The first step to letting them make their own choices is to allow them to make their own choices some of the time. As your kids get older, its ok to let them say no to you. This does two things: It lets them feel independent and it shows your children that you trust them.
The second step is to let them experience consequences – good and bad – of their choices. If you shelter your kids from the bad consequences they will never learn from their mistakes.
The third thing we need to do is to teach our children to follow their conscience. Every child has a conscience. They usually know right from wrong and yet we continue to train our children to always check with mom and dad. We should be training them to listen to that red and green light on the inside of them.
When a child says, “My mom won’t let me watch that movie.” That tells me that he or she is still depending on mom to make their decisions. A child is beginning to grow up spiritually when he can say, “I don’t want to watch that movie because it’s not good for me.”
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.
Many kids think that they don’t have any choices, but one area they have total control in is their thought life. In other words, you can make your kids obey you by threatening to discipline them, but you cannot control what they are thinking. Even God can’t control their thought life. We need to teach our children the importance of choosing to think right thoughts.
I believe that as we do these things, we will be empowering our children to make wise choices and the end result will be God’s blessing will be upon their lives.
Not only has Mark served in the local church as pastor, associate pastor, and family ministry pastor but he is also a certified coach with the John Maxwell Team.