Why Is It Important to Include Children in Decision Making

Good judgment and solid decision-making skills are some of the most important traits of a responsible adult. However, these skills aren’t inborn – they are taught. Whether by decades of experience or by your parents, the decision-making skills you carry made you into the man or woman you are today. 

Photo by Jude Beck 

However, those that earned their skills through experience know exactly how dangerous and ineffective that is. So, why not spare your children the danger and pain and teach them how to make decisions from a young age? 

And that’s where we come in. In this little article, we’ll outline some of the most common benefits to including your children in decision making in your family, and how will that help them become functional and determined adults.

Bad Decisions Aren’t that Bad

Children make mistakes – that’s a given. You made mistakes when you were young, and you can’t expect your children to be any different. The reason behind this is that children make their decisions based on instant gratification instead of leveraging pros and cons, which leads to them acting on impulse rather than rational.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing – it’s only bad if it isn’t corrected. Children are prone to making mistakes, but, if you teach your child to take responsibility, they are likely to learn not to make the same mistake twice. Note, however, that this goes beyond a simple reward/punishment system of learning – you need to talk to your child and have them understand what they did wrong and what could they have done to prevent bad things from arising from their bad decisions.

Decision Making Builds Confidence

Involving your children in decision making is not just about the gratification when they make the right call – it’s also about building up their confidence. Research shows that most parents nowadays include their children in making decisions on a family level, and this makes those children much savvier and much more confident in their skills when a real problem arises. Knowing how to build confidence in your kids will, ultimately, ensure that, but they’re much more determined to make solo decisions and quicker to take action based on those decisions.

Photo by Anna Kolosyuk 

The fact is, almost all children know what they want, but they often don’t speak up out of fear or respect for their parents. Including your children in decision making will ultimately boost their confidence to a point where they won’t be afraid to speak up when they feel a particular decision is wrong, and they might even offer insight into what the right course of action might be. 

Do Not Overwhelm Them

A child can make its own decisions, but you cannot expect a toddler to make an informed decision on whether you should move into Manhattan from the suburbs because they might have better schools or job opportunities there. When including your kids in decision making, it is important not to overwhelm them with decisions that are too complex for their age, or with an abundance of options that cannot process.

Photo by Simon Rae 

The most important step in teaching kids is to start small. Have them make small decisions like what they want for breakfast or lunch, and move on from there. In the beginning, present them with only a couple of options, then make decisions more complex as they mature and learn how to process the options given to them. 

If your child needs braces, introduce them to a dental lab the likes of Pindan Dental Laboratory and give them the pros and cons of wearing a pair. If your child has matured enough and learned enough about how to make a decision, they’ll certainly know that wearing braces is a sound and smart choice. 

Finally, if you do it right, your child will have no problems asking for what they want, and they’ll present you with solid and rational arguments why they need the things they asked for. 

Decision Making Fosters Bonds

The final argument for including your children in decision making is that it builds and strengthens bonds between parent and child. Allowing your child to make a decision signals that you trust your child enough to consult them on matters of importance. 

This makes them feel empowered and emboldened, and they’re more likely to trust you too when you make a decision on their behalf. In essence, including children in decision making also means you’re including them in your life, and that they’re not just along for the ride. It also sends a signal that they’re, if not equal, then a valued and respected member of the family and community. 

 

All in all, allowing your kids to make decisions and teaching them how to do it is sure to make them into responsible adults and create strong bonds within your family. Remember that kids are people too, and that, like other people, they need to feel important and respected. Allowing them to make decisions will not only fulfil this need but also teach them valuable skills they can rely on later in life.

 

Contributed by Daria Winters

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