Why You Shouldn’t Tell Your Children to Make Good Choices

book-large-oct1.png You’ve heard it over and over. If you’re like me, you’ve probably even found yourself saying it from time to time. It’s a refrain that just about any children living today have heard from their parents: “Make good choices!” It’s usually accompanied by a smile or assertive nod as the children rush out the door to catch the school bus or participate in any activity that will not involve the parents’ supervision.
And, just about every time, it’s useless advice.
Why? Because most parents, while recognizing that it is critically important that their children make good choices, have failed to actually teach their children how to make good choices.
Think about it this way–if you tell your children to make good choices without having shaped their thinking in a way that allows them to differentiate good choices from bad choices, it’s really no different than telling them to flip a coin and get heads every time!
Now, the question becomes…how do we teach our children to make good choices?
And the answer? By teaching them how to think–not what to think.
Teaching kids what to think is what I like to call “Because I Said So” parenting. Instead of taking five minutes to explain the thought process behind what we’re telling our children, we so often deliver that classic line we all heard yelled from the front seat during road trips as children.
And while it’s true that kids should not question their parents’ authority, it’s also true that if the thinking behind that authority is never explained to them, they will adopt new ways of thinking as soon as that authority is lifted.
AA_ch3_thumb.jpg Andy Andrews is a New York Times best-selling author and speaker. His latest book, The Noticer Returns, is designed to teach parents how to raise children that will influence the next three generations. Read a free chapter of the book at TheNoticerReturns.com.