Failing decisions

It’s not surprising that many children will fail to make decisions for themselves, particularly when parents continue to make decisions for them. We learn and grasp the concept of making decisions for ourselves when we are encouraged and supported through the process.

It sounds easier than it is, but many of us we will spend a large proportion of our time relying on others to help us make that decision. Any uncertainty about a decision is our way of avoiding a choice we have to make, like giving up something in the form of moving on and growing up.

Any decision that is based on changing our life are hard, because both are life changing and it’s the life-changing scenario we struggle with more than the decision. We may also have to endure the more painful loss when we go with one decision and not the other for us to move forward with our lives.

Any choice that takes us away from the norm, from what we know and are comfortable with can also add to indecisive tendencies on our part around making new decisions. Of course, us not making decisions isn’t without its price either. Not making decisions can have its consequences as well, because as time moves on and we resist the temptation to make decisions, we close the door on future possibilities.

As with everything though, making decisions isn’t easy. Learning to make decisions takes time and effort and experience. Although some of us will avoid making decisions, to make decisions effectively and for us to feel comfortable with the decisions we go on to make, we need to start making decisions when we’re children. It needs to be encouraged.

That doesn’t mean we can’t make decisions as adults. We can, anyone can, but unfortunately making decisions become harder, the older we get.


16 Apr, 2015

6 thoughts on “Failing decisions

  1. Yes normally people grow up learning how to make their own decisions, but when the parents don’t really allow it, the child doesn’t know how to do it!

    My parents constantly battled over how I should think and feel so it’s no wonder I felt like I wasn’t able to make my own choices after a while. Brainwashing was putting it mildly and to this day, neither one admitted to any wrong doing and blamed each other.

    It stands to reason why I would so often debate endlessly on making any decision. The old tapes would start playing and I would feel paralyzed about what decision I should make. It also explains why I’ve been in so many codependent relationships, which I didn’t leave, even when I knew better.

    If you’re used to someone else making decisions for you, it becomes the “norm” for you, even though you know it’s wrong and hate every second of it. Right now that also makes sense as to why my daughter is upset with me, because she thinks we’re trying to make decisions for her about her life.

    The reality is that she will be lost without her mother who has made her decisions for her most of her life. The worst part is that I know she thinks she’s an adult and has made her own decisions, but her mother knew how to talk her into things!

    My own doubts, fears and insecurities have kept me from making decisions in my life. There were many opportunities to actually do the things I had dreamed of, but the guilt, shame and remorse over decisions I had made kept me really stuck.

    The most I can do is accept the way things are right now and try to move on in my life. Nothing I can do will change the past and what decisions I made then, but I can make changes now!

    1. Thanks Randy for being so honest about what you’ve had to deal with. It took me 25 years to start making decisions for myself away from my parents and family, but having let home, I literally had no choice. I either sank or swam.

      I think constantly being told what to do with, someone else having control over decisions made, does make it enormously difficult for us to learn how to be comfortable with making any decisions.

      I am sure your last paragraph will resonate with so many people who have perhaps found themselves in a similar predicament to you.

      I agree with you that it’s important for us to accept where we are now so that we can move on with and in our lives. There is nothing we can do to change the past as far as any decisions or non-decisions we made, but we can make changes now and that’s what we must do.

      You’re absolutely right.

  2. I have been very fortunate as my parenting was very much ‘hands-off’ to the point of being non-existent so I grew up having to make decisions from as early as I can remember.

    Looking back I can say most of the decisions I made turned out okay, but there were a few narrow escapes from potentially life-changing situations, to say the least. It’s no surprise to hear myself say that I wouldn’t be too happy if my children made those same decisions themselves.

    As you say learning to make decisions isn’t afforded to everyone early one in life, but it is something that everyone should learn to do.

    1. Thank you. Even though your circumstances weren’t ideal either, through your parents’ hands-off parenting you had to start making decisions for yourself. We all need guidance when it comes to making any decisions when we’re children.

      Although you say some of the decisions you made were potentially life-threatening and life-changing situations, you recognise they weren’t your best choices. With any experience we grow up to eventually make better choices.

      When you look back now, you can see that. Sometimes we don’t stop to think our decisions through.

  3. Because I have a disability, people seem to believe that they know what’s best for me. Growing up, to avoid confrontation, I listened to my family when they told me not to attempt something because it would be too difficult for me.

    I started making my own decisions in my early twenties. That’s when I decided I wanted to start dating and later get married. Of course that news was received with apprehension. It was the same when I decided to have children. I received many reasons as to why I shouldn’t start a family.

    I am glad I didn’t let them decide what was best for me. I am sure I would be very unhappy now if I did.

    1. Yes unfortunately there is still a lot of ignorance around disability and it’s that ignorance that stops people with a disability being allowed to live their lives. I’m pleased that you’ve at least managed to make the most important life changing decisions for yourself, even though you were held back.

      Of course it didn’t make it right. I had that too, but it is what it is, but it’s not something either of us could change. We just change the way we do things now for ourselves and we both have.

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