Children are capable of making good decisions. Here's how we can help!

Children are capable of making good decisions. Here’s how we can help!

Time and time again children have proven their amazing capabilities. Even the youngest child can make some pretty solid decisions around their behaviour. However, what I hear the most from my families is children making poor decisions and parents feeling confused, overwhelmed and frustrated around the behaviour outcome.

This may look like siblings fighting, children snatching and daily outbursts in public! (*cringe*) So, what can we change to support better decision making?

According to Self Determination Theory kiddos need three essential ingredients in order to make better decisions around their behaviour. These core elements are included in all of my family plans and coaching programs.

The elements include connection, autonomy and competence.


We all know that children need strong, consistent connections in their life. Connection builds confidence and allows children the safety to explore their self identity and the role they play in their family and community. Connection is the key to self esteem and resilient thinking.

However, autonomy and competence sometimes get forgotten about. This is probably because giving space for autonomy and competence takes a lot more intention and work for many parents. We can become consumed with keeping them safe and navigating their decisions so they feel the least amount of discomfort. This keeps life much simpler, knowing everyone is safe. Which is all completely reasonable but the problem begins when children do not experience self governance.

Self governance, or making one's own decisions, comes when a child experiences intrinsic self control. Through making their own decisions children become more competent and confident.

Intrinsic self control is when an individual makes decisions not based on fear or reward but with a desire to grow more competent (growth mindset). Your child's mindset impacts their decision making and behaviour.

By learning about and focusing on the three core elements shared - connection, competence and autonomy - families thrive. Children can make better overall decisions and live happier, more fulfilled childhoods leading to a resilient, more capable adulthood.

If you are concerned about your child's ability to make better decisions grab a chat with me to explore emotional coaching in your home. My programs include the three elements of SDT in all of our activities and coaching conversations. We take it even further by teaching children as early as the toddler years how to manage their big emotions and begin critical thinking through practising mindfulness and early reasoning.

Does your child need help with:

  • Frequent outbursts

  • Irrational worry

  • Over competitiveness

  • Sibling fighting

  • Aggression at home or school

  • Quick to give up

  • Avoiding anything new

  • Low cooperation

  • Poor decision making

  • Frequent defiance


They may be a great fit for emotional coaching! What is Emotional Coaching?

Kids Coaching programs provide children with:

  • Strong core values

  • Positive, growth mindset

  • Time management skills

  • Healthy self esteem

  • Better relationships between siblings

  • Better relationships with parents/carers

  • Self discovery

  • More confidence

  • Resilience

  • Critical thinking

  • Daily mindfulness

  • Intrinsic motivation

  • Better decision making

  • Thought tracking

  • Managing emotions

  • Setting and reaching goals

  • Clear sense of belonging

  • Responsibility

  • and more!!! (too many to list!)

Grab a chat today to learn if emotional coaching is a good fit for your family!! In home and distant support available.


About the author

Stephanie Wicker is a child behaviour expert, parenting educator, counsellor and speaker - who has successfully guided families through early childhood for over 15 years. Through her experience with private consultancy, as a preschool teacher and special needs therapist - she has worked across the many facets of early childhood behaviour. 

Stephanie's evidence-based programs are grounded in behaviour science and her passion for Relational Frame Theory (RFT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and developmental psychology all play a big role in her programs.

Stephanie’s experience covers early intensive behaviour intervention programs for children with special needs and for families newly diagnosed. She hosts live training events all over Australia, where she shares her practical solutions and language techniques, along with providing private, in-home therapy sessions for those seeking more personalised support. 

Through her company, Simply Kids she provides family resources such as digital books and educational activities, designed to keep behaviour simple. 


"By helping parents place emphasis on connection, empowerment and encouragement, I believe that all children have the ability to reach their full potential." - Stephanie Wicker


Articles you may enjoy!