Joelle, “Provide lots of opportunities for children to take part in decision making.” Tip 6
Joelle is a teacher raising two young children, a boy and a girl. Her only parenting complaint is the requirement of early rising. That was my biggest peeve as well!
Initially Joelle’s primary goal was to raise well behaved children. Her goals have evolved to include the development of qualities such as respect, confidence, and independence. The ability to problem solve will definite set the stage for such qualities.
I agree problem solving and decision making are key skills. A responsible parent would work to develop these, and to do so, Joelle also emphasis modelling as the best method.
I was hyper-focused on starting early with decision making. I had experienced first-hand the disadvantage in not having this skill properly established.
One of my favorite exercises,in developing problem solving, was around self-determined punishment. It was very interesting having Michael identify his own punishment. I was always surprised with his harshness.
Inevitably, he would assign a much stricter sentence than I. In some cases, I would feel bad with his self-imposed consequences. This was an amazing practice!
When it came to decision making, I felt, if Michael was able to make small decisions as a child, it would translate to a strong decision making ability when the tough decisions were required. This proved to be 100% the case.
In only five years, sometimes even less, children are off to a much larger arena. They enter school spending at least five hours per day without us parents. I worked every day to prepare him for that level of independence.
In our case, Michael was to be without our guidance for up to seven or eight hours a day. That’s a crazy amount of time for a little guy. I wanted his decision-making skills to be fine-tuned in five years. I started when he was two.
Little decisions he could make alone, and bigger decisions he was made to feel a part of. I remember when he was six, I had married and would be changing my name. I explained that to him and asked, “What do you want to do with your name?” His reply with a deep sigh, “Gee Mom, that’s a big decision for a little kid!”
I replied, “Yes buddy, but it’s too big for me to make without your input.” We discussed it. He gave it careful consideration. Happily, he decided to change his name. One of many great decisions to come.
I saw the process in action when the big decisions did arise. This practice was cemented in his brain, and his bones. Michael almost intuitive knew the best decision for him. He acted, and continues to act, with inspiring confidence! I believe the pros and cons are quickly identified for him, maybe not automatically but it seems that way to me.
He has had to make heavily weighted decisions regarding his health, his future, and his education. I have been repeatedly impressed with his decisions, self-direction, and with his process. All of which started by letting him choose an apple or an orange.
Problem solving, and decision making, are common topics among Moms. They are two of my favorites. I love the opportunity to elaborate further on these two great skills.