Helping Kids Make Decisions
by Teresa, The CuteKid™ Staff
Children today are faced with many choices. As parents we can help child in
good decision making skills so that when they are faced with a decision they
can apply the skills and make the right choice.
One decision making process that you can teach your child uses the acronym
SODAS which stands for Situation, Options, Disadvantages, Advantages, and
Solution. This five-step decision making process will teach your child to
reason out a situation and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages before
making a decision.
The first step is to identify the situation. What exactly is the decision that
needs to be made? State the situation in simple and specific terms. Girls and
Boys Town tells parents that they need to help their child “focus on the
entire situation, not just part of it. Answer the who, what, where, when, and
why questions.” Help children focus on the facts and try not to get to emotional,
because emotion clouds judgment.
The second step is to list all of the options. What are the choices that your
child has? Most situations have more than one option, although your child may
think they only have one. Have your child list both good and bad options, at
least three or four. Suggest options if your child can’t think of any on his
or her own.
The next step is to list all advantages and disadvantages of each option
given above. The idea is to help your child see the consequences both
good and bad that will follow the choice. Ask your child questions to help
them see the positive and negative things about each choice such as why an
option might work or fail.
The final step, in this child decision making process, is to choose a
solution. Let your child make the final choice about what option she
thinks will be the best. If possible allow your child some time to
think about the decision before making it.
Your child might not always make the choice that you want them to, but
that is part of the learning process. As long as their choice isn’t
immoral or illegal let them make the choice and deal with the results. Part
of the learning process is accepting the consequences that come with our
choices. Be supportive and empathetic if your child fails and then go back
to SODAS to make another choice.