Children who are encouraged to have opinions from an early age are given a distinct advantage over those who are not. As an adult, being able to express your views and stand up for yourself is rewarded. While we don’t want our kids to question every decision we make, it’s good to listen to their opinions and be open to changing our minds if a good enough argument is presented.
Family meal times provide the perfect opportunity to encourage opinions. When family members disagree, all the better. Differing opinions allows you to emphasise the importance of listening and expressing your views in a calm and non-judgmental way.
We all know that setting boundaries is beneficial for children and especially adolescents. But allowing the boundaries to be re-assessed on the back of a decent argument teaches the child that not only are you approachable, but you are reasonable as well. Then, when you don’t budge on issues such as safety and important family values, they can appreciate the strength of your opinions.