Let Them Decide

Is your child feisty? Do they argue with everything all the time?

This could be a good thing!

It may be that you have a child who knows what they want and is voicing his opinion on matters. If you consistently say no, your child may react immaturely and argue or whine. This is NEVER a desired behaviour. Difficult as it may be, encourage a calm discussion and hear him out. See where he is going with his argument. Discuss why you wanted to do it your way, so that he can learn to reason, and encourage him to do the same in a calm and logical manner. Allow him to have his way sometimes and complement him on his sound thinking. Having these discussions will give your child some degree of control, and will allow him to see that his opinions were heard and not blindly ignored. Doing this will activate the motivational centers of the brain to have more say in things, and will encourage more calm logical thinking about each situation.

Many studies have shown that having choices in life and being able to contribute to everyday occurrences helps the brain stay alert, happy, motivated, and fulfilled. Feeling as though you are able to control, to a certain extent, what goes on in your day gives your brain a boost, even if it is a stressful task. It is more about the control of one’s life than the actual task itself.

On the flip side, having to always follow orders and given no choices or control increases the stress hormone cortisol and increases inflammation, which in turn decreases physical, emotional, and mental health. Even cancer, depression, and heart disease are more prevalent in those that have had limited choices day to day.

Giving your child some control over certain aspects of their life can make quite a difference to their mental powers and to their emotional well being. When meekly saying “yes” to demands of parents and to teachers may be what we parents dream about, it may not be in the best interest of the child, or of their future. These "yes" children are not the leaders of the future. Many children sense that it may be easier to just say yes, and get rewarded for being so "good", but the internal strife of doing things that go against what your child wants to do is detrimental to their overall emotional, mental, and physical health. They need to be encouraged to have an opinion. They need to be encouraged to be in charge sometimes.

This doesn’t mean taking away rules and letting them run wild. Structure and routines still need to be in place.

Perhaps allowing them to decide what sport they wish to play, what they would like to wear, how they would like to decorate their room, what musical instrument they would like to play, what hobby to start, what music they want to listen to (with guidance of course)... Have them decide what they would like for dinner (given some healthy choices), and include them in the preparation process. Have them decide where to go on the weekend, or even have them contribute to vacation plans.

Listen to your child. Let them decide as many things as possible. They will grow up knowing who they are and will be able to be themselves. They will not be complacent. They will be strong, healthy, and motivated, because they will be doing something that they thought of and chose to do. Life will be less stressful and their health will be much better because of it.

Let them decide, and they will be…




Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published