Making Decisions for Others

At an early age, children begin to make many of their own decisions. Parents who see that change taking place can become frustrated. Yet a healthy and growing child needs to have room to make personal decisions even if those decisions turn out to be wrong for them. Parents often “know better because I made that same mistake when I was your age. I only want what is right for you.” That is true but generation after generation seems to need to learn the lessons of life in their own way and in their own time.

In adult relationships, making decisions for others is impossible. Our advice may be sound and our intentions good, but we cannot actually make decisions for others. They may appear to listen. They may even acknowledge the wisdom of the advice being given to them. However, they must decide on their own to take action.

For example, we cannot “decide” for others that they will stop smoking, lose weight, become less argumentative, get a job, mow the lawn, stop driving after drinking, or any other self-directed action.

It may even be true that the more we attempt to tell them what to do the less likely they are to do it. “Leave me alone” is likely to be the spoken or unspoken response.

We all have people in our lives that we wish would change their ways. It is a safe bet that they see us the same way.

Reminder to myself: Only I can change me.


About authorbillramsey

During his forty-year professional career, Bill Ramsey wrote magazine articles and business newsletters. Now retired in the mountains of western North Carolina, he writes a blog and has published four books. Bill's 2015 collection of concise, real-life essays is titled "What Do YOU Think?" He has also written "Me Now - Who Next? (The Inspiring Story of a Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery)" and "Now That I Think About It. Bill's books and are available from and on all e-readers. See Follow Bill on Facebook at
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1 Response to Making Decisions for Others

  1. allenrizzi says:

    Unfortunately, many of us have had to make decisions for our aging parents. The parent / child roles are often reversed at the end. It is indeed sad to decide for your parents that they should no longer drive a car for instance. Been there, done that and it’s painful.


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