How To Train Your Children To Make The Right Choices

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How To Train Your Children To Make The Right Choices

by Olga Hermans

 

My children are all grown up now; I have a daughter and a son. I love them both; they are on fire for God and desire to serve Him with everything they have. They are truly a blessing to me and my husband.

But….if I would have a chance to do everything over again, I would spend less time on teaching my kids to obey me and spend more time teaching them to make wise choices. I remember the times that I thought it was the most important thing for them to obey us as parents. That is how I had grown up and so I didn’t know any better.

And of course, don’t misunderstand me. It is good for children to obey their parents, but it is better for children to hear directly from God and obey Him because they want to.

So, what are we doing when we make all the decisions for them? They won’t know how to make decisions for themselves.
There are so many areas in life where they need to know how to make a decision and how to choose for themselves. You can start with things that really don’t matter; things where they don’t sin when they make the wrong choice.

I remember when one of my children wanted to build a friendship with some body that I knew wasn’t the right choice. I knew that this friendship wasn’t going to last for more than one reason, but she wanted to hold on to that choice just to find out later that it really wasn’t what she had expected from it and it was a short friendship.

So, now she knew that some choices that seem to be right are not always right.

Then there comes a time that your children get older and you need to allow them to say no to you at times. For example: you might want to go to a particular restaurant for lunch, but your children don’t like it. It’s okay to let him or her make some of the decisions as long as it is not rebellion or manipulation.

Another important aspect of teaching our children to make right choices is allowing them to experience the consequences – good or bad – of their choices.

You and I as parents want to “rescue” our children from experiencing the negative consequences of wrong choices. When we do this, and we all do, we actually teach our children that it is okay to make a wrong choice because someone will always be there to save them and in the end, we set them up for failure.

Remember Eli in the Old Testament with his sons: Hophni and Phinehas. Eli should have taught them and warned them about the wrong things they were doing; they were dishonoring the Lord and defiling the temple and their own temple. But, Eli never confronted them and kept them employed as priests at the temple, which was not a good thing. The Bible says, “their sins will never be forgiven.”(Samuel 3:14)

This is difficult for us as parents to confront our children for certain things. I am much more confronting with our children than my husband is. I know the heartache of being in the unknown of some things in life and I have wished many times that my parents would have informed me of certain things. My father was a hard working business man, but he never talked to us about what he had to do to come that far.

He only told us that money didn’t grow on trees and that we had to work hard to make some money. So, when he died at 57 years of age, we all were in the unknown and experienced some heartache in our lives.
You see, if we rescue our children from certain consequences in life, we are not allowing the law of sowing and reaping to operate in their lives.

Here are 4 ways you can help your children make the right choices

1. Allow your children to make their own choices some of the time and as they get older; allow them to say no to you as well. When you do, it lets them feel independent and it shows your children that you trust them.

2. Let them experience the consequences of their choices; the good, the bad and the ugly so to speak. If you protect your children from the bad consequences, they will never learn from their mistakes.

3. Teach your children to follow their conscience; this should be fun! Every child loves to learn this; it makes them feel responsible for themselves. Every child has a conscience. Why do we as parents always have our kids check with us when they have to make a choice to watch a certain movie or read a certain book? We should be training them to listen to that red and green light on the inside of them.

4. Last but not least, we need to teach our children to think right thoughts, because our choices are a product of what we have been thinking about.

I think that most children don’t even realize that they have choices. We owe it to our children to teach them that they have control over what they think. That is the only way that they can have control over their own life. We as parents don’t have any control over what they are thinking, even God doesn’t have that control; we need to inform our children that what they think and speak will eventually become their destiny.

I truly believe that if we do these things we empower our children to make the right choices; they will do mighty exploits on the earth because God’s blessing will be upon their lives.

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Comments

  1. Great advice for parents! We have working on helping our children learn how to make wise choices and wish we would have started this when they were younger. I think as they get older you start to realize that your time with them is short and you realize how important it is to set that foundation for making wise choices based on what God desires for them. Thanks Olga!

  2. My oldest (8) is very expressive when he doesn’t like things. In a way that moves beyond frankness to disrespect. We’ve been talking to him about that when he does that, it causes people to not want to listen to what he wants to say. It’s great to see him ‘catch’ himself moving from a disrespectful statement to one that is more effective.
    Thanks for the great post Olga. Helping my kids make good choices is the challenge of the day (and then some)!

  3. Very good information, Olga, and very important for our children to learn. It is always the bad choices that teach us the most, and our children need to learn that you pick yourself up, dust off and go on. Too much protection along life’s path isn’t always a good thing.

  4. Carrie Huskey says:

    I would have loved to teach my children the ways to grow up in the Lord but at that time I was a practicin alcoholic and couldn’t take care of myself let alone chilfdren. I gave my children up for adoption. I did what was best for them, I loved them that much.

    • I didn’t know that Carrie; that must have been a very painful choice isn’t it? Look now, how far you come Carrie!

  5. I’ve made many mistakes as a parent and I thank God for his intervention before it was too late. I believe in giving choices to children. Olga you have outlined 4 important ways to encourage children to make wise choices. Thanks.

    • I am also glad Claudia that the Lord showed us a different way of parenting now; there is always restoration possible when we walk with God.

  6. I LOVE this post! What great wisdom… and I love the red light, green light on the inside of them. What a great way to explain it! I have used choosing God’s team or Satan’s team… but the red light, green light is a great way to connect that to internal feelings. Thanks for the great post, as always!

  7. I’m so glad you wrote this! It’s something I’ve tried to teach my boys from as early as they could understand, and I continue to keep it in the front of their minds now that their teen-agers. It really, really does make a huge difference. Great post as usual.

  8. Oluwaseyi Israel says:

    This is a great article, thank you Olga. However, when you cited the book of Samuel, you did not indicate if it was 1st Samuel or 2nd Samuel. God bless your ministry and keep up the good work.

    ISRAEL.

  9. Great post, Olga. I am concerned at times about how the next generation will turn out but then I see many parents doing what is right. As a matter of fact, it seems there is a big trend toward getting back to Biblical type principles in teaching children. We are like you, all our children are now grown and very responsible adults and parents themselves. We see mistakes but have to step back and let them be the parents they are. Basically we see great results as we are watching our 8 grandchildren at their various stages of life. We pray for all of them daily and then enjoy them when we have the opportunity to spend time with them.

  10. Wonderful post, Olga! This really resonated with me when you wrote, “if I would have a chance to do everything over again, I would spend less time on teaching my kids to obey me and spend more time teaching them to make wise choices.” I soooooo agree with you. Thanks!

  11. For parents, this is truly a great advice, Olga. Thanks for sharing them!

  12. From the perspective of a parenting coach I found this to be a very interesting article with some great insights…when parents accept the fact that our children do not belong to us but are entrusted to us and see their relationship with God as their primary relationship we automatically gain a respect for their individuality and parent accordingly. Thus, promoting guiding them to make choices that are good and positive and refraining from the parenting paradigm of the past “Do as I say!” It serves all parents well to remember that God gave us the power of free will and choice…AND allows us to experience the consequences of our choices…In my opinion that is THE parenting example we should follow!! Great article! Thanks!

  13. Olga, I so agree with you that teaching our children to make wise choices is SO important! Teaching them good principles and then allowing them to make their own choices…yes! I had the philosophy of letting my children experience the consequences of their own actions (providing they didn’t put them in harm’s way) and that works, so well. Great post!

  14. Thanks for always sharing such great information :)

  15. It doesn’t matter what we say we have to do and be doing the right things and chose wisely how to handle it afterwards when doing wrong. We can do mistakes but have to admit and keep on improving ourselves since we are the role models. Great article which inspires to Think!

  16. My favorite tip is #2 -” Let them experience the consequences of their choices; the good, the bad and the ugly so to speak. If you protect your children from the bad consequences, they will never learn from their mistakes”.
    Thank goodness we did at least one thing right in raising our kids…this was one of those areas that worked and today we are very proud of the coping/decision making skills our two kids possess and use.

  17. Great advice for parents. Thanks so much for sharing!

  18. I was forever offering my services or opinion or advice to my kids. This came across as me not trusting them to make their own choices. I didn’t even realize it at the time…Great post Olga!

  19. I love that you encourage parents to let the children see the consequence of their actions. In today’s society, I see so many parents wanting to shield their children from that, but I see it was a way for our children to learn from their mistakes. If they can’t learn from them, how will they know not to repeat them?

  20. I definitely feel the need to rescue my child. He is 4, so to me he’s still a baby! But I know that as he grows older, I need to let him choose and trust he makes the right choices.

  21. Great post Olga. That’s a wise decision for any parents to make when it comes to raising their children and teaching them to make their own decisions and be accountable for them.

  22. Carol Giambri says:

    Great topic and advice. Thanks Olga.

  23. This is great info and something that I think I will struggle with when we get to that stage. I want to protect but I know they have to learn too. Thanks Olga!

  24. I love this article Olga, and see so many parents that need to read it. The concept of giving even young children “choice” is such an important one. I really believe we need to trust our kids more, they are so much wiser than we realize and give them credit for. But, as a parent, that can be SO hard at times!

  25. Understanding at an early age that we do have choices is a valuable lesson indeed! Life is filled with them…no escaping it!

  26. Thanks you for writing this Olga! It was very helpful and insightful! I almost want to send this to my mother, lol. I have two little sisters who are 4 and 8. She is extremely over-protective and always fears the worst for them. My daughter is two, and she was able to climb off our bed when she was 8 months (before she could even walk) because rather than teaching her fear, we taught her how to “go feet first.” She is fearless and learns how to do things that most parents won’t let their children do. I would rather encourage her and teach her how to do things safely, than instill fear or lack of choice in her.

  27. It’s a great lesson to think about.. they are on loan to us and we need to remember where we got them and who will look to us and ask did you do your best for this one! Thanks Olga !

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