Does your child want to wear a yellow shirt instead of the blue one you’ve picked out? Would they rather eat a banana or an apple?
We often read that parents need to get children involved in decision-making as early as possible. But when is the right time to start letting them make decisions for themselves?
“In principle, they can do it when they are as little as two years old,” says Ulric Ritzer-Sachs of the online counselling service of the German Conference on Educational Guidance.
And yet that does not mean that the child will choose something that makes sense. They may even choose option C, when their parents offered them options A and B only.
Nevertheless, adults need to respect their decisions – and they can still be smart about it. “If it’s hot and your child wants to wear rubber boots to daycare, you should pack an extra pair of shoes just in case,” Ritzer-Sachs explains.
It can be helpful to ask yourself whether the child’s decision is actually going to harm them, or whether it simply doesn’t fit with your adult ideas about how things should be. Odd choices often fall into the second category.
In such cases, parents can simply try to be more relaxed when the child insists on wearing strange-looking clothing or leaving the house with a pair of underpants over their head. – dpa