I hear time and time again that you can't reason wtih small children, and that they are not capable of making decisions. I agree on some points, but generally I do think they are capable of some reason, and I think it's important to encourage them to develope decision making skills so when they are older they can make decisions themselves.
Children have strong feelings when they are young. When they can't understand how things are rude or why behaviours change depending on your surroundings, but by helping them to think about how they would feel in situations helps them to understand that's how they make others feel. A child who hits is less likely to hit when they consider how they would feel if someone did it to them. Children do not want to hurt others, physically or emotionally, they just need help learning what hurts or makes people sad and alternate ways to deal with their own emotions. Why not learn this early? I see no reason to wait until they are nearing 10 to teach them understanding and empathy. No, they don't get it exactly, but they can get the idea and they can learn from it.
I always encourage my daughter to help in decisions that affect her. I let her pick which vegetable she wants and what fruits we should get from the grocery store. This increases the likelyhood of her eating them. She picked them, she can eat them. I also enourage her to voice her thoughts and opinions on clothes, schools, and extra activities. I think it's important that they try new things and discover what they like for themselves. A child is not capable of big decisions alone, but it's ok to let them have an opinion. By babying our children longer we are delaying their learning and keeping them reliant on use longer and more.
Yes, children should remain children and enjoy that for as long as they can, but they can be responsible children. They can grow into well-developed and responsible adults, who care about others as well as themselves. They need confidence and encouragement, and by denying them the right to have an opinion they may grow to feel their opinion just doesn't matter, and they should continue to do what others told them.
Everyone has a different opinion and method of raising children, and we need to find and do what works best for our families. Each need to make our own opinions, but it doesn't hurt to hear what others think, maybe a good idea