Why It’s Important For Your Kids To Make Their Own Decisions

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“What are my friends doing?

Our district plan came out for school next year, and I wanted to know what my kids were thinking about the choices.

The older two had their own opinions.

The younger two simply said, ‘What are my friends doing?’

I totally get it… I was wondering what my friends were doing too.

But, darn it all if that’s not both the easiest, and hands down the worst, way of making a decision.

In times of trouble, it is so easy to take the stress off our plate and follow the pack, especially if it’s our pack.

We long for community. My kids’ answers are a testament to why we long for them to someday soon be back to in-person learning.

But, God entrusted us with our very own kids, and we need to make choices based on them, not on what our friends, or their friends, are doing.

No one wants their kids to miss out or be separate in any way, but I am here to tell you our kids are just fine. Frankly, if I could have missed out on a little bit of middle school, that could have been a positive.

So, much of our worry comes from a push we are giving our kids toward some crazy line in the sand, propelling them toward their senior year. Then… the line disappears, poof!

Doing what their friends do won’t help them then. And, it won’t help them now.

Listening to their inner voice, struggling through adversity, learning how to care for others, being surrounded by loving and supportive people… all those things will always matter.

Let’s take a collective breath, and remember we’re raising kids not for this world, but for the next.

They can’t miss what God has planned for them. It’s legit impossible. It is already theirs.

So, take a breath and try to be at peace with what’s next for your family. And, what’s best might be the best of a few crappy choices. I get it.

Commit to it, and prepare your kids and your own heart.

That sounds so easy, and yet, it’s so hard.

Because going with the group doesn’t only feel good in middle school. It feels good all of the time, because there is safety and affirmation in numbers.

But, there isn’t always truth. Or freedom. Or the doing of the right thing.

And, we are tempted to not only look to others to follow, but we are also tempted to make our own choices okay by judging others.

We choose to send our kids, so clearly, other parents are living in fear.

We choose to keep them home, so other parents are just carelessly risking the lives of their kids.

All the nopes with this judgement.

It doesn’t make things better. Your decision is yours, and there is no value in comparing and judging.

Let’s show our kids how grown ups own their choices, so they learn to do the same.

It’s hard, but we need to look at our babies and consider what is best for each of them.

Then, bravely walk forward, even if we are going against the flow. Or with it. Doesn’t matter.

Ask opinions of the wisest counsel available to you, yes.

But then, check your gut and your kids, and pray for all the discernment.

Your job is to be the parent your kids need, and that is all you will be accountable for in this life and the next.

And, we’ve got this. Because even when we take different paths, we are not in this alone.

The common thread is we are a giant tribe that wants what is best for our kids. Even if the best looks different for each of us.

So, ask not what your friends are doing. But, maybe ask them how they’re doing.

Let’s be there for each other friends, and let’s be there for our kids.

Let’s honor each other’s path, even if it is not one we are taking.”

boy smiles outside on a trail
Courtesy of Amy Betters-Midtvedt

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Hiding in the Closet with Coffee by Amy Betters-MidtvedtFollow Amy Facebook and on Instagram. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more from Amy here:

‘Did I teach you all you need to know? Did I teach you I love you beyond words?’: Mom pens letter to daughter leaving for college

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