Decision-making is one of the most complex processes even for adults. This process involves rational thinking and logical reasoning.
With children, this process might be complicated as they merely have no sense of right or wrong. This process when inculcated in childhood itself, the ability to solve a problem, by looking into all the other possible alternative solutions regardless of emotional and social circumstances is built in them.
Children learn this skill by involving themselves in the process of making a decision. They also learn by observing, listening or witnessing or becoming part of those decisions itself. For instance, in the family discussion, if the child is allowed to be a part of the decision-making team, or chooses his/her favourite restaurant to eat dinner, he/she becomes part of the decision. If the food is good, the decision of choosing the place is correct, if not, he or she has to learn from the mistake and choose another one next time or give explanations as to why his/her decision was fair. This is how children learn to take a decision.
Most parents slightly make mistakes by interrupting their decision-making process. Since they fulfill all their needs it’s obvious to decide for their children. But in certain aspects let children make decisions and learn from them. So let us understand how day-to-day activities help children to build this skill.
Getting children to the real world
This is quite difficult for parents. Children forever demand and parents fulfill their wants as much as they can by hiding the reality. But when children are aware of real-life scenarios, the chances of choosing their wants become limited and thereafter they can make a difference between needs and wants.
One of the easiest methods to teach children decision-making skills is through playing. When they play, they learn the tactics, do mistakes learn from them and also implement their own plans. Monitor for fair play and let them understand the pros and cons of using a particular technique.
Allow children to make mistakes
Parents are protective of their children. There is no harm in it. But being overprotective in nature hinders their children’s ability to make decisions or initiation. When the parents are involved in each and every task, children have a fearful attitude towards their activities/mistakes, and that is when they easily withdraw from those tasks and develop self-doubt about their abilities. Instead, allow them to take risks and guide them in the right way.
Teach them self-responsibility
Children learn from being responsible. When they learn to do things on their own, they start to give importance to their work and also understand the difference between right and wrong, so the choices become easy to choose. Involving them in household chores, small budget shopping, and managing pocket money, are few examples where children learn major problem-solving and decision-making skills
Decision-making is a complex process but it can be slowly practiced under the guidance of elders. Children nowadays face confusion, crises, self-doubts, and suicidal thoughts. When they have a clear path to implement their thoughts/action, the chances of getting mental health problem is low.
Image by Hai Nguyen Tien