Sunday, 16 February 2014

Decision making at six years old

This passed week has had me thinking about the decisions we let our little ones make. Do we actually let them make a true decision or do we steer them to make choices that we as adults think they should make?

Our morning normally starts with the question, "what would you like for breakfast?" In fact I ask this at least five times every morning as it takes that many times before I get an answer. Nine times out of ten, in our household, it is normally "Weetabix please!" There are mornings when I realise that we have no milk left but I still ask the same question. The answer is again the same but I follow it up with, "don't you want toast today?"

Why did I do that? Why didn't I just tell him there was no milk but I can make toast instead?

I ask him to go and get his pants and socks and he always returns with that small pair of pants I keep forgetting to take out of his drawer and the bright red Jake and the Neverland Pirates socks. I say to him "are you sure you want those, don't you think these would be better?"

Why did I do that? Why didn't I tell him what underwear to get and why is that pair of pants still in his drawer?

I am finding more and more that I ask Tor to make decisions but then follow up with swaying the choice he has made. Is this right? Am I not giving him responsibility and then taking it away?

This week Tor has made two very big decisions (in my eyes) for a six year old. One involving football and one involving his hair. Well I think he has made the decisions himself. I do not think I have pushed him one way or another, but thinking back I am questioning myself.

Decision One - Football Club
It has taken me a very long time to find a club for Tor to attend that is affordable, fun and on a day when he can attend.  Tor has been to this football club about 4 or 5 times. The people are fantastic, a friend from school goes as well.
The last few times it has been a struggle to take him. One time he asked to go home halfway through.
Now, I struggle with joining a club and then not giving back the commitment to the people that have given you the opportunity.
So, I asked Tor if he definitely wanted to go to Football club. He said yes, then he said no, then he said yes, then he said no.
On Tuesday whilst walking to school I explained that we needed to make a decision as I did not agree with messing people around and the Football Club would need us to tell them as soon as possible. I asked him to have a big think about it and we would chat again that evening.
When walking home from school he told me he had decided that he did not want to go anymore.
I have to admit I was a bit saddened. First I thought I had finally found something good for him to do. Secondly it had taken ages to find the club!
I nearly asked him if he was sure. I had to stop myself.
Was I going to ask him this because I wanted him to change his mind? I should not be trying to change his mind. It was not my decision to make it was his.

Decision Two - Haircut
Tor has had lots of hair for most of his six years. He was born with lots of hair, he suits lots of hair. He enjoys his Grandad giving him a yearly haircut. (Grandad lives a long way away!)
Tors hair this morning was very thick and pretty long. It was getting in his eyes. Some people at school had mentioned the fact that it was getting in his eyes.
So yesterday I asked him if he wanted his hair cut. After strange faces being pulled he did say yes.
I made the appointment.
This morning I chatted with him about how he wanted his hair to look.
"Like Daddy's" - I cannot remember what Daddy's hair looks like!
"So it can be spiky with gel" - Tor's hair is so thick that I don't think it will ever spike up that much
I nearly gave him ideas, I nearly said "it would look really good like this". I had to stop myself.
Was I going to say this so he had a haircut that I thought would be good, that would be manageable for me?
In the end I said "well, you explain that to the hairdresser and I am sure she will be able to do that for you".

I understand that as parents we need to guide our children through life. We need to keep them safe.

But, do we make decisions for them that really are not ours to make. Should we not let them make decisions even if they are poor so that they feel they have control over their lives? Should we not empower them to choose a path for themselves?

I think so and I am going to try and make myself stop before I ask "are you sure?" Before I try and offer him something else after a decision has been made. I will try and give him all the information so that when he does decide he can definitely do.

Do you let your little ones decide? Do you try and choose for them?

I have linked this post up to the following:

Brilliant blog posts on


No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear your thoughts!