"The time is always right to do what is right."
- Martin Luther King Jr.
As children grow, they face ever evolving challenges that require them to make increasingly complex decisions. For a kindergartner, this might be deciding to share a toy. For a senior in high school, this could be recognizing negative peer influence and incorporating that knowledge into their decision making. Learning to consider the positive and negative consequences of a decision is essential at any of these stages, and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) identifies responsible decision making as one of the five pillars of social emotional learning. CASEL states that decision making skills can help children negotiate the following:
Ethical Standards: By being challenged to make decisions, children evaluate and develop ethical standards that influence character building.
Social Norms: Decision making skills that incorporate positive social norms as an influence help children navigate the difficulties of adolescence and resist peer pressure and peer influence.
Consequences: Children with strong decision making skills can evaluate potential consequences of actions in order to determine what choice is the best option.
By developing responsible decision making skills early on, children are prepared to face the real world challenges that will impact the course of their lives. And with those responsible decision making skills in place, children are equipped to lead happy and prosperous lives.