Decision Making & Information Quality

It is important to teach our children the skills to make their own decisions, so that most of the time they lead them to positive outcomes. Sometimes they will make the wrong decisions and they will experience the resulting undesired consequences. This is part of the learning into decision making, don’t try to interfere in all their decisions so that they are always right, instead help them learn from bad decisions so that they get better in this process.

With a simple decision such as choosing what to wear for a birthday party, we can point out and guide our children through each step of the process. These steps include identifying what decision has to be made (what clothes to wear), thinking of options (checking out their clothes), evaluating each option (so that it is in accordance to the party’s theme or main activity), choosing a strategy (like wearing a bathing-suit for a pool party) and trying it out. Through exercises like this one, we can talk our children through the process, highlighting the areas that must be considered when they think decisions through.

A key ingredient in the decision making process is the information in which we base our decision. When we have good and diverse quality information, the likelihood of making a good decision is greater. The quality of this information depends on our sources. It is critical to have diverse sources of information, such as having good exposure to different environments, people, ideas and different activities. This way we avoid echo chambers in which we wrap ourselves into self-reinforcing bubbles of ratifying ideas and arguments.

For our children the sources of information are the people, activities and surroundings in their day-to-day lives, including social media. Having our children involved in diverse environments and activities like school, after-school activities, family interaction, play-dates with different friends, etc., can help them be open to different perspectives that will help them build their own decisions upon a wider base of ideas, facts and experiences