— For Youth

Decision Making (SODAS)

Suggestions for parents when learning the skill of Decision Making

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Start with the worksheet! Eventually, you and your child will do this easily in your mind or verbally, but at first you should always write it down.

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The first time you do this, you can either demonstrate completing a whole worksheet or watch the video together.

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Next, work through the skill with your child and allow them to suggest Options, Disadvantages, and Advantages. Challenge yourself and your child to list 3 in each area. This number helps them expand their problem-solving perspective.

Remember, poor options are still options. So, if you’re working through a scenario, it’s okay and even helpful to allow your child to select options that you may not want them to choose. This also applies to advantages and disadvantages. There are advantages to negative options; that is often what leads our children to make poor choices in the first place, so don’t avoid them when evaluating the options.

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Practice the Solution so your child knows how to do it and can determine if it was a good decision. Practice often.

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When they get stuck, it’s okay to offer suggestions, but allow them to struggle a little in order to grow. When the struggle comes as boredom or discomfort, keep challenging them. When the struggle turns into frustration, you should adapt your approach and offer more help.

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Keep comments to yourself. Withhold your desire to interrupt and guide them with what you would do. This is a great time to learn what motivates your child to make decisions and what they value most.

You may have to do multiple versions of Options, Disadvantages, and Advantages for one situation. That is alright. It allows your child to work through things.

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Parents should demonstrate using the SODAS Method in front of their children when they have to make decisions. These decisions may include: disciplining, assigning chores and responsibilities in the home, what to have for dinner, where to go on vacation, what pet the family should get, etc. The skill of SODAS can be used for many different things.