Learning to make decisions: who decides what?
Since they are born, the life of any home revolves around children: what they need, what can be done for them, how to help them ... All parents go out of their way for their children trying to cover those and many other questions. However, they often forget that perhaps something important is also teaching them to worry about themselves, to learn to make decisions, and, above all, to decide at all times what they really want to do and what they know that suits them.
Take decisions It is one of our most common tasks, so much so that sometimes we do it almost mechanically. However, it is a process with a technique of its own that we should know well. Whether we master it or not, many important consequences will depend -and also of little importance- on our life, with whose responsibility we will have to assume.
On the other hand, if we share the opinion that education is helping to grow in freedom and responsibility, we will have to help our child learn to make decisions.
Learning to make good decisions: a training
Exercise in the decision making it is an excellent exercise for children, from which you can learn a lot. Learning to make decisions will also help them to stimulate some of their fundamental intellectual abilities, such as analyzing, comparing or evaluating different options.
In addition, he will feel that he participates actively, with prominence, in the direction of his own life, and that - in the appropriate measure and progression - will be the best stimulus to grow in personal maturity.
And if you make a mistake ... you can also learn the inestimable lesson of how to regret past decisions, analyze them and find the fault and draw the appropriate conclusions.
The decision process
Although our decisions are often mechanical, the truth is that what we do is a whole process involving several phases, all of them linked together.
First we must define the problem or objective and, consequently, collect the information we can about it. For example: They do not know whether to go hiking with their friends on Saturday, so they will have to see if it really suits them all, the hours it will take them to reach the destination, what they can do there, probable weather conditions ...
With these data, the possible options appear -ir, not go, postpone the trip-, which we will have to submit to an assessment: which option is better from our point of view? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option? Weighing the result of each alternative and its evaluation, we will have to decide which one is more convenient. Perhaps we opt for one that, objectively, is not the one that suits us best ... but here we enter into the realm of human freedom and our scale of values, of how our personality influences, to what we give more importance ...
But, taken the decision, there is one last step, which is often the most expensive: it must be carried out. Being consistent with our decisions is how we demonstrate perseverance, voluntariness, coherence and responsibility.
Who decides what?
This guiding list that can be used as a starting point to give your children, little by little, autonomy in their decisions.
Decisions that parents must make (and which can be consulted with the rest of the family):
- Training and objectives in the education of children
- Family budget
- House Rules
Decisions that parents and children can make-together:
- The choice of Institute or University
- Address change
- Night outings
- Complementary studies or summer jobs
Decisions that children can make AFTER consulting with their parents:
- Choose career
- Extraordinary parties
- Activities with friends
Decisions that the children can take, informing THEN their parents:
- Study time and free time
- Daytime departures
- Way of dressing, shopping
* Decisions that children can make without NOTifying their parents:
- Use of your clothes and personal belongings
- Daily activities
Advice: Antonio Jiménez Guerrero. Philosopher, Psychologist, Teacher-tutor in the UNED and Family Counselor