Why is decision-making an important skill to learn?
Decision-making and problem-solving goes together. One cannot be done without the other.
Thus both skills should be mastered to be effective. Decisions could be something small or have a big impact on our lives especially as kids get older and make choices about their morals/values and career paths.
The decision-making process improves with maturity and experience.
Types of decisions
- Making no decision: Kids then allow their peers/siblings/parents/other adults to make decisions for them
- Making impulsive decisions: Kids sometimes take no time to consider the options – our impulsive/ADHD kids really struggle with making an impulsive decision and regretting their actions later. Kids sometimes respond emotionally and not rationally (thinking about it cognitively)
- Making responsible decisions: Kids you use this way think about the consequences for them and those around them
Steps in making decisions
This forms an integral part of problem-solving and vice versa.
- Identify the problem: Break the problem down into smaller steps. Is it just my problem or is other kids/people involved?
- Time for introspection: Ask yourself: What do I want?. Is this in line with my morals/values? (for older kids). How will this decision affect me?. How will this decision affect others?. Will the problem be solved if I choose this decision?
- Find more solutions: If the kids first choice isn’t effective/doesn’t satisfied me/is harmful to others/is against my moral and values (for older kids) or doesn’t solve the problem I have to think of more decision-options
- Make a choice
- Implement the decision: Remind the child that they need to take responsibility for their choice and the effect it has on himself and others
- Was the decision successful: Did it meet the needs/values/morals of the child?. Did it solve the problem?. If not – make another decision
How can I help my child?
- Go through the above mentioned decision making process with your child
- Allow your child to make their own decision
- Allow your child to fail (in a protected environment)
- Only help your child if they ask for your help or if you see the outcome will be hurtful to himself/herself or others
- Guide your child rather than making the decision for him/her
- Role-play: make up hypothetical situations and see which decision your child will make
- Read them stories where decisions was made and what the consequences was
- Set a good example when you as parents has to make a decision – admit when you made the wrong decision
- Practice – experience – responsibility – maturity