Uncertain children, how can we help them?

When we have undecided children at home, we don’t know very well how to act: whether to let them take their time to decide, whether to urge them to choose faster or whether to choose for them. It is essential to understand that this process is normal and does not last forever.

We could say that, during childhood, it is normal not to know what to do or what to decide. However, as parents we must help children and encourage them to form their own opinions on different issues. In the next article, we’ll tell you how to act in the face of undecided children.

Indecision in children

That children under the age of six are undecided is a very common reality. They may debate between choosing one meal or another, between one toy or another… Perhaps first they order toast for breakfast and, when they see their sibling or parents eating cereal, they want it too. It’s not a matter of envy or ‘having the other’s’, but of indecision.

Adults consult doctors and also their friends who once had undecided children on this subject. The most normal answer is usually: “But it’s the most normal thing in the world!

This is because at that age they are still developing their personality, their individuality, and their sense of self. This means that they do not know well what they want and must experience everything.

First he will say yes to something his parents usually choose, but then he will realize that he would like something else. He’s still too young to know whether a decision is right or wrong; that’s what adults should be aware of.

Undecided children are not ‘picky’ or have any behavior problems. Nor are they undisciplined or seeking the attention of mom or dad. They just don’t know what to decide because they haven’t experienced all the variables yet.

How to help undecided children

The first step in helping undecided children has to do with understanding the situation; that is, it has to be borne in mind that, when we are young, we find it difficult to decide on even the most insignificant or everyday things.

However, that does not mean that we will let our children spend half an hour in front of the ice-cream parlour choosing which taste of ice-cream they want to have, nor that, as parents, we will insist and ask them to hurry because there are so many people waiting for their turn.

Is it possible to reach a middle ground? Of course you can. The best way to help him is to allow him to express his opinion and tastes at any time. For example, if we’re on our way to school, let her tell us what clothes she likes to wear or what color she likes to wear – she’ll probably change it periodically.

Another way to help him is to shorten his choices. If you have a wide range of choices at your disposal, it’s more likely to take some time and you’re still undecided. So instead of asking him what do you want to eat? You can say, “Today there’s pasta or hamburgers, what do you prefer?”

Also, it’s a good idea to build trust in your little one. Don’t make decisions for him just because you’re in a hurry. In the example of the ice-cream parlour, it would be that since the child does not confirm what taste he wants, tell the shop assistant to add chocolate and strawberry ‘because they are his favourites’.

This, instead of doing the little one a favor, is damaging him, because he will feel that he cannot make decisions for himself and that no matter what he says, his mother or father will end up choosing for him.

At an early age, that can be detrimental to the development of his personality. In the future, he may become less autonomous and will find it increasingly difficult to make decisions.

Should children decide everything?

However, a very common question for parents of undecided children is: What options can I give them to choose from? Of course, you can’t ask a five-year-old about things that are fundamental or obligatory in life, such as which school to go to or whether or not he will eat vegetables and fruit. That’s not debatable at the child level and you have to be very strict about it.

“Undecided children are not ‘fussy’ and have no behavioural problems. It’s just that they’re still too young to know if a decision is right or not.

However, you might be able to get her to choose between two or three outfits to go for a walk or what toy among a couple of options she wants to take on a beach vacation.

Undecided children go through this stage better if they have the support of their parents, their patience and, above all, their affection. It is essential that adults encourage their children to make their own decisions. Whether they are ‘details’ or ‘trifles’ for them, it will be a great achievement and will allow them to increase their self-esteem.