child decision making


How to Create Future Decision-Makers
by Christine Louise Hohlbaum
Diary of a Mother

Raising children is an art form. Some might dispute that fact and say it is a science. Whether it is a science or an art form, one thing is certain: bringing up children in this day and age is not easy.

Technology requires that our children develop strong skills to survive in this competitive environment. While most parents have the best of intentions, you donít have to enroll your six- month-old in a Mozart for babies class for your sweet pea to thrive. Teaching them to make decisions for themselves at an early age, however, is a worthy undertaking.

Start Early

Put your children in situations where they can decide which way things will go. Giving two-year-olds choices, for instance, has several benefits. First, you are avoiding a tantrum by allowing them to decide between carrot sticks or an apple for their snack. Second, you are guiding them to make wise choices by offering them healthy alternatives.

Set Boundaries

Building a strong decision-maker does not mean being permissive. Allowing your six-year-old to eat chocolate every day for breakfast may not be the right choice. Setting boundaries and allowing them freedom within those boundaries will aide their self-esteem and sense of security. Children like to know what to expect. Boundaries are the guidelines by which they can live.

Ask Questions

Asking your child questions about the choices they make (and then listening to the answers) gets them to think critically about their own behavior. While their standard answer might be ďI donít know,Ē it will give them cause to assess what just happened. Trying to slice her younger brother with a pair of scissors may have been my daughterís impulsive reaction to her pesky two-year-old sibling. Asking her why she chose to do it allowed her to think about her actions, even after the fact.

Respect Differences

I live in a rural German town in which many parents tell their children what to do. The remarkable thing is those same children follow their parents command, because they have not learned differently. Issuing commands to your children will guarantee their conformity in society, but will it guarantee their success as trailblazers? Raising leaders versus followers is an individual choice. My husband and I have chosen to raise leaders whose strong decision-making skills will hopefully carry them through life with confidence and vision. It is what we all hope for our childrenís future.

Christine Louise Hohlbaum, American author of Diary of a Mother: Parenting Stories and Other Stuff, has appeared in hundreds of publications and on numerous radio programs. When she isnít writing, teaching book marketing to authors, or leading toddler playgroups, she prefers to frolic in the Bavarian countryside near Munich where she lives with her husband and two children. Visit her Web site:

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child decision making


child decision making