Advice Column, Child, Parenting, Tween & Teen

How to improve your Child’s Decision-Making skills

  • Mr. Sidharth Tripathy
  • Category Advice Column, Child, Parenting, Tween & Teen

What is Decision-Making?

Decision making is an invaluable skill, especially when your children start to make independent choices. It is an ability that benefits throughout their lives. More often, it will be their independent choices which will determine the course of their lives.

Decision-making is about assessing all the options available, being aware of the situation within and around you. Thus, for children to become good at decision-making, they need to learn how to assess the possibilities, be self-aware about what they need, and understand the situation they are in. For many people, both young and adults making a decision is one of the hardest and complicated things in life, as it involves numerous aspects for consideration. Many times due to a lack of self-awareness, people remain confused throughout their lives and often end up making poor choices. 

Considering the dynamic environment of the 21st Century and exposure to technology from an early age, thus instilling the quality of making good decisions among children is imperative. Every small or big decision an individual makes has the potential to change his/her life. 

Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent, and committed decision. “- Tony Robbins (American Author, Coach, Speaker)

What are the essential skills for effective decision-making?

The ability to make sound decisions requires a wide variety of skills. Below are the skills that are crucial to make your child an effective Decision-maker:

  1. Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to think judiciously and reasonably without being affected by anything or anyone. It is an art of analyzing something with an unbiased mindset. Effective decision-making requires critical thinking over all the possible alternatives. Individuals need to analyze the cause and effect relationship to ensure that the selected alternative has minimum or no negative impacts. Critical Thinking will enable your child to make an informed decision.
  2. Problem-Solving: Problem-solving is the ability to solve problems effectively. Problem-solving skills are the basis for improvement and innovation. Children need to incorporate problem-solving skills to become a good decision-maker. Problem solving also requires critical thinking, but in addition, it is also about understanding the problem. As often, the solution is hidden within the problem itself. 
  3. Creativity: Creativity is all about mixing originality with uniqueness. Creative Thinking helps us to see things from a different perspective. Sometimes, decisions are to be made regarding such aspects where there is no way to know which possibility or decision is the right one. Creativity will enable your child to make sound decisions in unforeseen situations. When the logical or traditional aspects do not make sense, it is the creativity of a person that comes into play. It can be an out-of-the-box idea or an unorthodox approach to seeing things from a different perspective. 

“Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.”- Malcolm Gladwell

  1. Logical Reasoning: Reasoning is concerned with analyzing a problem in a logical manner to draw conclusions. It helps to identify the reason behind anything and approach towards our assessment of things logically. Sound decisions are an outcome of logical reasoning. Reasoning will help your child to assess the pros and cons of the decision they intend to make. Thinking logically and reasonably ensures that foolish options are set aside straightaway during the decision-making process. 
  2. Emotional Intelligence: Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand and manage our emotions and the ability to understand and influence others’ emotions. Life is uncertain and unpredictable. There are times when we have to make hard decisions. This is when emotional Intelligence plays its role. Emotional Intelligence will help your children to manage their sentiments while making harsh decisions.
  3. Time Management: Time management is the ability to prioritize activities based on the available time. There are times when the decision is required to be taken time bound as well. In such a situation, the assessment of possible options, understanding of the situation, etc. is to be done within that time frame. When a child knows how to manage his/her time, the ability to take time-bound decisions improves. 

How can you improve Decision-making skills?

Decision-making is one of the most significant and beneficial life skills in the 21st Century. Acquiring Decision-making skills also contributes to improving a child’s leadership ability. Decisions can transform our lives beyond imagination. Therefore, you must help your child in developing decision-making skills.

  1. Encourage Decision Making: During the day to day life, you can get multiple situations when you can allow your child to make a decision. The more opportunity a child will get to make decisions; the more his/her decision-making skills will improve. 
  2. Ask Questions: Talk to your children about their thought process behind making a decision. See how they are evaluating various possibilities, in case you see one or more possibility was ignored, then ask them ‘what if this happened?’ Pay attention to how they respond and guide them in those aspects where there is a need for improvement.
  3. Discuss Your Process of Decision Making: Share with your children an incident of your life where you had to make a tough decision. Explain to them what was going on in your mind, what were the different aspects you took into consideration, etc. This way, they would feel more comfortable asking you for guidance for any of their decision. 
  4. Involvement: If a certain situation in your house requires a decision to be made, make your children part of the discussion. The more involved they become, the more connected they would feel with the situation, putting them in a mindset of thinking and assessing the situation. More importantly, they would also learn from you, and they might even give you some valuable points to consider. 

“Unnecessary fear of a bad decision is a major stumbling block to good decisions.” – Jun Camp

The world needs proficient Decision-makers for a bright future. Developing this skill within a child from an early age is crucial for the overall development. Creating a better generation then themselves is a responsibility of each generation. And this responsibility starts with parents itself. 

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