What you need to know:
- While raising a child with a defined ability to make good decisions is the monumental goal of every parent, you need to be humbled by the fact that perfect parents and perfect kids do not exist.
- However, there is a possibility of raising healthy and competent children who, in the long run, become responsible citizens.
- Whichever stage your children are at, exploring their unique interests, talents and potentials is crucial for successful nurturing.
At what point should one’s children be allowed to make their own decisions? Also, how can you tell whether your child has come of age and confirm that they understand what they are doing?
Mounting societal pressure, growing demands on parenting and the uncertainty and sheer responsibility of raising children has introduced fear, doubts, and worries. However, the ability of a parent to understand the needs of a child at every developmental stage is the key to raising responsible children. The decision a child makes at every stage of his or her life is vital in determining the kind of person he or she will ultimately become. A well-supported child right from the inception will have a better chance of becoming a responsible decision-maker.
While raising a child with a defined ability to make good decisions is the monumental goal of every parent, you need to be humbled by the fact that perfect parents and perfect kids do not exist. However, there is a possibility of raising healthy and competent children who, in the long run, become responsible citizens. Whichever stage your children are at, exploring their unique interests, talents and potentials is crucial for successful nurturing. Staying within set boundaries will make you expedite parental obligations with authority whilst achieving results. If you and your child have made mistakes in the process, get up, dust yourselves off and make better choices next time.
It is prudent to teach your children to be self-reliant. The more you do that, the less burdensome they become to you. This does not necessarily mean surrendering authority. It means responding with wisdom, clarity, and age-appropriate consequences for the choices made. Building your emotional intelligence and deepening your relationship with your children gives them a sense of security that allows for exploration and develops their ability to take calculated risks. Do not respond in anger or become judgmental at every move the child makes because this is likely to suppress their skills and talents. Offer guidance while granting them the liberty to make decisions by themselves as well as instill belief in their capabilities.
Another central responsibility is to impart holistic life skills that will enable the children survive outside your authority. A parent can instill this by practically involving children in doing age-appropriate duties. Taking themselves to school, washings their clothes, basic home repairs like painting the room, changing a flat tire, and creating a financial management plan among others. This would serve as a good formula for preparing children for maturity.
Children who have been trusted with responsibilities have a better chance of becoming productive human beings. A parent who demonstrates his confidence by providing opportunities for his children develops a sense of enduring competence in them. This does not mean completely detaching yourself, but indirect involvement until they gain a sense of security that will foster more exploration on their own. More opportunities can be added depending on their demonstration of faithfulness in the previous tasks assigned. Affirmative words like “well done”, “Kudos” would add value to the life of the child. Giving kids praise for making good choices increases the willpower of continued self-discipline. Where the child fails in the task, criticise objectively, of course not hiding your frustration, but giving hope of producing different, and more positive results in the future.
Finally, provide your children with a clear road map of where you expect them to be at every stage of their life. Furnish them with boundaries, expectations, and consequences for every decision they make. Maturity does not come by age but by your child's ability to take responsibility for every choice he or she makes in life.