101 More Tips for Military Families – #75

Tip # 75 – Making Decisions

Some decisions need to be made on the spot or fairly shortly there after – anything to do with immediate health especially.  There are very few decisions that need to be made immediately and most of those are life or death so we don’t tend to feel the need to consult with others as much – everything else can wait.  I would consider myself a fairly impulsive, live in the moment type of person.  I often think, when in the moment, that I need to make a decision right away but the truth is that most of my decisions are much better (and definitely more informed) when I wait.  The waiting isn’t always easy but worth it.  When you have a significant member of your family away it may seem as though you can make a decision for them or feel like you know exactly what they would do…  I would try to consult with them before, during and after any absence as often as possible.  Things change, people change and so will their thinking and decisions.

Try to come up with a list of big decisions that you may have to make in their absence.  Come up with a few scenarios for each and talk about what you would do before they leave.  Just talking about scenarios doesn’t mean that is what you would 100% do but it is better than never having started the conversation.

My suggestions:

Curfews – If they break it?  When they have their next birthday does it change?  When should it change?  For what reason would you bend it?

School – Who should we contact at the school and how often?  What are the consequences going to be for issues at school?  How will they be enforced?  How will will reinforce homework getting done?

Punishments – What do you consider reasonable punishments or consequences?  Are there going to be different punishments for different “crimes” or for different family members?  Who will talk to them about issues or concerns?  When will we decide we can’t do it on our own?  Would you be okay with me talking to a social worker?

Home Repairs – If they are expensive; should I get it done?  What things do you think will go wrong and what things are important to you?  If it is a major repair is there anyone you would like me to consult with?  How do I decide what to do and what to wait for?

Car Repairs – Who do I trust to give advice?  How do I decide where to take it to?  If the repair is expensive do you want me to wait until you can talk about it with me?

Birthday and Christmas Presents – How much do I spend?  Do you want me to sign your name or do you want to send something yourself?  Do you want me to get all of the gifts without checking with you or wait?

Large purchases – If our TV or freezer breaks down, do you want me to replace it?  Where would you like me to go to buy something like this?  Who could I take with me that could help me make a decision?  Is there anything that you think might need replacing soon?  Can we make decisions on some of the things before you leave?

Jobs/Careers – If I want to get a new or different job will you be okay with me making that decision without you?  What circumstances would you want me to talk to you first?

Medical – Are our wishes clear for our medical care in the event of an emergency?  What if one of our children got very ill?  What if I can’t get in touch with you?  Is there someone else you would want me to try to talk to as well?  What if I got very ill?   Who would be the person we could trust to look after our house, kids (if any), etc.?  Who would make decisions about my medical care in your absence?

Those are just some of the decisions that should be talked about as soon as possible.  Being a part of a military family makes it especially important as there are many absences and unfortunately things don’t always run as smoothly as you would hope during extended absences or deployments.  I often remind my husband that our children don’t get sick, our furnace doesn’t break and things don’t get incredibly busy at work until he leaves!  It is just the way life is.

For more information about our tips, resources and books go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own, write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

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