This is the eighth and final in a series of informational blog posts: SEL Intro #8. Search our archive for the first seven!
What’s the Difference Between Self Management and Responsible Decision Making?
Responsible Decision Making sounds quite a bit like a previous topic in this series: Self Management. But it is really quite different. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Responsible Decision Making is the ability to base choices on “ethical standards, safety concerns and social norms.” This is a natural progression after managing our own emotions, to then take into account the emotions of others and base choices on the well being of everyone involved. If Self Management is being able to take care of You, then Responsible Decision Making is being able to take care of the rest of the group along with yourself.
What Does Responsible Decision Making Do?
Making responsible decisions helps ensure that the outcome of just about any situation will be positive: we are more likely to keep ourselves and others safe, out of trouble and on the road to successful and happy futures when we make good choices! The biggest piece of this that can be hard for kids to master is thinking about the outcome of the group and not just ourself. It’s all about keeping the greater good in mind.
Why Is It Important?
Continuing our science class scenario from the previous installment in this series, SEL Intro #7: Relationship Skills, after the dust has settled from the stress of science, there are still some decisions to be made. Should I tell all my other friends about how my classmate “freaked-out” or “lost-it” during class today? Probably not. Should I tell my mom that I helped out a friend at school? Sure! Making the right choice relies on proficiency in the other four social and emotional skills we’ve been learning about in this series: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship skills.
So really, this 5th skill wraps up SEL skills into a nice pointy package, shaped like a mountain. Making responsible decisions is the pinnacle of the SEL range. In order to reach this peak, we need to have mastered all of the first four skills. Once we’ve got those down, we can look back at CASEL’s SEL framework and see the next step. For educators, that is to teach these skills in the classroom using SEL curriculum and instruction. School administrators should see that the skills are repeated in school-wide practices and policies. The rest of us need to incorporate this knowledge into family and community partnerships, in our homes and on out into the wider world. Responsible decision making is important because it sets us all up for success!
More Info, Please?
You can learn more about the core competency Responsible Decision Making by following the links below:
- Watch ThinkTVPBS’s Responsible Decision Making video.
- The blog Confident Parents Confident Kids has a number of posts on Responsible Decision Making.
- Greater Good Science Center’s article How to Trick Your Mind Into Making Fair Decisions can give you a new perspective on how to make your own responsible decisions.
Still not sure about what SEL is? Check our original post in this series: SEL Intro #1: What is Social Emotional Learning? And read up on the next seven posts that follow that one.