Children are children, which means parents need to be parents. And that means making the important decisions for your children, such as where they go to school, when they have to do chores and their homework, how they should behave, and pretty much most things about their day-to-day life.
Of course, once a child turns 18, they legally become an adult. But if they’re still living in your house, well, the decision-making ability is up for debate.
With that said, there are some decisions that you can, and should, leave in the hands of your children, once they’re mature and responsible enough to make them. Not only will this give them a sense of ownership and responsibility, but it will help them become decisive, strong, confident adults. Sure, you will still be there to guide them. But here are 10 decisions that you can consider delegating to your kids.
10 What To Wear To School
Taking into consideration appropriate attire and dressing for the weather, once those two factors are met, let your child choose what they wear to school. At some point, rather than laying the next day’s outfit out for your child to put on in the morning, let them make this decision themselves, whether they feel like wearing the red T-shirt today or the blue one, or want to wear jeans or track pants.
This won’t apply if your child goes to a school with uniforms. In this case, let them choose their clothes on the weekends, what pajamas they wear at night, and outfits for special events.
9 Who To Be Friends With
This one is tough because you want to steer your kids towards friends who are good influences, and you can certainly do what you can to encourage this. But in the end, your kids are going to be friends with who they want to be friends with. And unless there’s a serious problem with the other kids, let them make these choices.
At some point, your child will have a friend or two that you don’t like. All you can do is hope that they end up drifting apart at some point or maturing together and becoming better people. But trying to tear your child away from a friend simply because you don’t like them (unless, as noted, there are serious issues at play) will only backfire on you. Rather, focus on teaching them about the types of friends they should seek out, and what makes a good friend.
8 Extra-Curricular Activities
There might be important skills you want your child to develop, such as being able to swim, ride a bike, ice skate, and catch a ball. But when it comes to extra-curriculars, it’s important to let them choose what they are into.
You might try a few things, like soccer, hockey, dance, martial arts, and baseball, until you find something that clicks. But once you do, follow your child’s interest instead of trying to push them towards a sport or other activity that you want them to do. In some cases, if you encourage a child to play something, they might end up eventually enjoying it. But you never want to push them so hard toward something they don’t like, as they may end up resenting you for it.
7 What TV Programs To Watch
As long as the program is age-appropriate, let your child pick what they want to watch on television whenever they are permitted screen time. Maybe they like cartoons, maybe children’s programming, maybe competition shows, sports, and other content.
Whatever the case, especially if you are diligent enough to limit screen time, let them determine where their interests lie. While you might want to push educational content, sometimes it’s OK to let the kids simply be entertained and give themselves a break.
6 What Books To Read
At school, kids will be mandated to read certain books, and will be limited to what’s available in the school library for free reading time. But when it comes to what books make up their library at home, and what they decide to read at home, let them try out a few different types and series and pick what they like.
Maybe they are into series like Harry Potter, or much prefer Nancy Drew. Whatever the case, the fact that the kids are reading leisurely at all is the important thing. So as long as the book is age appropriate, let them choose what they want to immerse themselves in beyond educational requirements.
5 Where To Sit At the Dinner Table
You have a head of the table spot where a parent likely sits, as well as other seats for the kids and guests. Maybe you have a usual set-up where everyone sits in the same spot. Or maybe you switch things up if one parent works late a few nights a week, or one child has dinner at their friend’s house.
In any case, consider letting the kids decide where they want to sit and when, as long as they don’t fight about it.
4 What To Pack In Their Lunches
Ask kids get older, they can play a bigger role in deciding what items are packed in their lunches. They know they need to cover the major food groups, but you can let them choose which fruit they want pack each day, what vegetables, if they want a mini muffin or granola bar, what deli meats to put in their sandwich and with what toppings, and what side dish they feel like, whether it’s yogurt, a cheese stick, or chips and dip.
Make this easy by keeping a section of the pantry and fridge stocked with school lunch items so the kids can grab and go each morning and take what they want.
3 What To Order At a Restaurant
You might have to weigh in if your child wants to order something you know they likely won’t eat. You are the one paying for it, after all. But among choices on the kids menu, or items you know they like, let them pick what they want. And let them order it for themselves, too.
Going out to eat is usually a treat for families, and while you might want to go all out and order something you wouldn’t make at home, like trout or lamb, maybe the kids simply wants to stick to a grilled cheese or chicken nuggets. And that’s OK. As long as they eat it, they should be able to pick what they want for the special day or night out, too.
2 How To Decorate Their Room
Kids like to express themselves and their personalities, and when it comes to the home, the one place they can do so is in their bedroom. This means they might want to cover the walls with posters of favourite actors, superhero characters, models, or sports idols, and put special things on display, like trophies, dolls, or building toys.
They might want to choose a paint color, which could offer a fun opportunity to bond with your child if you decide to paint the room together. Either way, as long as the photos or imagery isn’t inappropriate, let them decorate as they wish to make the room feel like their own.
1 When To Talk About Personal Issues
It might be tempting to push your child to talk to you, especially if you sense something is wrong. But let your child decide when they want to do this. Let them know that you are there for them for anything, won’t judge, and will simply listen. And trust that they’ll come to you when they’re ready.
Letting them decide this on their own means they will come to you when they are comfortable. It might take some patience on your part, but the end result might be worth it.