Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Making Sure Your Teens Make Good Decisions

We all want our children to grow up into responsible, caring adults. We hope they’ll make all the right decisions in life, and choose the best path for them. As parents, there comes a time when we stop making decisions for our children. Instead, we must trust their own judgement, and all them to live with their choices. We hope they say no to cigarettes, choose a good circle of friends, and choose a good college. The best we can do is prepare them to make those decisions. We can give them all the best guidance and information. We can teach them compassion and rationality, which will help them along the way.

So, how exactly do you start that process from a young age? In this post, we’ll talk about some of the ways you can instill a sensible outlook from early in their life. It all starts with open and honest communication. It continues with simple decision making exercises, and letting them see how certain choices affect them and other people. Here are just some of the ways you can do that.

Build an honest relationship
If you ever hope to nudge your children in the right direction, they have to trust you. And that means opening up an honest relationship as early as possible. Try to foster an environment where they feel comfortable opening up to you. They should be keen to ask questions, and you should answer them honestly. Try not to force too many strict ideals and practices on them. Instead, let them explore their own personality and thoughts. Just make sure you’re there for them when they do have questions. It makes it much more likely that they’ll trust your opinions and judgements. Most importantly, they won’t make decisions just because you told them not to.

Talk openly about difficult topics
When our children hit a certain age, we begin to worry about drink, drugs, and promiscuous behaviour. It’s always difficult for parents to deal with this, and we all hope our children make the right choices. But, it starts with an open and frank communication about the topics. The more taboo and mysterious they are, the more likely they are to make the wrong decision. Talk openly about addiction, and the consequences of finding yourself in a methadone clinic or recovery centre. Speak frankly about alcohol and how it alters your inhibitions. The more they understand about these subjects, the more likely they are to make the right decisions.

Let them make (small) mistakes
A crucial part of making decisions is understanding that they have consequences. Unfortunately, this is something we all learn as life goes on! But, your children can learn this too, and sometimes they’ll learn the hard way. So long as their decision isn’t dangerous, let them make it. Maybe they want to spend all their allowance in one go. You can warn them about the consequences, but let them make the final choice. The consequence is the important lesson here.

We can’t control every decision our children make, and that’s hard for parents to accept! The best we can do is set them up to make the best choices.