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Childhood Choices: How to Help Your Kids Make the Right Decisions

Article By: Gwen Payne of

Like most parents, you want your kids to one day make the right decisions on their own. You can guide them as much as possible, but eventually, they must choose to live a healthy, happy life. Fortunately, you can lay the foundation early. Here, ADHD Nerd Dad provides some strategies for helping your kids learn to make good choices.

Be a Positive Example

Your children look to you as the ultimate example of good and bad decisions. If you do not make healthy choices, they may not understand why they should do so themselves. Parents who remain active and prioritize physical health tend to have children who do the same. They can learn how to lead by example, have integrity, and motivate others to make positive changes in their lives.

Model for your children what it looks like to pursue your dreams, whether that means changing jobs, starting a business, or going back to school. If you’ve wanted to pursue an IT degree then take a look at well-rated accredited colleges to find a program that is the right fit for you. Not only will your child see you following your dream, but attending school online means that you can arrange school work around family activities, too.

If you struggle with healthy choices, talk to your kids about it. Make your best effort to transition into a healthier lifestyle and when you make mistakes, be honest and open about them. When you can admit your flaws, your kids learn to do so too. Kids who fear failure might suffer from burnout or be afraid to talk to you about their problems.

Let your child know that what they are going through is manageable. For instance, if your child was recently diagnosed with ADHD, show them how you – or another adult – has found ways to manage or even thrive with this diagnosis. Check out ADHD Nerd Dad together to find helpful resources.

Give Your Kids Freedom

Kids who engage in sports and other extracurriculars have less time to experiment with drugs and crime. When they have a hobby to be passionate about, they have less likelihood to want to ruin it with recreational drugs. At the same time, give your kids the freedom to make their own choices. When they have the freedom to fail, they learn more and will feel safer coming to you if they make mistakes or show flawed judgment. Teenagers are likely to come into contact with alcohol or drugs, so talk to them in advance and keep the door open for communication.

Show your child how much you value honesty by being an attentive listener instead of a disciplinarian when they admit the truth to you. Let them know that the action may have consequences, but it is always better to be honest than to lie. Psychology Today explains that kids with a say in decision-making tend to be more cooperative and have higher problem-solving skills than kids with parents who make all the decisions for them.

Freedom can be safe and age-appropriate. For instance, giving your small child a choice on movie night or choosing dinner one day a week can be a safe way to give freedom while also maintaining structure. Keep in mind that you must stay consistent. You cannot give your child choices and then take them away later.

Teach Them Responsibility

Consider giving your kid responsibility to help raise them to be leaders and make positive and healthy choices. Make the responsibilities age-appropriate. For example, small kids and toddlers learn responsibility by helping with chores, cooking, and different tasks. As kids grow older, teach them to clean their room or tackle chores independently. Always make sure there are consequences to irresponsible decisions but try to keep those consequences as natural as possible.

Kids will naturally take on more responsibility as they gain confidence. Let your older kids help more in the kitchen. In fact, you can get the entire family involved in cooking at least a few nights each week. Give each person age-appropriate responsibilities and model what you want them to do. Cooking together builds family relationships and gives your kids an important life skill that they will use throughout their lives.

Show Your Kids the Way

You are your children's ultimate role model. If you make healthy choices, your kids are more likely to make the right decisions. Never let your kid fear failure because each failure can become a learning opportunity. Help your child through each stage of their lives so that they have the skills and understanding to manage difficult situations as they get older.

Image via Pexels

Article By: Gwen Payne of

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