Take a look at all of the superhero and villain stories, they elucidate the impact of our choices. In the detective comics, Batman, the decision made by one petty mugger Joe Chill to shoot Bruce Wayne’s parents fueled the fire in Bruce Wayne to become Batman! It was this particular moment that created one of the world’s greatest fictional detectives. These particular moments help remind us that there are consequences to every decision we make and every action we take.
Here are five steps to help school your child in healthy decision-making and ethical behavior.
1. Teach your children to pause and observe a situation before making a decision to speak or act. Surveying the situation allows them to see who is there and what is going on in order to formulate an appropriate response.
2. Teach your children to Stop-Think-Act. Children often jump into social situations without much thought. This can cause others to respond with frustration and anger. Children who develop impulse control are more effective in social situations.
3. Teach your children that choices lead to action. Show them the beginning, middle and end of actions, by describing every day situations as you are doing them. “We’re going to eat dinner now, Sarah, tell me what we need to do to get ready for our meal.” Remember, a commitment to do as you say models for your child that words mean a promise and that promises lead to task completion.
4. Teach your children to be “social problem solvers” by talking through social situations with your child. Begin with observing actions in the world and help your child articulate “What is the right thing to do” in different situations.
5. Teach your children that mistakes are opportunities for learning. No need to shame your children when they spill a drink on the couch, forget their socks on the way to school or leave homework at home on the counter. Simply ask them what could they do next time to have a more successful life experience. Set your kids up for success by providing opportunities to identify what they need to do and how to get their tasks done.
Helping your children to understand that there are many options every day in the choices they make will empower them to avoid denial and blame and get to the business of planning, thinking, executing and completing tasks of every day life. Your child learns most about decision making and choices from you. So enjoy being a detective and a social problem solver. Your child will thank you for these skill sets as they enter their later years being skillful and competent.