Teaching Your Children to Make Decisions


Knowing how you think can help them you make better decisions. You can “catch yourself” before you screw up. Helping your kids discover how they think could be a fabulous gift.

Someone said there’s three things that determine the person we become: 1) our DNA, 2) the way we were parented when we were young, and 3) the decisions we make. I don’t remember a single time my parents talked to me about decision-making. I bought my first car, chose my wife, bought our first house and took my first real job with no understanding of how I thought about things.

Knowing how you think can help them you make better decisions. You can “catch yourself” before you screw up. Helping your kids discover how they think could be a fabulous gift. While there are countless ways to understand different kinds of thinkers, I particularly liked this one . . . I can relate to it and I can see my kids’ “wiring” described in these five types of thinkers.

Analytical thinkers – They see all sides of a problem, weigh the possibilities against each other, and reach a decision. They have a realistic view of current circumstances as well as a view of the future results of their present decisions.

Intuitive thinkers – They have little regard for heavy analysis but respond because “it feels right.” They quickly respond with sensitivity to the joys and trials of others. They may make decisions on the emotion of the moment, disregarding the long-term results of those decisions.

Creative thinkers – Their ideas are far out and ahead of the majority of the crowd. They love new, imaginative, innovative ways of approaching life. Their minds are fertile and active. They often generate ten ideas to every one that can be effectively implemented, but that doesn’t seem to discourage the flow of ideas. They discard the other nine and keep right on thinking.

Logical thinkers – They appreciate a step-by-step progression from the onset of a question or a problem to the finish. No leaping from one possibility to another. They reflect and deliberate carefully before deciding, speaking and acting. Logical thinkers balance their checkbooks, drive the speed limit, and make great organizers.

Visionary thinkers – They are the conquerors, the inventors, the originators in all fields of endeavor. They are rarely concerned with mundane details but see lofty possibilities for themselves and others. Usually they are able motivators and influencers, and they leave the implementation to the analytical and logical thinkers.

Remember, each of your children are “fearfully and wonderfully” made by Creator God. He knew them before they were formed. There are no mistakes and there’s no way of thinking that’s better than another. They’re simply different.

As a dad, here’s some things to do and to not do . . .

to do

  1. Analyze your own decision-making style, bias and history.
  2. Help your kids determine what kind of thinker they are.
  3. Involve them in the decision-making process.
  4. Let them fail. You can rescue them, at least while they’re young.
  5. When there is a decision in process . . .
    • Listen
    • Question
    • Rarely give directive advice
    • Cooperate with their style of thinking
    • Encourage them to wait
    • Encourage them to seek counsel from other godly adults
  1. Help them analyze past decisions for the positive and negative aspects of those decisions.
  2. Pray for wisdom for them.
  3. Support them once the decision has been made.

to never do

  1. Never say “I told you so” when they blunder.
  2. Avoid criticism. If the decision has been translated into action, it’s too late.
  3. Nagging, overemphasis, and drawn-out advice will not win a hearing. Counsel with few words.
  4. Avoid conflict if possible. It’s a sure sign of defeat in giving counsel.
  5. Don’t get angry if your counsel isn’t followed. Allow circumstances and outcomes to provide the counsel.

While I haven’t found a “litmus test” for a right or wrong decision, Colossians 3:15 is pretty strong . . .

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.

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