Raising Kids to be Good Decision Makers

By Janis Meredith | Posted 5/8/2019

Parents want to raise confident kids who make wise choices, but the journey from baby to smart-thinking young adult is a long and rocky road. There are many forces in the world that work against parents when trying to raise confident children.

Sometimes it’s all parents can do to get their kids to go out for the team, make the team and then graduate high school. On top of all that, getting them to grow confident and avoid making foolish choices that will impact their lives – that’s a high mountain for mom and dad to climb.

Let me make this clear: no parenting formula can guarantee that your child will grow up making intelligent choices. Your child was born with free will, so there are simply no guarantees. That being said, I do believe your chances are much better at raising wise-thinking kids if you take advantage of their youth sports experience as an opportunity to help them grow up.

Give Them a Strong Foundation

Your children need you to provide a compass to guide their choices. If not, they will make decisions based on whatever feels good in the moment. In the youth sports world, what will keep them from cheating, giving up too easily or disrespecting teammates or coaches? The values that you have worked to instill in them.

I believe very strongly that the core values that you follow as a family will be the foundation that will give your children direction in life.

Allow Them to Learn from Wrong Choices

If your child makes a wrong choice or even a mistake, you will be tempted to rescue them or bail them out. But allowing them to suffer the natural consequences of their bad decision will be one of the biggest learning experiences they will have.

When your child learns that bad choices result in bad consequences, they will be more likely not to make those wrong decisions.

Let Them Learn to Solve Their Own Problems

This is closely related to the last principle of not rescuing them, but this principle goes broader. When your child is struggling with a problem on or off the field, the first thing you will want to do is give your child some advice. But instead of jumping in, what if you asked them questions that would lead them to come up with their own solutions?

As your child learns to solve their own problems, they learn to think for themselves and that will be a huge deterrent to bad choices late on.

Teach Them Decision-Making Skills

Teach your kids to do their homework before making a decision, not just going with what their friends think or how they feel in the heat of a moment. How many times has your child wanted to quit a sport after a bad game, only to fall in love with the sport again two weeks later?

Teaching your kids to think before deciding is a long process that must begin when your child is young. Making pros and cons list are great tool to show them at a young age, giving them an easy way to help make decisions on their own.  

Janis Meredith is a family coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.