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Teaching Teens To Make Decisions

Moving Forward With Your Teens

Moving Forward In Decisions You Make

Skills are needed to make decisions every moment of everyday. Especially for teens who already think they are grown and don't really need your help. Making sure your children have the ability to make sound decisions is a skill set that your teen will need to have that will determine future growth. While many choices seem life changing and are often difficult, it's the day to day small choices that will have the biggest impact on you and your family for many years to come. It may also provide the easy way to teach them without difficulty and can totally promote acceptance and unity within your family.

Every day, teens are faced with choices about jobs, higher education, dating, sex, drugs, alcohol and how to live their lives at a very young age. Big decisions vs. little decisions change the quality of options in many directions. High School, Junior College, and academic success begin long before these teens really understand why they are necessary. Teens must learn now how to make decisions to change the quality of college options he will have today. While many parents call these life skills; few of us remember each incident in our teen life that made us who we are and slowly educated and prepared us how to live.

Focus on your child for a minute, do you allow your teen the latitude of choices from one day to the next? You may believe you do, and while it may seem easy to you as a parent, it is really harder than you think when it comes to netotiating with your teen prior to making decisions. Being open and discovering a happy medium may not always work; but learning other ways to approach these decisions making processes is so important. If your child can't make healthy decisions on a variety of fronts, they may not always be successful in their many endeavors in this world.

As a parent you must be prepared to allow your teen the freedom and responsibility that comes along with making his own decisions. After all, you’ve been making most of his decisions for him; and believe me there will come a time when they do feel they either don't need or want your help anymore. Consider the fact that since it’s a new experience, your teen’s decision-making skills must still be developed. Therefore, major decisions should still be your responsibility as a parent. Working together to accomplish these types of goals is priority number one.

First let's agree all parties involved must come to terms with your feelings. As the parent the respectful role of parent is the beginning.  Many teen’s decisions might make you feel like they won't need you,  while others will make you proud that they came to an appropriate decision quick quickly and offered the best solution to the challenge they accepted. The process can cause mixed emotions by both parties and requires preparation by each party.. Just prepare yourself for it. When the not-so-proud feelings strike, it is important to commend yourself and know that you are doing a good job. It’s also essential to realize that as your teen gets better at making decisions on his own and gains more independence he doesn’t love you any less. Complications and challenges with mistakes may not be optimum in some cases, but is often just as much a part of the overall learning process as watching the sunset every day from your patio.

Remember to provide options to make decisions. An alternative to asking, “What would you like for breakfast?” (and getting a request for something you don’t have in your kitchen) could be, “We can have oatmeal with strawberries or cream of wheat with blueberries for breakfast. Which would you prefer?”

Honor their choice. Prepare to honor the choice your teen makes even if it's not what you really wanted. If you provide him with a choice, it’s important to stick with the decision he makes. For simple decisions like food, clothing options appropriate to venue or weather, responsible chores that teach many disciplines, these are all frequent and build approval and can have a positive daily effect. Major decisions offer discussion points, debates and lend to credibility and focus on benefits. However, that is not necessarily applicable to major decisions. If it’s a major decision, it’s important to take time to discuss it. You can help your teen make healthy decisions by talking about the advantages and disadvantages of making certain choices then letting him decide on his own. As long as it's safe and the learning process is not being interrupted; power struggles over things that are not suitable are less likely to happen.

Decisions with solutions that can not be accepted need special attention. Providing explanations or release of any situation means one can avoid getting into trouble, and this goes a long way at toward showing your kids that viable explanations can help release bad decisions. Talking through the decision making process will go a long way toward elimination of bad decisions altogether. It's all about keeping the process a healthy challenge that each child needs to be confident in their ability to enhance self-confidence and helps dramatically in the maturation process.


Trevicia Williams, Ph.D. is a psychologist, speaker, author and talk show host in Dallas and provided the basic information on the article for us here at Fathers 4 Kids. She is a recognized expert in building healthy relationships. Daily motivation and productivity tips to keep teens moving forward are acquired over time and do not happen overnight. We are never too grown up to learn new ways to make better decisions.

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