How to Teach Children to Use Good Judgment

Good judgment involves the ability to weigh factors and information to proceed with a profitable and positive decision. For a child to develop sound judgment, it’s first necessary to lay a strong foundation of right and wrong. Once your child has this fundamental understanding, you can build on it by helping her learn how to apply her knowledge in ways that benefit everyone.

Provide your youngster with continual instruction about right and wrong to instill a moral compass, advises the U.S. Department of Education “Helping Your Child Become a Responsible Citizen” pamphlet 1. The opportunity for teachable moments can happen throughout every day, so utilize them daily. For example, your children can learn valuable skills for getting along, sharing and helping as they interact with siblings. As you encounter media examples of conduct and interaction, call out mistakes or errors when you see them – someone lying or stealing, for example.

Model good judgment for your child to witness to help her learn from your positive example. Think before acting, use wisdom in decisions and proceed with self-control and respect as you interact with others. If possible, include your child in the process of using good judgment to demonstrate a positive outcome.

Encourage your child to take a moment before making decisions to ensure that he has enough time to apply good judgment, suggests the SchoolFamily website. As he considers options, help him think through each possible solution to visualize the outcome. For example, if a friend presents him with a negative idea for a Friday night activity, your youngster should take the necessary time to think through the possible outcomes of breaking rules and engaging in risky behavior, which enables him to make a positive choice.

Focus on the positive character traits that make anyone capable of good judgment 2. Traits such as assertiveness, motivation, confidence, responsibility, enthusiasm and respect are conducive to helping a child develop good judgment skills, according to the Warren-Walker School website 2. When you see your child exhibiting these traits, call attention to the situation so she can feel empowered by positive behavior.

Talk about the importance of intuition with your youngster. Sometimes an opportunity or idea will present itself to your child with an accompanying alarm that goes off inside him. If he feels this nagging intuition about an idea or an activity, it’s often beneficial to listen to it because it could be communicating a warning that he should avoid something.

Expect that developing good judgment will take time and practice. As your child grows and matures, she will slowly develop stronger judgment skills that she can use in a variety of situations. Remain available to listen and brainstorm, as necessary, to help your child solidify her judgment skills.