more powerful and more in control of their lives.

When the parent wants the child to do something, they are less likely to resist. For example, if the child chose what they want to eat for breakfast, they will follow orders throughout the day without push back.

youth creativity

Develops Creativity

Decision-making and creativity are intrinsically intertwined. Creativity allows the person to thoroughly assess the situation, gather all relevant details, and fully understand the problem. Creativity also leads to unique alternatives and novel solutions.

That is why creative decision-making is a sought-after trait among job applicants. The organization benefits when employees are creative. In fact, some experts believe that employee creativity is a strong indication for an organization’s success.

Leads to Better Problem-Solving Skills

When the outcome of a decision is positive, the child gains confidence. When the outcome is less than desirable, it does not make them anxious or insecure. They chalk it up to experience and use it to make better decisions in the future.

If children are given the opportunities to make decisions, it also sharpens their problem-solving skills. They develop the ability to find solutions. They learn how to make observations and predict outcomes as accurately as possible based on their prior experiences.

When to Let Children Make the Decision

However, this does not mean that the child should be able to make decisions all the time. Parents should not make their children decide in big situations where the consequences are grave.

Choices should be age-appropriate. For young children, it can be the clothes they wear to bed or what to eat for breakfast. If there are too many big decisions being made, it might overwhelm them.

Parents could also suggest two or three options to help them make the decision. They can add a third or fourth option if they do not like the initial choices. Allowing them to decide on their own without choices will lead to no decisions being made.

Decision-making is a skill that is integral to every person, whether young but especially when old.  It is needed in school, at work, and in a person’s personal life. Training children to make decisions early on will prepare them for their life ahead.

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