When your child was little you helped them make the best decisions possible. You helped them choose their games, television shows, books, and even playdates. But as they get older they will start seeking independence when making decisions.
One of the best parenting tips you can follow is to know when to step in and when to let your child make their own decisions – even if it means letting them make the wrong ones. This may mean making a change in your parenting style, especially if you are a helicopter parent.
As a parent, the last thing you want to do is watch your child make a mistake. Whether they’re 6-years-old and wearing their clothes backwards on the first day of school or they’re 18 and putting their foot down about not wanting to go to college.
Here are 7 reasons why letting your child make mistakes may actually be no of the smartest parenting tips you hear.
1. Teaching them in Early Years
If you want to adjust your parenting style so that your children are able to make their own mistakes, you must start teaching them how to make good decisions from a young age.
Be open with your children about the difference between right or wrong. Reinforce the idea that decisions have consequences both emotionally and physically. Teach them the fundamentals to keep them safe; no knives in the toaster, don’t take electronics into the bathtub, don’t touch something that is hot – and the list goes on.
2. Decision Making for the Future
One of the biggest parenting tips to keep in mind when allowing your child to make their own decisions is that by letting them go, you are helping them.
This is because people generally learn from their mistakes. In a study regarding how medical students learn, most respondents of the research project said they would “learn better from actual errors than near misses.”
Thereby, by allowing your child to make mistakes at a young age, you’re actually providing a form of protection for them and teaching them how to make good decisions in the future.
3. Lend a Listening Ear, But Don’t Seek to Control Situations
If you would, even secretly, list yourself as a helicopter parent, this section is for you. One of the best parenting tips for letting go is to do so reasonably.
Just because you’re letting your child take the reigns doesn’t mean you can’t offer you input or advice, especially if asked.
Remind your child that no matter what decision they are making, be it choosing a university, moving across the country, or dying their hair, you will always be there to listen, talk, and offer your advice. As a parent, you should be present in your life, but not controlling it.
4. Choices Create Learning Lessons
When you let your child make their own mistakes, you create teaching tools that they can use later in life. Of course, this applies to issues of staying physically safe with such advice as: fire burns, dressing improperly in cold weather can make you sick, and not to run with scissors.
But remember that this applies to emotional decisions as well. For example, perhaps your teenage son is courting two girls at the same time.
You may caution him that he should pick one, and that by dating two at the same time he is bound to hurt their feelings and lose both of them. Undoubtedly, the girls find out and leave him for more faithful pastures.
Your son has now learned a hard, but important lesson about how to treat women in the future.
5. Teaches Your Child Responsibility
When you alter your parenting style to let your child make their own decisions, you teach them to be responsible. You can do this by reminding them that when they decide on something, they must follow through with it.
For example, perhaps you suggest that your child gets a part-time job over the summer to help save for college in the fall. They agree about getting a job, but insist they want to work full time.
You do not think this is the right decision, but your child is adamant. They have now learned that by accepting a full-time job they will have less time to spend with friends and family and must now fulfill their commitment responsibly.
6. Improves Thinking Ability
By allowing your children to be responsible for the outcome of their decisions from a young age, you help sharpen their critical-thinking skills. Studies show that critical-thinking ability is directly related to good decision-making skills.
For example, if your teen accepts an invitation to study abroad, they will have a more exciting, diverse resume. However, they must also factor in the cost of living and the emotional ramifications of being away from friends and family for so long.
Giving your child the time to think about their decisions will help them have sharper discernment in the future.
7. Gives them a Positive Outlook
Have you ever heard the old saying “Monkey-see, monkey-do”? This essentially means that children will mimic parental behavior – so make sure you’re setting a good example!
Studies show that the more positive a parent’s outlook is, the more positive a child’s will be. And if you are a negative person by nature, your child may inherit this side of you as well.
Show your child you trust them by having a positive outlook on their decision-making capabilities.
There are no hard and fast rules for when to give your little one some independence. Changing your parenting style and allowing your little one to make their own mistakes is hard but beneficial. By letting your child make their own choices you help them to learn from their mistakes, improve thinking ability, and ask themselves important questions.
Author Bio: Rachael Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.