This was first published on KSL.COM
Our adult child has the worst time making decisions and he hates change. He is always calling us or his siblings for advice on every little decision he has to make. We don’t want to refuse him, but we don’t want to keep making all his decisions for him. He is a great guy, but doesn’t date much either, and I think it’s related to not being comfortable making decisions about who and how to date. How can we help him gain confidence and still show our love?
This is a good one for all parents. When our children are young we obviously must help them, but as they grow we must start empowering them to make more and more decisions on their own. This can be scary for parents because we don’t want our child to make mistakes, but we must let go if we want them to become independent adults and eventually leave us.
When your children become teens they usually start fighting for more independence and control. This rebelliousness is supposed to happen and is a natural part of their growth. It must happen if they are going to break away from you some day. It is during this time (and when they are young adults) that you must stop giving advice, instructions and orders and start teaching them to think for themselves. Teaching independent thinking takes more time though than giving advice, so you will have to make a commitment to this.
You will also have to become a little dumber. What I mean is don’t be so quick to give them answers and share what you know. Pretend you don’t know and ask them questions to help them think through the options. Ask them what they think? Brainstorm with them and bounce ideas around, and if necessary throw out some suggestions, but make them figure it out and decide what is best for them.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.:
This is what you must do. Be involved to show you care, but play dumb and force them to think through the options and outcomes by themselves. Ask permission to share the principles below (if relevent) and they will take the fear out of the decision-making process. There is also a great Decision Making Worksheet on my website you could also give to help them make confident decisions that match with their personal values. You might want to use it too.
Principles that lessen the fear in decisions:
Here are some other tips for empowering others:
If he still struggles I would recommend some life coaching with a certified coach.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.