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Teaching Kids to Make Good Choices

Raising children to make wise decisions can seem like a difficult task. With a little forethought, it is actually not as daunting as you may think. Kids just need opportunities and a safe place to practice.

When our daughter Sophia was about 8 years old, her friend watched the new Star Wars movie in the theater and of course, she wanted to go as well. I know my child very well and let her know the movie was going to be intense and I thought she would not enjoy it. Of course, she continued to ask her dad and me to take her.

We decided we would try it. On the way to the movie, I told Sophia the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie was also playing and she could still change her mind. Sophia insisted we watch Star Wars.

We got our popcorn and candy and found our seats. As the previews played, we made ourselves comfortable. The featured presentation began and loud startling sounds immediately filled the theatre and vigorous action took over the screen. Sophia covered her ears and began to squirm in her seat. After only five minutes into the movie, she leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, “I should’ve chosen Alvin and the Chipmunks.” I gave her a big hug.

That night she was nervous to go to sleep. I talked to her about the choice to watch the movie even though I told her it probably was not a good idea. My child looked at me and said, “But mommy, you let me go.” I smiled and replied, “Yes, I did.”

Sophia needed to see for herself that consequences, good and bad, are birthed from every choice we make. As her parent, I gave her sound guidance, but allowed her the freedom to make a decision on her own. It was a tough lesson for her. We talked about how it was actually her choice not to take my advice. I only allowed her the opportunity to experience the consequences of her choice.

Teaching kids to make good choices boils down to giving them a safe environment and the opportunity to practice. What are some opportunities you can provide your kiddo to practice making choices?

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About Adrianna and Ryan Walden

About Adrianna and Ryan  Walden

Ryan and Adrianna Walden have been married for 17 years. The two met when she was working for an arena football team in Norfolk where he was playing football. Ryan is a service coordinator with the Chesapeake Early Intervention Program and Adrianna is a Licensing Specialist for Children's Programs with the Department of Education. Both enjoyed teaching CHKD’s "Happiest Baby" class together for over a decade. Together they have one daughter, who despite early health issues, is now a thriving and happy teen. The Walden's have a passion for working with children and married couples.