Decisions, decisions, decisions

Posted by Annie on May 14, 2010 in Parenting |

As parents, we all want the best for our children. We try our best  to raise honest, trustworthy, responsible children. In our home, my husband and I realize all too well that our son needs to learn how to make good decisions for himself. That page must be missing from the parenting manual.

Rise and Shine

When my son was ten, I was convinced he was out to get me. How  any child could  forget so many things in one day, is beyond me. As it turns out, most ten year old boys have trouble listening, following directions and making good decisions. Acquiring good decision making skills requires lots of practice and unfortunately, lots of mistakes.

The change in my son between the ages of ten  to thirteen has been nothing short of miraculous. Oh, don’t get me wrong, he still makes plenty of mistakes but at least today, I don’t take it personal, believing he is out to get me.

This weekend should prove very interesting. As WAHP (work-at-home-parents) we have a unique opportunity — since we have no artificial constraints on our time, we have very little reason to conform to a regular 9-5 schedule. Though we try to keep our son on a daytime schedule, it’s a constant battle. “No, I don’t want to go to bed,” is a recurrent theme.

This weekend the hubby has a huge project underway, which will require him to stay up all night working, so we sat down last night for a family meeting to discuss the change.

Our son will be allowed to set his own schedule from yesterday (Thursday) until Monday with the stipulation that he is still required to keep up with his chores and his school work but he can go to bed and get up whenever he likes.

I think this experiment is harder on me than it is on anyone else but I realize that this is a child who needs to learn everything first-hand for himself and if he doesn’t learn how to make decisions for himself now, then when?

The past year, has been an interesting one for us. Our son is learning to handle more and more freedom. We are learning to trust and verify everything concerning our son. We’ve had plenty of ups and downs. One day our son will follow all the rules, finish his chores without being asked and volunteer to help me around the house. Then the very next day, the house of cards falls and he simply  falls apart.

Just like Chrysler has their proving grounds – the home is our proving ground – the place where our children can learn and grow, under our care and supervision. When he gets a little mouthy, I try to take it in stride, he’s finding his voice. Learning how to express himself well, is an important skill at this age.

As parents, we need to allow our children to try and fail here at home where the consequences aren’t so dire as they can be in the real-world.

I find myself struggling everyday to accept my son on his terms. I grew up in a time when parents believed that children should be seen and not heard and where “because I said so,” was an often heard response. There are times I’ve used that line myself but I try to use it sparingly because children need feedback to learn. So, we try to include him in many of our day to day decisions.

If my son learns to make good decisions for himself, I will consider myself a successful parent. If he doesn’t… Well, I guess he’ll learn the hard way, just like his  parents. All we can do is our best.

This weekend is sure to be an interesting experiment; one that I won’t forget quickly.

Do you allow your children to make decisions for themselves? What was your experience? Inquiring parents want to know.

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