The SODAS method is universal: it lets children learn making the right decisions in difficult circumstances. How does it work and is it really effective?

Impulsivity in Children and Adolescents

Children and adolescents tend to act impulsively, not really thinking of the Consequences of their actions. Although they usually have a better intuition than adults do, they perceive the world more simply, not understanding various nuances and rationalizing what they see according to their uncomplicated perception of the reality.

Which is why they easily get in trouble. It is the parent’s duty to prepare their child to navigate the world without unnecessary distress and by their personal values. So that the child will be immune to peer pressure, and instead assertive enough to make a stance in situations needing outright resistance. One of the methods developed by psychologists that make it easier to make the right decisions is the SODAS method. You can successfully teach your child how to make decisions using the SODAS method?

How to Make the Right Decision?

The creators of the SODAS method have discovered that children will more often make the right decision if they can see the problem in different light and consider all possible approaches. SODAS stands for situation, options, disadvantages, advantages, and solution. Children often face the necessity To choose one over another (or one over multiple others).

Should I spend my pocket money on a comic book or firecrackers? Should I be friends with Paul or Claire? Should I join the sports club, like most of my classmates, or should I join the art workshops? If there is a doubt, it means that each of the Options comes with some benefits. How to make the right decision? How to choose, which one is better? That is what the SODAS method is supposed to help with.

how to make decisions using the SODAS method

Rules of the SODAS Method

The rules of the SODAS method are really very simple. That is why it is applicable for all kinds of problems. Of course, there come situations in life when this technique won’t be enough. But still, the SODAS method will help with doubts. It’s the best to start with simple examples.

  • First of all, describe what the problem actually is about. That actually is not all that simple, especially for children, whose perception of the situation may be more emotional and chaotic. They also don’t always understand the importance of the issue. To teach a child seeing the bigger picture, avoid asking questions that cannot be answered with one word: “yes”, “no”, or “good”.

    Even if you know the course of events, ask the questions so that the child will reconstruct it on their own: “what were you doing at that time?”, “what happened next?”. It is important to teach children to focus on the whole situation instead of its particular aspects. That is why it is good to ask who caused something to happen, what happened, when, where, etc. Afterward, summarize all the information, in the simplest way possible.

  • The next step consists of coming up with Possible solutions. The more, the better. The child will see that they have multiple options to choose from and won’t go to extremes. That will also make them less impulsive and more rational in their actions.
  • It is important to point out the advantages and disadvantages of particular solutions. Talk all of them through.
  • After talking through the advantages and disadvantages of the solutions it is time to choose one of them. Usually, after such a process it is easier to choose the solution that will be right or most beneficial for the child.

The SODAS Method can help with solving various problems. Using it more or less regularly will teach the child healthy mechanisms to cope in difficult situations. With that, the child will be able to make the right decisions by their own, based on a sense of fairness and predicted Consequences of their actions.

Author profile

Everyone sometimes seems to be down in the mouth. Nobody feels like a dog with a two tails for 24 hours a day. And there is nothing wrong with that! As a therapist I help others understand and deal with their emotions. It's a difficult process but worth the effort. I'm a great listener so maybe that's why my patients like me so much. I am the outdoor type of person. For the most weekends I'm taking care of my garden. Being among nature make me feel on cloud nine.

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