About the freedom of choice - ours and our children's

Our lives seem just filled every day with making choices and compromises. but are our lives also filled with sincerity to ourselves and with attentiveness to our inner self? There seems to be a growing amount of confusion and challenging "disturbances" in our day to day lives: opposing opinions within the family, within our society, neighbors, friends, Dr. Google, forums on social media, whatsapp, TikTok, Instegram as well as others...The right choice is more than often unclear to us because we have been accustomed to not really think of what is "truly right for us". Due to work, business related or political reasons we are used to compromising ourselves again and again. The media misleads us constantly. More often than not parents, friends or our education system can lead us to wrong decisions. Our means of communication have broadened so much and we often receive communication simultaneously from several sources all at once. Even a second. The amount of attentiveness that is required in order to process all this information is close to reaching inhuman proportions, and decision making has become more difficult than ever. On top of all these distractions we have teachers within the educational system that are not worthy for their profession or are burnt out. And on top of that we have parents that are not taking care of their own emotional needs and are raising their children as if they were a mini version of themselves.

We, as parents, need to recognize the fact that we have a reached a point in time where many topics are new to us and not familiar from our own childhood years. Fast developments in the widespread use of technology causing vast changes in social behavior are happening so rapidly and we simply cannot keep up. I am now specifically referring to the subject of decisions taken by teens - starting from the age of 11-12. How can we, as parents, know how to react to their decisions when more often than not we assume they are making a mistake in their choice of friends, in their academic choices, extra curricular activities etc. Before we decide to intervene in a choice made by our teen - an intervention that represents taking away or reducing the freedom of choice from our child - we should think of the following:

1. WHY is our child taking the specific choice we are questioning?

We should remind ourselves that for the larger part of their lives are children are not with us, and it most important for us to equip our children with facing challenges independently.

2. לשאול האם אולי "אנו" או דעתנו האישית בנושא הינם מקור הבעיה?

We need to weigh our actions and decide whether our interference is worth the implications. We must weigh our needs or our wishes verses our child's own needs and desires.

3. The optimal interference in our teen's decision is one that will get the child to take the right choice or to change their choice themselves.

Rarely should we intervene in a way that completely negates the teens opinion, and if this happens too often we should seek professional guidance. (I leave it up to you to decide what "too often" means for you). Only strong people can admit they need the help of a professional and that they want to improve their lives. It is a true sign of strength in one to want to better one's life. I write this for the future of our children, and for the future we each deserve to have.

The writer - Tamar Melzer Krymolowski - is a flute teacher and author of the book "A Tune of Life". She is not a professional psychologist or an expert in any field of therapy. Tamar is a musician with a tremendous love for the world and for the soul of every human being.

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