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Collaboration over Competition: Decision Making

Last week I wrote about the overarching theme of collaboration over competition. Over the next couple of weeks I want to break that down into more easily digestible material so that you’re able to apply it to your parenting journey instead of just reading it and forgetting it. Today specifically, I will be inviting you to allow your children to play an active role in decision making in the home. What exactly does this look like, how does it benefit you as the parent, how does it benefit your child, and what are some actionable strategies you can take from this and start applying today? Read on to find out.


Logistics


This is going to sound crazy, but hang on with me through this: your child wants to help you make decisions. They want to feel like they have a say in their day. They want to contribute to the family. This doesn’t mean you ask your child if they want cookies or lasagna for dinner; rather, it involves you as the parent giving your child appropriate choices to decide between when decision making is happening. See strategies in the last section.


Benefits to the parent


Why on earth would you let your child have any say in decisions throughout the day? I’ll tell you: it minimizes the number of power struggles you fight through. When you give your child some autonomy and control, they push back less, and in turn cooperate more.


Key benefits include:


  • Cooperation

  • Minimal power struggles

  • Strengthens the parent-child relationship

  • Builds trust

  • Breeds connection between parent and child


Benefits to the child


Allowing our children to have autonomy and control in their day has numerous benefits, including the following:


  • Fosters independence and responsibility

  • Teaches critical thinking

  • Boosts self-esteem and confidence

  • Encourages accountability

  • Encourages open communication

  • Strengthens decision-making skills

  • Supports personal growth


Actionable Strategies


The decisions you can let your child make will depend on their age, maturity level, and the specific circumstances. Here are some examples of decisions you can consider letting your child make:


  • Choosing clothes: allow your child to select their outfit for the day. Offer two choices to younger children

  • Meal choices: offer options for snacks within a pre-approved range

  • Activities and playtime: let your child decide which games they want to engage in during their free time

  • Bedtime routine: allow your child to choose a bedtime story, pajamas, or a stuffed animal to sleep with

  • Homework and study time: as your child gets older, involve them in setting their own study schedule

  • Extracurricular activities: discuss the options and let them choose the activity they’re most interested in

  • Playdates and social activities: involve your child in planning social activities within their capabilities

  • Problem-solving: involve your child in finding solutions when conflicts arise

  • Screen time limits: collaborate with your child to set screen time limits

  • Family rules and consequences: involve your child in discussions about family rules and consequences for breaking them. Encourage them to suggest fair consequences for specific behaviors


Always provide guidance and supervision as needed, especially for younger children, to ensure their safety and well-being. Gradually increasing their decision-making responsibilities as they grow will help them develop essential life skills and autonomy.


If you find yourself having a difficult time relinquishing control in any of these areas, I’d love to talk with you to see how we can work together to create an environment where the control is shared. Book a free 1:1 Discovery Call with me today!


Thanks for being here,


Brianna



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