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SODAS – A Sweet Way to Make Decisions

SODAS are more than just drinks. It’s also the name of a strategy that gives parents a roadmap for teaching children how to solve problems and make good decisions. SODAS stands for:

S = Situation
O = Options
D = Disadvantages
A = Advantages
S = Solution

The SODAS method helps children and parents think clearly and make decisions based on sound reasoning rather than external pressures or spur-of-the-moment feelings. SODAS is a decision-making strategy that can help children and parents make decisions together and help children make good decisions on their own.

SODAS works best when you teach your children to look at the “big picture” when they’re facing a problem or decision. Asking who, what, where, when, why and how questions will help you and your child clearly define the problem. Practicing this method will help your child avoid the trap of making a decision based solely on emotion.

How to Use SODAS
You receive a call that your child got in a fight at school. When he gets home, you talk with him about what happened. Ask him what he was doing, where he was and what time of day it was (when) just before the fight started. Ask him who else was involved,  exactly what the other person (or people) did, why they might have done it and how those actions made him feel. Then ask him to tell you what he did in response. Once you have defined the SITUATION, you can begin discussing the best way for him to respond in the future.
 
Encourage your child to think of other ways he could have responded instead of fighting back. Don’t tell him outright what he should do; instead, help him think through OPTIONS. Once he’s done that, have him think of the DISADVANTAGES and ADVANTAGES of using each option. It helps to write all this down so you both can keep track of what you’ve discussed. Then ask your child for his thoughts on each option. End the process by guiding him toward the option he thinks will work best and will have the most advantages, and have him choose that as his SOLUTION.

For more difficult decisions, give your child time to choose the best solution. Practice using the SODAS decision-making method with small, simple problems and work your way up to larger ones, once you are comfortable with the technique. If you hold family meetings, use them to teach your children how to use SODAS to solve problems and make good decisions as a group, as well as individually.

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