Overview: Allowing your child to make mistakes can be hard! But It is important for their growth. Here are 4 benefits of allowing your child to make decisions.
When our sons are young, we make all of their decisions for them. We give instructions and we expect them to be followed. As boys grow up, however, they begin to have a strong feeling that they should be making some of their own decisions.
Even young sons should be allowed to make minor decisions on their own. Once our sons are around middle school age, however, it is vital that your son knows you are listening to him. A great way to show your son respect is to let him make even more of his own decisions. We need to learn when it is appropriate to back off a little bit and allow them more independence. If we don’t let our sons make any of their own decisions, they will resist obeying anything that we ask them to do.
We all know that our sons will not always make good decisions. We don’t always make good decisions, either.
Here are 4 benefits from allowing your child to make mistakes:
1 – Self-confidence
Kids develop self-confidence when they are allowed to make decisions on their own. Allow them to figure out how to do it rather than always jumping in immediately and showing them how. This also helps them to be brave and not be so afraid of failure that they are afraid to try new things.
2 – Build coping skills
Kids develop many important skills in life as they are allowed to go through difficult situations. They learn how to handle negative emotions, build self-control, apologize, and many other important relational skills.
3 – Learn to take responsibility
When kids are allowed to make some of their own decisions, they will also have the opportunity to deal with the consequences. Sometimes they will make poor decisions and this will give them practice learning to take responsibility for their actions. Sometimes they will make good decisions and this will help them to feel good about the choices they have made.
4 – Developing wisdom
As our kids are allowed to make some decisions on their own, they will learn from the natural consequences and will make wiser decisions in the future. We want them to have the freedom to fail while they are living under our authority and they aren’t making decisions which could affect their entire life negatively.
Some areas where we could relax a bit and let them call the shots are:
- Hairstyle (within reason)
- Clothing (as long as it is modest and within the budget)
- Some school subjects (be sure he’s studying some things he enjoys)
- What order he completes his studies (who cares when he does it as long as it gets done?)
- Extracurricular activities (be sure you aren’t trying to live vicariously through your child)
- Help decide menu items on certain days (we all like to eat food we think is delicious)
What if They Are Afraid to Make Mistakes?
Sometimes kids are hesitant to make certain decisions on their own.
Some boys may resist attempting certain tasks which we feel confident they can handle at their age. In these situations, we should gently guide our children to experience some new things to expand their horizons and help them to mature.
Some boys will naturally want to lead and you’ll have to try to hold them back. Other boys might be more hesitant and our job is to gently but firmly push them to take the lead role in certain areas. If we allow kids to go through certain experiences when they are living at home, we will have the opportunity to work with them much more closely than if they wait to experience everything after they are living on their own.
It can be hard for parents to let go and allow their sons to make some of their own decisions. We need to remember, however, that allowing them to make decisions is good training. As we step back and allow them to have some control over their lives, they will learn to be more independent, confident, and responsible.
Not all of the decisions our sons make will be good ones. In these situations, we can work with our boys to help them learn from their mistakes.
I remember a situation with one of our sons where we let him make a decision even though we felt he was making a mistake. Our youngest son attended a Homeschool Performing Arts acting camp several summers ago and he loved it! After attending the camp, he was super excited to audition for HPA’s main production. Unfortunately, we found out that practices for this production take place at the same time as a different opportunity for both our boys for which we have already committed and paid.
Our son would have had the option of participating in an HPA Kids production instead, which was for 6-12-year-olds. He was 12 at the time, however, he was so tall that he really wanted to act with the older kids that year. He said that he didn’t feel like an average 12-year-old because he was so tall. It made him feel awkward. He said would rather take the year off of acting and just try out for their production next year instead of acting with kids his own age and younger.
My husband and I felt that he was making a mistake. We encouraged him to try out for HPA Kids. We prayed with him. Then we let him make the decision and we stepped back and let him experience the consequences. This was really hard for me to do. I wanted to force him to join HPA Kids because I was so sure he would love it.
But allowing him to choose how he proceeded ultimately taught him more than if we had made the decision for him.
We need to allow our boys to experience the natural consequences of their decisions whenever possible. These experiences, good and bad, will help them to make wiser decisions in the future.
QUESTION: What has your son learned from making mistakes? Have you found it beneficial to allow him to make some of his own decisions? Please leave a comment below.