Boys are curious by nature and generally more impulsive than girls. Impulsive behaviour and risk-taking is natural for boys and forms a normal part of their growing up. However, it’s important to help your son learn to manage impulsive urges early on, so that he understands the consequences of his behaviours and can learn to make considered decisions as he develops. Good decision making skills are invaluable in life, and are developed from an early age.
Below are four simple tips for encouraging your son to think before he jumps:
1. Learning to make decisions
Give your son the opportunity to make simple decisions in his early years. Present your son with basic scenarios, such as choosing between a red or green T-shirt while getting dressed in the morning. Avoid overwhelming him by presenting a choice between just two colours, rather than allowing him to choose whatever clothing he wants. Be consistent and get into the habit of allowing your son to make his own choices to build his confidence in his decision-making skills.
2. Teach him the importance of good decision making
Progress to giving your son outcomes that result from his decisions. For example, if he is tasked with making his bed each day or cleaning his room, provide an outcome that results from his actions. He may receive pocket money each week if he completes the tasks given, or not be allowed to attend a soccer game if he doesn’t complete them. Be sure to deliver to your word – rewarding and penalising decisions as promised. This will allow him to experience the consequences of his decision first-hand, in a safe environment such as the family home.
3. Hold him responsible for his actions
If your son makes a less than desirable decision, help him to learn from it. Discuss the situation and the outcome that resulted from his actions. Discuss what he could have done differently to achieve a better result. If your son has made a decision that he consciously knows is the wrong one, ensure he is held responsible for his actions and has the tools to make better decisions in the future.
4. Raise good decision makers
Helping your son to learn the importance of making good decisions is one of the most valuable skills you can teach him. You can do this be encouraging him to consider the following questions before making any decision, whether big or small:
- Is this in my best interest?
- How will my decision affect others?
- What are the consequences/outcomes of this decision likely to be?
If your son is armed with some simple thought processes such as these, it may help him stop and consider the best way to act, limiting impulsive or reckless behaviour.
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