As parents, how can listening help us to train our kids into making informed decisions?  Here’s something I learned.

Recently, Bumpy (my son) had a decision to make. He could either spend his own money to buy Robucks (online game money) now or save his money and wait a few months to get the same as a gift for his birthday. Quite an easy choice you would say, right? Not for him.

He went back and forth. Thinking through each option, and feeling a wide range of emotions and various outcomes. He evaluated as if it was one of the major decisions of his life but then, to be honest, he is an evaluator.

To make it simple and less time-consuming, I would have loved to jump in with a solution or at least a few options but the counsellor in me decided to wait and listen.

Where do we step in?

When he came to me, he wanted to discuss the pros and cons together. Since he had asked, I gave him my perspective, but the decision was his to make.

As parents, we often feel that it is our role to solve problems for our kids and take agency, even though it is their decision to make. We often feel the need to “clear the way for them” or to “share some wise words” so that they don’t go through thorns and thistles in the process.

However, we often forget the importance of practicing how to make informed decisions. Children will need sufficient opportunities to think through, evaluate options, choose one, and bear the fruits (or consequences) of those options. As parents, it is also in the child’s best interest to practice informed decision making while they are still in our care, because we are their source of comfort if things turn out to be different than planned.

What is in this story for us?

Here’s a practice we all could try and inculcate: All through this week, why not involve your children in the decision-making processes while deciding for them? Here’s how:

  • Give them the necessary information and let them weigh their options.
  • Have them ask enough and more questions to you.
  • Take a step back and give them enough time and space to work their decision-making muscles.
  • Let them discuss with you.
  • Be supportive, even if it is different from the choices you would have made.
  • Comfort, if things do not turn out as planned.

This might sound like a big, even scary thing to do; and it is quite alright if you are uncertain about it.

Start small.

Consider not using statements like, “Do what I told you”, or “This is the right way to do it“, or “Do it because I said so”, or “As your parent, I think you should..”. Instead, you could try wording them as, “What do you think of this”. or “Why do think this is a good option?”.

Look for opportunities to build from that line of communication where the child will always feel that he is being heard and that his opinions matter. This could lead to the child experiencing a joy of self-confidence along with understanding the expression of emotions. A wise man once said, prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.

18 thoughts on “Listen”

  1. I do discuss with him a lot of stuff and give him a 360deg perspective .
    Sometimes we do miss listening to them too due to our busy schedules.
    Lovely article .
    An eye opener

  2. Absolutely agree with your thoughts… in addition to what you wrote I would say allow the children to be themselves rather than creating mini versions of us by saying “this is what I did in such a situation & i think you should learn from it”

  3. Mrs. Vivien Abraham

    The real goal of active listening is for the speaker to feel heard and have a safe place to vent and talk, and for the relationship between the speaker and listener to be deepened. An Informative article.👏👏

  4. A good read. Well written!

    I have a quick implementation method. I use a google sheet.

    List down all the parameters in rows (in order of decreasing importance, as often, we are confused with data overload. out of 10 parameters, maybe 2-3 are critical)
    and the options you have in columns. So we form a table this way. it can also be done easily on paper.

    as you fill the sheet, you realize, you have all info at one place. and decisions are easy to make
    in case you are wrong. you write the learning down. move on.

    encouraging everyone to think this way, makes them responsible for their decisions. and most importantly, they own it. hence they follow it. this training goes a long way in making atmanirbhar India.

    thank you Trupti, for sharing this well timed blog, especially, when everyone wants instant maggie noodle results in everything!

    and to add in the end. what may seem right for one, in a certain situation, is wrong for someone else, as their priority, views, expectations are different.

    ultimately, there are no rights and wrongs. there are only choices!

  5. Very informative and practical blog….u have suggested right approach….keep posting such informative and helpful blogs..thank you


      hello toral

      thank you for your encouraging words ..keep watching this space for more of my writings

  6. Actually Trupti what u hv pointed out here is absolutely brilliant..We need to gv children the options (the pros & cons ) but finally they need to decide on what needs to b done.. In the process they wl b able to evaluate the options themselves & solve the small hurdles that come their way 👏🏻👏🏻Thanks for pointing this out .. God Bless !!

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