As someone who admittedly likes control, it is sometimes very difficult for me to have children. It’s difficult to allow them choices, let mistakes happen and watch as they work through problems. It would be so much easier to tell them what to do, how to do it and simply lead them by the hand through this journey called life. I know, however, that is not the best way to raise competent, kind and able adults so I swallow the urge to control and allow them to be little people. I allow them choices.
Allowing our children choices encourages bonding as it provides opportunities for learning and growth. Allowing choices also creates a relationships where trust is prominent because we are allowing them to make their own decisions.
As with all things, there are boundaries to this and I am not encouraging you to allow your young children to make unsafe or inappropriate choices. When your children are young, letting go of some control and allowing them to make the choice of what to wear to school is an easy start. It gives them the opportunity to begin creating a style and also allows them natural consequences that serve as powerful learning experiences. Your child will learn pretty quickly that it is not a wise choice to wear shorts in December. Your allowing them to make that mistake and choice forced them to own their choices and learn from them.
As your children age you can give them more opportunities to make choices with the goal being they will eventually be confident and competent to make the more difficult choices of late adolescence and adulthood. When we neglect to give our children the opportunity to make choices, we are doing them a severe disservice.
By allowing our children to make choices, we are not shielding them from mistakes. By allowing our children to make mistakes, we are instilling resilience and the chance to learn.
As much as we’d like to, we can’t shelter our children from the world, but rather we need to prepare them for it by allowing them choices.