Sometimes we look at our children, noticing how innocent they are. A child’s innocence is a lovely thing, so when the time comes for them to grow up and face the harsh realities of the world, our heart breaks. Choices are all around them as they walk through life, and it’s not an easy thing to know what the right decision with the best outcome might be. Small kids and teens both need their parents for a very large part of their life, but we can’t always be there for them. Sometimes they need to deal with things on their own, and we need to ensure they have all the right skills when that time comes. If you want to help your child learn some life-saving skills and always be happy with the decisions they make, there are a few things you should know.
Allow them to make decisions early on
Decision making is one of the most crucial skills that a person can have, and it can never be too early to start teaching them how to make the right choices. Even just teaching them how to make any choice at all is an excellent start. Tell them to bring you their favorite toy and then ask them why they like it so much. Don’t accept vague answers. Teach them to really think about things that make them happy so they’d be able to recognize what they want. Children are often wracked with indecision because they don’t really understand their own desires. Help them learn slowly. Instead of overwhelming them with choices, reduce it to two simple things. Chocolate or strawberry ice cream? A new bicycle or a toy truck? Give them simple things so they could grow more certain about their decisions.
Show them the consequences of their actions
Sometimes our children will make incredibly stupid choices and we’ll cringe as we watch them make the mistake. But you don’t always need to prevent this. Sometimes it’s a good idea to let them see what a bad decision can bring, so they’ll know better in the future. Did they sit down to play computer games instead of finishing their homework? Let them know that due to their bad decision they can’t go out with their friends that night, as the homework is not done. With teens, it’s even more important to let them have enough freedom to make mistakes because forcing them to act a certain way will only make them rebel. This doesn’t mean you need to stay silent. Talk to them gently and openly, tell them what you think, but then take a step back and let them figure it out on their own.
Help them see all the options
When faced with a problem, even adults often end up feeling like there’s no way out. It’s important to teach your kid that there are always multiple ways to approach an issue. This is especially important when your child faces problems at school. From trying to learn difficult subjects to picking which college to get into, they need to know how to turn the situation to their advantage and resolve problems that are seemingly impossible. Ambitious teens who want to try their hands at challenging careers such as medicine usually get discouraged by the overwhelming competition. But teach them to stick to their guns, help them with their university admissions preparation and they can get in anywhere if they put their mind to it. Children who have issues with tough school subjects should be taught how to study properly. There’s always a way out, but you need to be willing to look for one.
Teach them to resist peer pressure
The old “If Bill jumps off a bridge, will you do it too?” never really works because the answer is usually yes, as crazy as that sounds. Humans are not solitary creatures, we crave the approval of our peers and if we don’t get it, we become lonely and sad. Your child will be influenced by their friends and the currently popular trends and if you wish to prevent them getting lost in that mess you need to teach them how to question everything around them. Cultivate their curiosity and show them early on that asking questions is a good thing. Teach them how to say no and how to be happy in their individuality.
Most importantly, always be open with your child. Communication is the key to any successful relationship and if you want them to trust you and ask for advice, then you need to be willing to listen without judgement. And remember, even if your child fails, they can learn a lesson from it. So, teach them to make the best of every situation and they’ll become competent and happy.