What to do - making decisions
decide; deciding; decisions; choices; responsibility; consequences;
We make heaps of decisions or choices every day. Some of them are pretty easy, like what you wear to school - especially when you know you have to wear a school uniform anyway!
Some may be harder - like who you will play with, choosing after school activities or who you'll invite to your birthday party.
Others may be really hard, like should you just stand and watch someone being bullied? Should you take part in something which could lead to you or your friends getting into trouble?
As you grow up the number of choices you are faced with every day grows too.
Making the right choices
When you are young, adults make most of the decisions for you but there are still times when you have to decide things for yourself.
Making decisions can lead to consequences which can be good or bad.
Here are some tips which may help you. Writing down these steps and working through them can be really helpful if it is a big problem.
- Define the problem. Work out what it is you have to make a decision about.
- Brainstorm all the possible solutions.
- Evaluate all your ideas and consider what would be the consequences of each.
- Decide on a solution and carry it out.
Sometimes you may need to do some research to help you find possible solutions.
- You may need to find out more about the problem.
- You may need to ask advice from a trusted adult.
- You may need to think about feelings - yours and others.
- You may need to find out more about consequences - that is what might happen as the result of your decision.
Learn to trust your body
Sometimes our bodies can give us clues about whether our decisions are good or bad. Feeling sick, breathing faster and sweating are all signs that show you are feeling worried or uncertain.
- Maybe you are worried about what may happen?
- Maybe you are worried about hurting someone's feelings.
- Maybe you just don't know what to do?
If your body is giving you these signs then you need to delay making a decision and ask for help from someone you trust.
Talk things over
Talking things over with someone you trust is always a good idea.
You could go through the decision making steps together - they may have some other ideas or come up with consequences you hadn't thought of.
A trusted adult will help you, keep your problem confidential and has your best interests at heart.
Even adults look for help from others whom they trust.
Make good choices
If you think things through then you will make good choices.
Some decisions are about making a choice between right and wrong.
- How do you know when something you might do is right or wrong?
- Who would care if it is right or wrong?
- Who can help you make the right decision?
- Is this decision an important one? That is could it have a big effect on your life or the lives of people you care about?
Accept responsibility for your decisions
Once you have made a decision, particularly an important decision then you must be prepared to accept the consequences. Some may be more serious than others.
What sort of consequences might there be if:
- You found some money and decided to take it and keep it?
- You didn't turn up for your basketball match and didn't let anyone know?
- You went to a friend's house after school without telling your mum where you were going?
- You and a friend wagged school?
- You chose to play games on the computer rather than do your homework?
- You ate a whole packet of choccy biscuits before tea?
- You rode your bike without wearing a helmet?
- "I once put a home phone in the microwave then put it back on the hook. When mum went to use it, it didn't work. I was only a little kid though." Jack
- "When you are making a decision it's best to talk it through with an adult to make sure it's the right one." Hayley
- "I was on the phone, mum asked me to get off and I didn't. Dad was at the airport trying to call about his flight details but couldn't get through. He was waiting for hours." Bethan
- "Don't ever stand by if someone is being bullied. Tell an adult and make it stop."
- "I found $10 on our driveway. I could have kept it, but I asked mum if it was hers. It was, so everything was ok and I made the right decision." Ashley
- "I went to school on my bike and was early. I could have just waited but chose to ride around. Bad decision! I fell off and broke a tooth."
Dr Kim says
Most of the millions of decisions we make in our lives are not of great importance but the decisions we make about our health, the way we interact with others and being determined to do the right thing are very important.
These decisions can make a huge difference to our lives and the lives of others.
Everyone makes wrong decisions at times. Everyone makes mistakes. If we can all accept this, say 'sorry' and show that we are sorry by trying to put things right and trying to make better decisions in the future, then the world will be a much happier and caring place.
We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.