“[There is] a time to be silent and a time to speak.” Ecc 3:7 NAS
Teach your child to ask: (1) “Is this the best time to make this decision?” Decisions made in haste are often regretted. “There is a time to be silent and a time to speak.” Poor decisions are situationally driven, caused by momentary stress, peer pressure, mood swings and temporary emotions like loneliness, etc. When the situation changes, our feelings change and our decisions often look doubtful. Can the decision be made later, reducing or eliminating the risk? Pressuring children often increases their desperation and leads to premature decisions, but assuring them that time is on their side lowers their reactivity and the likelihood of future regret. Helping them see that God “has made everything appropriate in its time” (Ecc 3:11 NAS) offers them space to think wisely about their options, allowing for God’s guidance. (2) “If I were advising a friend (John or Susie), would I suggest they take this same option?” Shifting perspective often broadens the perceptions of our options. When emotionally influenced, our children often narrow their perspective, excluding many important possibilities. Often adults press logical, rational thinking on them, meeting resistance. But by bringing “John” or “Susie” into the equation we open their perspective up. And one more thought: it’s beneficial to “debrief” with your child, helping them to evaluate the effectiveness of their decision-making process. Talk through how they handled the situation. Ask, “How do you feel about that result?” If they’re pleased, compliment them; if not, say, “I’m sorry about that. Any ideas what you’ll change next time?” Instead of judging their failure, reward their success.
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