Teaching children to accept decisions

Boys Town

Children of all ages struggle to accept decisions, whether by throwing temper tantrums, arguing, raising their voices, or stomping off.

“Well we know we need to teach our kids to accept feedback and decisions because all of our lives were going to take feedback from people,” said Laura Buddenberg, Boys Town Parenting Expert.

“Whether it’s playing a sport, certainly on the job, when kids go off after high school, off to college, accepting decisions is just a part of life. If they learn to do it early, they’ll be in the habit, they’ll be more successful,” Buddenberg said.

Here are 4 tips to help kids of all ages learn how to accept decisions:

1. Set up your expectations ahead of time: make eye contact, say okay, and don’t argue. Practice these expectations with small decisions to help them when they get bigger decisions that are more likely to upset them. Kids are more successful when they know and understand our expectations up front.

2. Give kids the opportunity to take some time if they’re frustrated. Even as adults, we have to walk away sometimes when we get mad. Provide them with some simple self-control strategies, such as taking deep breaths or counting to ten. These coping skills will be valuable as they get older.

3. Give your kids a chance to come back when they’re calm and talk to you about the decision and why it upset them. You won’t always give them a different answer, but it’s important they learn how to disagree appropriately. If they accept the decision the right way, they may get a different answer or be able to find a compromise.

4. Praise them when they accept decisions appropriately. Point out how well they did and reinforce the behavior you want to keep seeing. The more we can focus on the positive things they do, the more we’ll keep seeing them.

When we teach our children how to accept decisions and to use self-control strategies, we are setting them up for success in future settings.