Good and bad. How to teach your kids to make good choices. Observe, think and decide.

Do we know that telling a child “to make positive or good choices” has an important part to play in molding the behavior.

Such challenging behaviors like the one above make parents struggle on a day-to-day basis.

Making good choices could be compared to learning how to tie shoes for your kids; this skill would develop progressively over time as they mature. Children need a lot of molding and support when it comes to learning how to make good choices. They don’t mean to make bad choices; they just need more practice and support in making good ones.

Part of raising kids is preparing them for the world and life on their own by preparing them with the skills necessary to both succeed and cope with failures.

The real world we live in is full of disappointment, consequences, hearing a no, and doing things I would rather not. That’s how life is. Therefore, preparing my child with the means to handle all that is important. Therefore, to inspire my daughter’s independence and to nurture her emotional intelligence, I want to parent her in a way that she knows she is loved and I believe in her, but that she also knows what it’s like to fail or to make the wrong decision.

“Failure is not fatal”. People know me as a perfectionist, to me it felt like mistakes were killing me from the inside. Honestly, I have never emotionally conquered the concept of failure; even small mess ups sometimes feel like the end of the world to me. I waver in my own decision making very often because I do not like living with even the small consequences.

Teaching your child to make choices is one of the most important elements of raising a well-behaved child.

From big choices (“Should I opt for high profile PR job and move to abroad or stay home to take care of the kids?”) to little choices (“Dessert or salad?”), every decision we make has complications.

Being self-disciplined is understanding and taking responsibility for making life’s choices. A major part of parenting well is to help your child learn the challenging skill of making positive, suitable choices. A gain of sense control over own life is gained by a child, when he/she is skilled at consciously making choices will understand their own needs. Choice-making also helps teach internal discipline, organization, and prioritizing. Children learn how to make big choices by watching you do it, and by gaining experience through making little choices.

Teaching choice to your child: TIPS

  • Never give a choice you aren’t willing to follow through on. That means when you say, “Either you tidy your room or we are not going out to eat,” you should be prepared to start cooking. It also means if you say, “Tidy your room and I’ll take you to a posh restaurant in town,” you need to be prepared make reservations.
  • It’s your responsibility to keep your child safe and healthy. Keep food choices healthy, and allow your child to choose what to eat. If your kid chooses to eat only cookies and dessert, stop having them as a choice.
  • Unless your child is very skilled at choice-making and your budget is unlimited, never offer choices without restrictions. Give them an “either/or” if they are young.
  • When a child is making choices about her behavior, you can point out the choice and the consequences of it.
  • Older children can use choices to learn how to prioritize
  • Once a child makes a choice, lay off on the options, don’t continue to offer choices.
  • Once a choice has been made, be clear as to when it becomes final.

What if the child does not like the choice made?

This is hard for a strong, reasonable parent to watch. Nobody enjoys watching a child be disappointed. But making a choice necessitates learning to live with the choice that’s been made. Disappointment is a good teaching tool, and discipline is teaching.

Teaching consequences of choice that was made

  • When she experiences failure or disappointment, she has to handle it with stability and not feel like it’s the end of the world.
  • When her friends are doing something that she feels is not right, she will not blindly follow, but she will have the anticipation to see what consequence may be ahead of her.
  • When she has a decision that did not turned out as planned, she would have emotional stamina to pull herself up and not feel defeated.
  • When she is faced with defending what she believes and her faith she will not hesitate or be embarrassed in any circumstance.
  • When she experiences rejection, she knows that was not her choice and it will just stimulate her to be even better and more assertive.

The book Teaching with love and logic by Jim Fay and David Funk is beautifully written about how to empower children and help them learn how to make good choices. Creating stronger relationships with students can lead to more cooperation is one major take away from this book.

Basically, Love and Logic shows you how to avoid power struggles and offer choices to children. Instead of controlling children’s behavior and making all their choices for them, it empowers children to make their own choices. When children feel empowered they learn more. They learn more because less time is spent trying to control their behavior.

Enforceable statements are invites instead of demands. When you demand that a child does something they may refuse because they feel controlled, but when you invite them to do something they are much more likely to do it.

When kids don’t make good choices:

  • Avoid making demands
  • Avoid making threats
  • Avoid power struggles
  • Offer them choices
  • Use logical consequences

So mommies let us raise a child who is independent to make good choices and live happily because of it.