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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.