Let me quickly explain that this concept was foreign to my grandparent, parents, other family members, and every adult in the environment where I grew up. Children it was taught, “should be seen and not heard.” As a little girl, silence was golden. Any thoughts or opinions I had could not be expressed because it was “good manners” not to speak if adults were expressing themselves (there is good and bad to that train of thought). Your silence was what made you likable, a good person.
Today however, after maturity, and my training as a teacher, I have learned that it is ok, with guidance, to give everyone a voice. Children can and should be given an opportunity when appropriate, to share their thoughts on various topics. Now, I’m not saying they should make the decisions, but certainly asking them to share what they are thinking should not hurt. Making your child participate in some decision making processes can yield a myraid of positive outcomes. Children will learn to listen, think about a plan of action, identify a decision, think of options, evaluate options, and after closing strategy, evaluate how it worked. What valuable learning skills!
Why engage them in this way?
- It helps them to become good decision makers.
- It helps them to become healthy, mature, adults
- Helps them see things from a different point of view
- Helps them to think ahead and plan before acting…brainstorm options
- Think about the consequences for their decisions…review pros and cons
- Create a respectful, kids friendly environment
- Learn by trial and error and experience consequences
Some topics that can involve kids in making decision…
- when homework will be done
- who will clean the kitchen
- being allowed to go to a friend for a weekend
- should candy be eaten daily
- Is going to school important